Like the smaller conferences in Poland and The Netherlands I have attended in the recent past, the reason I am making the trip to Bristol for TCUK 2013 this September is the same: for the motivation that comes from getting immersed in the inspiration and information writers bring to these gatherings. It is a motivation that is lasting –- the conference spills over into post-event e-mail exchanges, Skype chats, and forum post discussions between attendees, even culminating in new collaborations, friendships, ideas.
I am particularly excited about TCUK because of its size and the speakers they attract. It is a chance to meet in-person Ellis Pratt, Jang Graat, Sarah O’Keefe, and other great tech comm minds I have followed for some time. Even if I am familiar with their ideas from past presentations and blog posts, I always find the Q&A sessions after conference presentations to be valuable –- interaction with the speaker, hearing the thoughts of fellow attendees, and the debates that ensue.
And, of course, TCUK 2013 gives me the opportunity to present a project I have been working for the past year: the Useless Assistance Twitter account (@uselessassist). Instead of traditional surveys and focus groups, I have been experimenting with mining Twitter, which offers an untapped, real-time glimpse at how users react to assistance. I’m compiling the common gripes that have surfaced in an effort to encourage discussions about quality in our trade, which I will present on Day 2 of the conference (Thursday, September 26th).
The conference host city Bristol particularly interests me. I have amassed a decent sized airline safety card collection (by-product of my interests in instructions and travel). One of the most sought after and prized safety card is from the Concorde –- the British version was built in Bristol! I have learned the last Concorde to fly is parked in Filton Airport. What are the chances I will find a forgotten card tucked into a seat if I can get on-board?