It’s my first time at IAC
Everyone was a first-timer once. We’ve formalized ways to help newcomers get acquainted because we know it can be scary interacting with hundreds of people you don’t know. The IAC is a community event. You are part of that community whether you are attending for the first time or you’ve been coming for years. Welcome to the family!
Most of the “official” social events listed in the program are there because a few people, in years past, decided to do a fun thing which attracted interest, and it stuck. You don’t have to be an extrovert to join in, and it’s surprisingly easy to connect with folks and make new friendships. One of the things that brings regular attendees back is the friendly, welcoming environment full of interesting and interested people. Check out some fun highlights of what's on the schedule:
- First-Timers Orientation — A short primer on how to get the most out of the conference
- Evening Social Hours — Online social gatherings after each day’s sessions
- Poster Night — IA “science fair” for academics & practitioners with drinks and food
- Acoustic Jam — Bring an instrument or just yourself and be part of the IA band
- Game Night — Board games, card games, strategy games, party games, all the games!
- Karaoke — The most fun you never thought you could have getting up and signing in front of a crowd! Hosted by one of our own, Kevin Hoffman, aka "Keyboard Man."
- 5-min madness (see more below)
First, there’s no “right” way to experience the IAC. Everyone gets different things out of it, based on where they are in their own lives, careers, and so on. You may be attending for one reason and then find that the biggest benefit was totally unexpected — and that’s great!
Here are a few tips we’ve found useful over the years:
- Don’t get hung up on job titles. Most of us are interested in what we’re doing far more than what we happen to be called.
- Pace yourself! It’s OK to skip a session or two if you need some downtime. All the sessions will be available later if you want them.
- Thank your hosts. The IAC is run by tireless and sleep-deprived volunteers.
General Conference Concerns
- You don’t have to be an active participant on Twitter or Slack, but they're the best ways to find out about impromptu group chats and goings-on. They're also outlets for commentary on the conference, as well as snark and humor.
- On Slack, you can sign up and join the conversation.
- On Twitter, follow #IAC19 and @theiaconf, follow speakers or presenters you’d like to meet and anyone they recommend.
- Be respectful, but don’t be afraid to ask if you can join a group that’s forming.
- It doesn’t hurt to send praise to the organizers and reasonable suggestions or complaints. The IAC listens.