Well, we're definitely in a new place now.
Today's "Scintillation of Scions: At Home" event, replacing the annual Maryland weekend that usually happens around this time, was something we really hadn't seen yet, gathering hundreds of people to listen to a handful of speakers on Sherlockian topics. Unlike a typical Zoom meeting, we weren't looking at all those hundreds of people as they listened, just looking at the speaker and their Powerpoint if they had one. Seems pretty simple? Like watching YouTube or something, right?
Well, not quite. Running it in windowed mode, it was easily possible to have the speaker in a corner of the screen, the rolling chat from the other attendees in a little window under that, two windows for Twitter (one for normal feed, one for hashtag #SOSatHome), one window for podcast notes, one window for the searchable Canon, and then whatever else needed a window along the way.
You would have a very had time pulling that off at a live, in-person symposium, as well as the part where you get up and go make a sandwich. While I've sat for five hours straight, the single feed of one speaker at a time, looking attentive as your only second activity, can be a bit wearing. Usually I need a break to go up to the room and chill. Oddly, adding more input to the equation was the perfect recipe for the perfect Saturday.
The talks were just the right length, between fifteen and twenty minutes, and the side chat added a layer that was there if you needed it, not if you didn't. A little Twitter side drama between a prominent Watsonian and a former member of the Shingle of Southsea just to add spice? Icing on the cake. And then after a nice balance of eight completely different topics, we got to watch an actually decent Sherlock Holmes movie that no one had seen lately, using the chat feed as a close-caption riff-track. (I mean, it's nice to watch some of those old black and white things for perspective, but they can often be sleep-inducing.)
I mean, I may be a little ADHD, a little old and jaded and looking for that new thing far too often, but you know what? Today was just a whole lot of fun, and what more could a Sherlockian want?
The really great part was the possibilities today's grand experiment opens up for our Sherlockian community. We have "proof of concept" for a larger scale remote gathering, and when you consider we've only been experimenting with Zoom gatherings for three months, the future has some real potential for Sherlockian activity. Who knew these options were available?
Well, we know now.
Every Sherlock Holmes weekend has the potential to leave you excited about the hobby, and inspired for your next projects or future events. This one? Adding a new level to that.
Onward and upward!