Poll for SfN BANTER attendees

Nov 24 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

And another SfN is in the books. Like every year, each day was a whirlwind of science, coffee, shmoozing, more science, more coffee, and a nightcap or three over more shmoozing. Speaking of shmoozing, did you go to BANTER? It was KILLER! Thanks to everyone who showed up, and apologies to those who had to wait in the cold. The bar did not quite believe me when I told them we would probably need a bouncer to regulate in-out flow, but they believed me real quick when we reached capacity 10 minutes into the party. Huge props to Churchkey for acting swiftly and keeping things running smoothly, and major thanks to F1000 for footing the bill!

So here's a question for you: did you, as a reader of the blog and/or twitterer, get what you wanted out of BANTER? Did you meet folks you'd hoped to meet? Was it too big? Too full of people who had no idea why they were there? I ask because the original goal of BANTER was more in line with that of a tweet-up--a chance for folks who had been regularly interacting online to meet up IRL--and I wonder if the rapid rise in BANTER's popularity now precludes us reaching those goals. If it does, are you OK with that? Should I stop over-thinking things and just go with the flow (which means planning a party for 250+ people in 2015), or should we have 2 BANTERs, one for everyone and one smaller, more intimate one? I can't decide. Please comment!


27 responses so far

  • Drugmonkey says:

    I had a lot of fun, thanks for organizing and hosting it. I thought the balance was fine. I guess that scores me as go-with-the-flow.

  • Helena says:

    I had a great time! Considering everyone's hectic schedule during SfN, I think that the 'inner circle' might skip the the bigger banter and only go to the smaller one if there were two. Might also cause some hard feelings in the 'outer circle'?

    Second vote for go with the flow 🙂

  • Scicurious says:

    I loved it! It WAS awfully crowded though, so much so that I ended up bailing before I might have otherwise. So maybe just plan for more people, I guess!

  • nickwan says:

    I met a lot of cool people and enjoyed the packed house for the entire night. But I also wasn't waiting in line to get in.

    I definitely met a lot of people I interact with through Twitter -- and we all sort of floated around the same area for the majority of the night. If there were two BANTERs, I'd probably try going to both -- I had a lot more solid interactions at banter than at any other social.

  • Helena says:

    I had a great time! Considering everyone's hectic schedule during SfN, I think that the 'inner circle' might skip the the bigger banter and only go to the smaller one if there were two. Second vote for go with the flow 🙂

  • Cashmoney says:

    The long-skinny design of the last two BANTER venues was unfortunate given you reached peak capacity. Maybe next time opt for something with more open space if you possibly can?

  • Cousin Amygdala says:

    It was certainly more packed than the Tipsy Crow in San Diego but I don't think that limited my ability to meet other tweeps/scientists. I say let it grow and that we just need a larger venue next time. Kudos again on organizing a great event. One suggestion might be a bar that is less of an "alley" or "railroad car" layout so people can move about more easily.

  • doctor_pms says:

    I had a blast at banter! I had to wait a bit in line, but nothing too bad. At first I thought that most of the people there were not really on Twitter, but I realized most of them were. In the end I met not only people that I already interact, but made new connections.
    I agree that with the busy schedule of everybody during SFN, it would be hard to have a second (smaller) one. So my vote is for a bigger place next year!

  • katiesci says:

    It was a little too crowded for me. I was able to catch up with people and met a few new people and that was nice. Like others said, a larger venue would be great but with that comes a higher cost and likely more non-Twitter people. I don't want to be too exclusive but it seemed like there was a higher percentage of people this year that I overheard say they don't even use Twitter they just heard Banter is a good party (which it is!).

  • Ben Saunders says:

    I had a great time. Part of the crowded feeling came from Churchkey's narrow layout, so I don't know that number of people was in and of itself a problem, except for the line. I met fewer Twitter folks this year, but I also knew a lot more of the people there already. I do think it would be nice if the people there by and large new about the event because of using Twitter, and not because their friends invited them. Not sure if that's a thing that can be controlled though.

    Whatever's manageable for you. Thanks again for organizing and hosting!

  • @jjodx says:

    That was my first SfN Banter. I really enjoyed it and met a couple of people but I might not have stayed long enough to meet more people.

    I felt that when free drinks were not available anymore, the line disappeared and the crowd became more sparse.

    For me, the question remains: how do you meet people when you don't know what they look like??? Could there be screens that display a twitter feed with the SfN banter hashtag??? That would definitely provide more ways to interact and to meet people.

  • @jjodx says:

    That was my first SfN Banter and I really enjoyed it.

    Once observation: the crowd became more sparse when the drinks were not free anymore.

    I felt that it was difficult to meet or interact with people when you don't know what they look like. It would be nice to have screens that display the twitter feed linked to the SfN banter hashtag. This might favor the interactions (who's there, what do they wear, ...)

    Thanks again for the organization


  • Noah Gray says:

    I think the influence of the limited Churchkey layout on interactions, engagement and the ability to mingle across conversations was significant (p<0.001) so it may be premature to conclude BANTER has grown too large before we test it again in a larger venue. So I'm rejecting this version of BANTER but am willing to consider a revision.

    Thanks for organizing this thing forever.

  • jsnsndr says:

    I thought it was great. I half expected it to be too crowded, and I never made it more than 2 feet past the top of the stairs, but it didn't matter. Ran into a bunch of old friends and met a few new ones. I greatly appreciated the music being a bit quieter than last year - I could actually hear people this time...

  • Scicurious says:

    I do note that, as Noah said, the layout limited interaction. I didn't see him or jsnsndr! or Ben! Or Doctor PMS! I wanted to see all these people. I has a sad. 🙁

  • jsnsndr says:

    I'd also like to thank Noah Gray for only pretending to push me down the stairs.

    • Noah Gray says:

      Snyder - Did you really just complain about the music being too loud? omg what the hell is the Pacific NW doing to you???

  • Namnezia says:

    It was fun! Although it was hard to talk to people, and I left a bit earlier than I had planned. Thanks for organizing it. I think we need to find an old speakeasy in Chicago to hold Banter 2015. We can light the owl's eyes whenever drugmonkey walks in.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    The only thing I regret is that once again Noah managed to evade me.

  • prerana123 says:

    I thought it was fun! As Jason said, the music at Churchkey was not as loud as last year's venue, so I could actually have conversations with people. But with the size of crowd SfN Banter now attracts, it was difficult to meet more tweeps as I had planned especially the pseud tweeps. Definitely a larger space would help. Holding two different SfN Banters would demand a lot more time both in terms of organizing and attending so I wouldn't suggest it.

  • I had a great time at SfN banter this year- thanks for organizing it! My main purpose going there was to meet the other neurbloggers/tweeters. I did get to meet a handful of them, I mostly met random people that didn't know that SfN banter was essentially a tweet-up at SfN. Perhaps consider an RSVP pre-game smaller banter (1hr or so) for everybody that actually cares about meeting people from online IRL that is followed by the influx of all the other people that just want to have good time (but don't really know/care about what banter is)? Or maybe just keep the big party but find an area that can be reserved for bloggers/tweeters that want to meet each other so that they know how/where to go about it… Either way, I will still attend in the coming years!

  • I was lucky to get a seat at Churchkey, but because of limited mobility, I had to stay put all night, so I didn't get to float around and meet as many people as I'd have liked. But of course I met a ton of people I wouldn't have met otherwise if Banter weren't a thing, so in that sense, I can't really complain!

  • Yes, yes, thanks so much for organizing. I had to wait a while to get in but that just gave me more time to chat with doctor_pms. The layout was a little narrow, but I'm guessing that is the way it's going to be for most venues. I was still able to meet quite a few tweeps, and I had a great time. There was some talk about some way of keeping the event smaller, but I think I'm in the go-with-the-flow camp (at least until it gets so big there is no available venue).

    Looking forward to Chicago (I can offer advice on restaurant selections, but I don't know much about bar party venues).

  • ohambiguity says:

    Had a great time! Thanks again for throwing such a great party/epic tweetup! I've been to a handful, and I must say I got the most out of this one. I was also at the LGBT social right before and brought with some new sci friends, which made it all the more fun. I love the idea (and execution ) of banter...great to have the tweeps I follow all in one place and always great to meet in person! While it was a bit crowded, it was still the most 'productive ' social for me at the mtg. 🙂

  • @andpru says:

    I went and got in pre-lineup. I liked it and had a good time but I could not really achieve my goal of meeting and interacting with tweeters in real life. Part of that was the venue and the sheer amount of people and the nature of the venue, and part of that is the natural difficulty of identifying people based on avatars, and part of that is the fact that most of the people there seemed to not be active on twitter. I like the idea of a brief RSVP opener prior to the general craziness. But most of all, THANKS SO MUCH for organizing!

  • bashir says:

    It did get a little overwhelming. But that could be about the space more than anything. Put those people in a space twice the size and it's much better. Even though I did meet some new people and talk to some old ones I do think an mini-banter could be good. I have no idea how to go about doing that.

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