How to Telecommute to Conferences and Workshops When You Can’t Be There in Person

Technology is a wonderful thing, and it becomes especially apparent when it comes to telecommuting. Since I’ve started working from home full time, I’ve come to love and appreciate tools like Skype that much more. However, as we head toward fall and some of my favorite workshops and conferences, it becomes clear: just because I can’t be at them, doesn’t mean that I can’t “go” to them.

About two weeks ago, Rich and Joan attended SMX East, one of my favorite search geek conferences. Then, last week, a local conference in Portland, Maine – Social Media FTW – was put on by a great team (Rich, Chrystie, and Jaica). I couldn’t attend either conference, but I could still learn from them, thanks to technology. Here are just a few ways to telecommute to a conference far from you.

Live video feed

SMX doesn’t offer live video feeds, but FTW did. A local news station covered the event live from their website. Even though I was limited to seeing only certain sessions, they were all great and I was glad to have been able to watch live.

Most conferences will give public notifications as to whether they are offering these types of feeds, so just do your homework in advance and watch just like you were there!


Most conferences, particularly “geeky” ones, will most certainly be talked about on Twitter. Not only that, but they’ll also often have their own hashtag. Your assignment? Figure out what that hashtag is…and follow it.

Typically, folks that are attending the conference will tweet golden nuggets of information that you’ll be able to digest, as well as join in and participate in the conference.

Live blogging

In recent years, many bloggers have taken to live blogging events – it’s great for them and great for those of us tuning in from home. Amongst the more popular live bloggers at the SMX event included:

There are also plenty of bloggers that will recap events after the fact – a huge timesaver for commuters, as we don’t have to read through notes. Instead, you’ll be able to quickly see the major takeaways!

To find out who’s blogging about your event, simply try a Google search: “[Your event] live blog” or “[Your event] recap”.

Public slides

Last, but certainly not least, many presenters offer their presentations on Slideshare or a similar site (like Rich did here for his FTW YouTube presentation). You’ll be able to view or even download their presentation and review it for yourself. If the presenter is more photo than text heavy in their PowerPoints, this may not be quite as helpful. But you never know, perhaps there is audio/video as well!

Have more ways to tune into conferences and workshops from afar? Go ahead and add them below in the comments section!

Nicki Hicks
Telecommuting, FTW