Conferences are an integral part of the working lives of scholars and professionals. But with the increasing demands of their work it is sometimes hard to keep up to date on the most important conferences and events in their field. This was the presumption that lead to the creation of Lanyrd.com, an online social conference directory. Lanyrd is a free online site that is open to anyone with a Twitter account, which is used as your sign-in.
‘So what is a social conference directory?’, you may be asking yourself. Well, essentially it’s a place to find conferences you are interested in, view slides and audio of past conferences, add conferences you are planning to attend, and content you have presented at past conferences. It’s basically a one stop shop for all things conference related.
When you initially sign up at Lanyrd, the site displays conferences and events that your twitter contacts are either attending, speaking at, or have indicated they are interested in. Depending on who your twitter contacts are, and whether they use Lanyrd or not, you also have the option of searching for conferences by: year, tag, or country. Or you can do a general search if you have a specific one in mind.
Lanyrd links to the conference site & schedule but also offers a schedule of their own, which shows the events that their users are attending, speaking at, or are interested in. This usually displays only a couple of events for the whole conference, which may be a drawback, however the upside may be that only the ‘best’ sessions, speakers, and events get coverage because of this system.
You can either “Track” or indicate that you are going to “Attend” this conference, by selecting one of these buttons. You can add tags, speakers, sessions of your own, and then sync events you’re interested in with your online calendar (GoogleCalendar, iCal, or Outlook).
The bottom line is that this is a useful site for frequent, or new, conference attendees, conference organizers wishing to market their events online, and professionals and scholars unable to attend conferences, but who are interested in a highlight of the sessions. Although not all conferences and sessions may be displayed on Lanyrd, the user base is large enough to cover large ones in Western Europe and North America. It may not be useful to solely rely on this site for your conference planning, but it should definitely be included as a useful supplementary tool. Sites such as EventSeer.net cater to specific conference communities, but after a quick Google search, it seems that there are no comparable sites dedicated to covering conferences in all fields and professions around the world. Perhaps as online components of conferences become more important we will see new competing sites popping up in the future.
Below is our SMiLey rating for the site:
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