It had been eight years since I had attended a General Assembly in person, and even though I have been careful to watch streamed video and keep up with GA in social media, I knew there would be someÂ surprises. Or moreÂ accurately, I expected to be surprised by some things.
The one thing I didn't expect was how much the message boards -- standing bulletin boards, divided alphabetically, where people would leave and collect messages -- wereÂ diminished. In the pre-mobile-phone age, it is was how individuals and groups connected over the convention; accordingly, it was an important landmark for meetings. Today, not so much. I even heard from a friend how he missed an alumni event because it was only so announced.
But it does still have two important functions. Since it will still be some time before a General Assembly is likely to have good wifi -- the costs andÂ technicalÂ demands are still too much for a large convention; can you imagine having to supply connections for 6,000 computers and mobile devices on a GA budget? -- the message boards will be useful for people arranging ride shares. (A map of the U.S. or the immediate region would be helpful here, so people could post their requests and offers directly to theÂ destination. One college I attended did this, ages ago.)
And then others have made a social experiment/art project of the boards.
I liked this very much, and there were others I didn't photograph. Fun.