By now the show season should be well underway and in some ways it still is. But not in the way we are used to it. Shows like Groundswell, are for many, the highlight of our year. Not just a place to learn, but a place to meet friends, chat about farming and have a beer. The last part particularly appeals to me when attending Groundswell, especially when the sun is shining. However, all is not lost. There is still lots going on. Shows cannot happen, but small one-to-one tours can.
Online shows have become a thing and I suspect they will become a part of all shows going forward. At online shows, you can attend webinars, watch videos and live product tours and speak to exhibitors. It’s all a bit new, but they offer a permanent record of a show that normally just doesn’t exist after a live show.
Farmers can follow up after events have finished, catch up on webinars they missed and keep talking to exhibitors long after the show day has passed. In fact, the only thing missing from an online show, is the live show itself. A live/online hybrid show offers all the benefits of face-to-face contact with all the convenience of being able to catch up with content when it’s convenient to you and see all the things you missed at the live show.
Looking back, there has always been shows I’ve missed due to other work commitments or clashes. Online shows, while also having live content, do offer convenience. Shows are busier in the evenings than they are in the day for instance. Farmers still want to attend, but they can do it when they want to, even from the tractor cab.
Online shows also bring in a wider audience. Virtual Cereals was attended by over 30,000 people on The Farming Forum and this included people from over 90 countries around the world. This is a bigger audience than attends the live show, although you do not have their attention for the same period of time. But if you had both, then it offers the best of both worlds. I have always wanted to attend the No-till shows in the States, but it always seem to clash with other events in the UK.
The thought of being able to attend international events online is really appealing and I’d still happily pay for a virtual ticket. So, to add to hybrid cars, we will have hybrid shows going forward. Welcome to 2020! You can still view Virtual Cereals here.