How Effective Are Virtual Poster Sessions in Online Conferences?

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In summary, the conversation discusses the idea of attending a virtual meeting with virtual posters, which the speaker finds strange but potentially useful. They inquire about how the posters work and describe their preferred layout for a traditional in-person poster presentation. The meeting has generous limitations for abstracts, posters, slides, and videos. The event is free and organized by the DFG funded Collaborative Research Center 235 Emergence of Life. The conversation also touches on the speaker's experiences with virtual conferences and their preference for in-person meetings. They mention the limitations of virtual formats, such as limited interactions and missing visual cues.
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I am thinking of "attending" a virtual meetings that has virtual posters.
It seems kind of weird, but could be useful and convenient if it works well. And it free!

I have not done this before and would like to hear about other peoples experiences:

1) I am wondering about how the posters work in this kind of a meeting. Usually, when I have done posters before, I hang out by it and talk to people as they come by. I would then walk them through the poster, answer questions, meet people, etc..
Does this happen in these kind of poster sessions?

2) I would usually organize my poster along the lines of few big words that could be read from a distance, big pictures to draw people in, info arrayed in vertical columns so someone could stand in a place look at a column, and then move sideways to see the next bit. Moving sideways repetitively in a crowded space is a mess.

3) Their example poster have a few pictures and tons of text. This would not be considered a good poster approach normally but maybe its OK with electronic materials.

4) It seems I could have a minimal poster and pretty large power point and video files attached. In the extreme, I could post a 3 hr video which could be the main point of the presentation (the poster could be like a movie poster advertisement). Or the poster could be a lead in for discussing more detailed issues.

The meeting is free and the poster (and associated materials) limitations seem generous:
  • maximum 300 words
  • jpeg, png, gif or pdf
  • maximum of 100Mb
  • landscape is preferable, ideally 16:9 ratio
Slides (optional): Visitors of your poster can scroll through the slide
  • ppt, pptx
  • maximum of 10Mb
  • can have audio but this will increase the file size
Video (optional):
  • mp4
  • maximum of 1Gb
Here is some meeting info in case anyone is interested:

The meeting is "in" Munich, so I guess will be able to say I went to a meeting in Munich:
Molecular Origins of Life, Munich, 20-22 June 2023 (Online)

The Molecular Origins of Life, Munich 2023 is organized and sponsored by DFG funded Collaborative Research Center 235 Emergence of Life and the attendance to the event is free of charge.
Jun 20, 2023 01:30 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)
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  • #2
I always felt like zoom meetings were not as interactive as real meetings. Also they gave me the feeling of seeing the participants through a pair of binoculars as the screen size limited the detail and number of participants seen. Lastly, the problem of watching and being watched and muting or forgetting to mute makes one feel a little obsessive with checking its status.
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  • #3
I gave a handful of talks at virtual conferences during the pandemic. Most of them were basically glorified zoom meetings (which are fine; just add it to the calendar with the other zoom meetings), but a few of them were essentially just "make a video of your presentation and submit it and then watch presentations at your leisure." I never did a virtual poster, but I got the impression that they categorically fell into the latter group. I wasn't wild about that format because it didn't really allow for any spontaneous interactions. I also didn't get much in the way of follow up for that style format, whereas I did with the zoom meeting format.

In all, if I had to rank the formats in terms of potential for incubating good scientific ideas/collaborations, I'd go in-person >> zoom conference > video to be watched at one's leisure. Nothing beats a good in-person conference. Even the crummy conferences are still better in person than a reputable society's conference on zoom, IMO.
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  • #4
Also there are subtle visual cues that you may miss in a zoom call that you wouldn't in a real meeting. The cues might indicate where folks got confused by what you just said and you'd be able to clarify it right then and there if it was a real meeting.
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