CMEpalooza: Crowdsourcing A New Kind of Conference

So, I have an idea. It’s probably not a very good idea. In fact, it might be a very bad idea, considering that it came to me after reading an article about Burning Man (I promise there is no nudity involved in this idea) – an article I read shortly after receiving an email informing me that my abstract for the Alliance’s Annual Conference had been accepted, but, for the second year in a row, only under the condition that it be altered from my original vision. I’m not complaining. Really, I’m not. I’m honored they accepted it, just as I was last year. But…I would love to be able to give my presentation they way I intended to give my presentation, sans influence from the outside. I want to do it the way I want to do it.

This is my idea: CMEpalooza. A conference for CME/CE professionals that lets anyone talk about anything, anyway they want. No abstract gets rejected, unless it has absolutely no connection to continuing education for health care professionals. Individuals can shape their presentations in whatever way they want. There are no limits on topics, formats, number of presenters, or length of presentation. You can do it the way you want to do it. A 5 minute blogging demo done in iambic pentameter? Fine. A two hour session on physician learning preferences using 10 panel members each speaking a different language? Sure.

Actually, there is one restriction: you need to be able to do whatever you’re going to do in front of a webcam, because that’s how we’re pulling this off. We’re going to use Google’s Hangouts On Air platform to stream presentations from whatever location each presenter is at. Participants can either watch them streaming live (from the conference’s Google+ page, YouTube channel, or conference blog) or view the archived versions later.

The way I see this working is that we pick a two or three day stretch for CMEpalooza, maybe sometime in the spring. People send me an abstract with their name, presentation title, preferred day, approximate length of time needed, and whatever other info they want participants to know. Based on that, I put together an agenda, post it online, and participants can tune into the specific sessions they want to see or watch later. Obviously, there’s still kinks to be worked out, but I actually don’t think it would be that difficult to do.

So, what do you think? Totally ridiculous? Kind of cool? I really like the idea of just turning people loose and seeing what ideas they have. Or maybe it could be a platform for those who submitted an abstract to the Alliance but didn’t get accepted. Or maybe somebody who isn’t comfortable getting up in front of a crowd of people and talking would feel more comfortable presenting in this kind of format. I don’t know. Clearly, this is just in the brainstorming stage right now and maybe won’t ever get past that. But, please feel free to drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and ideas. Would you present at something like this? Would you watch live sessions? Would an archive be valuable? Comment below or email me at

Oh, I’m not totally sold on the name, either…


6 responses to “CMEpalooza: Crowdsourcing A New Kind of Conference

  1. I’m in. After having 10+ abstracts rejected in the past few years, I’ve definitely got something to share–even if I’m the only one who thinks it’s good!

  2. I still you information I learned from one of your Alliance sessions on outcomes metrics a few years ago! There’s been a nice response to this so far – I may have to give it some consideration…

  3. Pingback: Wing of Zock “Chart Review” Blog Carnival, October 2013 Edition | Wing Of Zock

  4. Cheyenne Throckmorton

    Sounds like an interesting plan. In the technology conference world we have things called BoFs. Birds of a Feather. Basically if your talk is rejected to be part of the main conference, the conference still has areas set up for BoFs to meet. Many times its a handful of chairs and a whiteboard with times to reserve, maybe like a local tennis court. So you find a board, mark your time tweet, talk and tell others and even if only 5 disparate people show up to talk about something obscure like “LMS technologies for CME outcomes” those 5 get a ton of value out of that tight niche, whereas the conference would get no draw from promoting such a long tail event… but by promoting organic BoFs it does give the conference extra flair.

  5. Susan H Yarbrough

    Love this idea! This lurker may even come up with a topic… likely after January to chat about something that I missed at a bigger meeting.

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