Network & Socialize

In addition to networking and social sessions, we have created private and public MCN Slack channels, and have links to some other tools here to help everyone connect in a less structured way during the conference. 

MCN Slack

Think of Slack as the conference hallways. It is the glue of your MCN VIRTUAL experience to connect in between sessions throughout the conference and afterward to avoid the withdrawal. 

After you register you’ll receive a welcome email from MCN Sched, in that email you’ll find a link to create your MCN Slack user profile which will be automatically added to the conference channels. If you register with an email address that is already a user on MCN Slack (welcome back!) you should be automatically added to the conference channels.

Slack is accessible in your browser without downloading anything, but we think that the desktop application for Mac, Windows, or mobile (on your devices app store) provides the best experience. If you’ve never used it, Slack has excellent documentation online to help you out.

In addition to the channels below, you’re welcome to direct message one (or more!) other MCN Slack members at any time. Think of it as your go-to group chat with your conference connections. We also turned on the calling feature this year so you can call a DM group (using audio or video) for a small informal gathering (limited to 15 or fewer), or create a Slack Huddle for an audio call with up to 50 people. 

Channels for MCN2021 conference attendees

  • #mcn2021 Stay in the loop with MCN 2021 VIRTUAL! We’ll post daily briefings, session updates, and more throughout the conference.
  • #2021-helpdesk Having a tech issue? Get help from the MCN tech team. A moderator will monitor the channel continuously during conference hours.
  • #2021-networking When you first get on Slack, introduce yourself on this channel, it will provide a friendly directory of attendees to help you meet new people. Share where you’re from, what you’re hoping to get out of the conference, what you think is cool about museum tech, and maybe you want to share your hobbies to find your museum tech knitting circle. It’s also a space to chat and arrange meetups with your fellow MCN 2021 VIRTUAL attendees.
  • #2021-random Yes, we all need laughs more than ever these days, and this is the place for silliness. Be respectful and remember that the Code of Conduct applies across all MCN related activities and platforms, whether formal, informal, or silly
  • #2021-pets  Whether they have fins or fur (or anything in between), drop a pic of your favorite co-worker. Check-in with the channel too if you need a mid-conference, pet-induced brain break. 

Conference Track Channels

To foster conversation across sessions of each of the conference tracks we’ve also created channels to continue the conversation after the Zoom ends.

  • #2021-leadership-strategy
  • #2021-biz-finance-capacity-sustainability
  • #2021-interpretation-story-education
  • #2021-ethical-responsibility
  • #2021-experience-design-immersive
  • #2021-why-museums

Other Channels

There are many channels set up around specific topics, you can search for them and choose to opt in if you’re interested a couple of popular ones are:

  • #karaoke
  • #jobs

The default Slack channel #general includes every MCN community member that has ever engaged with Slack over the years (yes, can you believe we’ve had it for years!?) That means, like all public channels, it includes people who aren’t attending the conference in addition to attendees, but is a place you can ask for help if you didn’t get added to the conference channels.

If you have a suggestion for a new channel, request it to #2021-helpdesk.

Using Slack Commands

Slack has all kinds of commands to make things happen that start with a forward slash “/”. Check out their built-in commands list. The first one you might want to know about not to get overwhelmed is to enter /mute on any channel that you want to silence notifications on. Read more about notifications to set up Slack to be there when you want it and quiet when you don’t.

Before you create/request a channel 

  1. Review the current channels (the topic might already have a channel!) 
  2. Start a thread on #mcn2021 or a conference track channel to kick off a conversation on the specific topic
  3. If the conversation is sustaining and the thread needs threads, then consider starting a channel 
  4. Name it “2021-nameoftopic” and share the link on the thread and announce the channel here
  5. Keep it open, please do NOT create private channels to maintain the inclusive conference environment

Private Channels

  • #2021-speakers a private backchannel just for conference presenters, moderators and track leads to connect, ask questions, and get tech support for your session.
  • #2021-volunteers is a private channel for those supporting the conference to get the tech support they need. 
  • If you’re a speaker or volunteer and don’t have access, reach out to us on #2021-helpdesk or if you can’t get into Slack at all, email [email protected].

Speed Networking

Join facilitators Don Youngberg and Eric Longo to meet other MCN attendees for some speed networking! There are 10 Speed Networking sessions over the course of the conference and it’s a great way to meet new people.

Each session is composed of a series of breakout rooms containing several participants. Tell us where you’re from, what you’re curious about, and more—just be quick!

Advance sign-up required, by adding it to your schedule in Sched. 

Spatial Chat

This nifty product uses the approach to sound levels by proximity as found in VR spaces but in a simple 2D browser window. You can share images, video, screen share,  and move around the screen to have conversations with different groups in the same “room.” You can cluster your avatars (or video feeds) to hear each other, or move away to get away from a conversation and into another one on the other side of the screen. You can also click a name in the directory of attendees and connect with that person.

While it is fun to play with, keep in mind that it is a new product, and they haven’t tackled accessibility work yet. On screen-readers, the buttons are unlabeled, and the organization of information is unclear. There aren’t any focus states for keyboard users, and you can’t move around the space. So, yes, they have a long way to go. For this reason, before using MCN’s Spatial Chat to meet up with some colleagues after a session, please check in with your group first to make sure you won’t be excluding anyone or giving them a crappy experience. The inclusive option would be to use Zoom or Slack to chat after sessions.

What Else?

We look forward to seeing what our MCN community’s brilliant technologists bring to the table this year to explore how we might build the dream virtual platform for future MCNs. Please try to follow in our steps of radical transparency and share the issues you know of that might prevent community members from participating in an experimental tool and ideally provide an alternate way to join the conversation via Zoom. And of course, if you have ideas for next year, contact us at [email protected]; we’re all ears.

Note that we expect everyone to continue to abide by the MCN’s Community Guidelines and Code of Conduct even when arranging events outside of the official MCN 2021 VIRTUAL schedule, that said, MCN is not responsible for any content or experience you may have in a self-organized event.