Eventicizing into the New Year

Event

Before I begin – my heart goes out to everyone in Texas and everywhere else where people are without power.

Here’s a Recipe for Eventicizing During the Pandemic

Ingredients

  1. Time
  2. Chutzpah
  3. A Paid Zoom account
  4. Decent internet connection
  5. Computer

Possible additions:

  1. The Ask Deep Questions Deck or similar
  2. Friends
  3. High School Class Facebook group (<your peer group> Facebook group here)
  4. A Vitamix
  5. A history of throwing events and working to make them go well

Hello, fellow trail-blazers, experimenters, and people looking for some fun and connection. I’ve been hosting virtual events for many years so recently I decided to see what would happen if I created a Zoom meeting for a wide variety of my social circles. Sometimes I’d use the Ask Deep Question deck to lead the event, but other times something more organic would happen — perhaps just sharing and hang out time. Here are some of the events I initiated and some others I’ve participated in in the past couple of weeks. My goal here is to encourage you to try this out for yourself. I’m here to provide assistance if you need a nudge or technical help.

Zoom is here. It can be a great tool if used well. I have a lot of Zoom tips on my Zoom page, but here I want to go beyond the tips to make zoom usable — and show ways it can help us thrive. OK, onward!

  1. Friend Dating events. For these, I employed a local meetup group, a FB list of my friends, and an email list of friends. I invited them all to an event (another is scheduled) in which we did short intros and then I split us into break-out rooms for the answering of a question — each person got 2 minutes to answer and then we came back to the main group. We also had breaks for a few songs by participants — a good length for this seems to be 1–1.5 hours
  2. A meeting for those who love Breitenbush. Breitenbush is a hot springs retreat center in Oregon and has recently suffered due to wildfires and Covid. I helped host a meeting of 50–60 people to discuss what might be next for this sacred place. Follow up meeting planned for March 4th, 2021
  3. 4 Virtual End of Life Ceremonies. Each one of these is teaching me how to make these go better.
  4. BlueOregon Contributors. I’ve been a writer for BlueOregon over the years. For the past couple of years, there haven’t been many contributions to the blog and so I thought the writers might want to meet and discuss how to revive the blog. A follow-up meeting is planned.
  5. Bringing in the New Year — Song Circle Style — A NYE gathering for people to share music. This went way better than I expected it would. I hosted a virtual event from 8 pm to midnight. People hopped on for 5 minutes to an hour or more. Someone would play a song — everyone else would be muted. Besides being thoroughly entertained by some excellent musicians — I also noticed that it is possible to play along with someone when they’re playing. This has a lot of advantages and deserves its own article, but for now, suffice it to say that it’s possible and pleasurable to play along with someone on Zoom. It’s different than being in person — but you can also scale up = ie, 100 people can be playing along at once and everyone gets to play at the same time. Please someone start creating events where this happens — I will help make you happen! I’ve repeated this a few times — often just one on one as a way to keep practicing the guitar and singing.
  6. Ask Deep Questions: meetings for my local neighborhood community; a Jewish friends version; and a mens’ version — I may also employ this approach when I bring my high school class together for a reunion. One advantage of going this route is that you’re almost guaranteed to have a great time. It’s hard not to go into a room with 2 other people, and answer a personal question with strangers. The giddiness factor is usually high.
  7. Burning Man Singles! One thought I had was — why not go into various Facebook groups I’m a part of and create events within them. This was the first of those. Those who attended round one seemed to have a good time and a second meeting is planned — I may move this to a monthly event and I could see it building.

Thanks for reading thus far. A friend in one of my mens’ groups asked me how “all the events” were going, and it prompted me to write some of it down. I hope this will inspire you to try something similar with your friends, family or other peer groups.

Upcoming Events I have planned

  1. A reunion for those who attended Camp Galil (the labor zionist summer camp I attended in my teens). I’ve picked 2 sub-groups to invite 1965–1975 and 1975–1985 — which are time periods I straddle.
  2. 2nd Round of Jewish Friend Dating for Portlanders — one way to meet new friends!
  3. A meeting for those who want to talk about the future of Portland’s trees. I started a group called We Keep Trees Standing in Portland and Beyond — FB Group for Organizing a few years back. We’ll talk about what we’ve done so far and what we can do next to keep trees standing and get more planted!
  4. I’m part of a group called Quiet Clean PDX which is working to stop the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. The group has grown over the years and I’ve called a meeting for our newsletter subscribers and anyone else who is interested in this topic to discuss our strategies.

What I’ve learned so far

  1. There will always be hiccups with Zoom events. We have to just expect them and get better and quietly righting whatever has gone amiss.
  2. Sometimes you will throw an event and no one will come. Leave the room open for a while and note how that feels. It’s OK. Now, you are free to do something else. Sometimes you will throw an event and 1–2 people will come. You might want to throw what you had in mind out the window and just hang out together. Or, try what you had planned — you’ll love how intimate things are. You’ll probably have an unforgettable time.
  3. Everyone’s experience will vary. But the capacity for joy and fun is high — possibly a lot higher than what you’ve experienced on Zoom thus far.
  4. The more people who get good at making events online go better the better everyone’s experience will be. There are people who are great at training you to be a fantastic virtual facilitator. One person who I see doing this is Jan Keck. Check out his Virtual Facilitator Training. At least start following what he is doing if you are interested in this topic. If you read this far, you are now officially interested in this topic — get busy.

Thanks for reading. If you have thoughts, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks!

Albert

Addendum

  1. If you ever want to join an online event — go surfing. Head to Facebook events — find one you like and just join right in! I’ve done this a few times = fun!

A neat Richmond Tree A neat Richmond Tree

 

 

 

 

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