FtBCon 3 is fast approaching: August 22-24, 2014. As always, we’re going to have a full weekend of panels, talks, and Cards Against Humanity. This time, we’re going to be more organized about how we plan the sessions, so we’re giving you until July 22 to submit a proposal for a panel or talk.
To submit your proposal, just email ftbconscience[at]gmail.com with a title and description of your panel or talk, potential participants, and any relevant speaking or writing experience you have.
Some anticipated questions:
What sorts of topics do FtBCon sessions cover?
We’re going to have some blog posts up in the next few weeks with suggestions, but basically, anything you see on FtB itself is good material for the conference: atheism, science, philosophy, politics, social justice. If you haven’t seen any previous FtBCon panels, you can see last summer’s here and last winter’s here.
What do I need in order to organize a panel?
You and the other participants need a Google+ account, an internet connection that can handle a Google+ hangout, a webcam, a microphone (usually included with the webcam!), and headphones or earbuds. You don’t have to worry about setting up the hangout yourself or streaming it via YouTube; an FtB host will do that for you. We’ll be testing the Google+ hangouts with all of the participants a week or two before the conference.
Do I have to know exactly what I’ll call the panel or who the participants will be?
No, but you should have some ideas. The more fleshed-out the proposal will be, the more likely we are to accept it. (The past two cons, we had a lot of really vague proposals that we put on the schedule and never really got a good description for, so it was hard to promote them or anticipate what topics would be covered.) You might want to email some potential participants before sending in the proposal.
Do I have to have speaking/writing experience?
Nope! We’re looking for people who can organize an interesting and meaningful discussion or talk. Having speaking or writing experience is a plus, though.
How much time do I have for the panel?
Most FtBCon sessions are 50 minutes each, including Q&A time if you want it. We’ll also have some 80-minute sessions like we did last time.
Can I participate if I need to remain anonymous?
Yes! Make sure that your Google+ account doesn’t use your real name. Google Hangouts include a tool that hides your face with an image of your choice (I like using the troll memes, personally). You can also just turn off the video part of the hangout and do it audio-only. If voice recognition is a concern, you can download software that will distort it.
[Update] Can I do a solo talk, or does it have to be a panel?
We sorta prefer panels for several reasons: they tend to be more interesting and engaging than solo talks in the Google+ format, they allow more people’s voices to be included in the conference, and they’re less likely to have to be canceled at the last minute because one person gets sick or busy or their internet fails. If you really want to do a solo talk, you should have previous speaking experience, and you should have a reason why you’d like to do the talk by yourself.
If you have any other questions, leave them in the comments rather than emailing them (if possible) so that others who may have the same question can see.