Director's Message: The sub is here

Jan. 25, 2008
Mark Hartley's mind is online. Are you afraid of peeping Marks at virtual conferences?

Hello, this is Mark Hartley, the editor of RDH magazine. Our good neighbor in RDH eVillage, Kristine Hodsdon (who's really the mayor although we call her The Director), has been steping up her clinical hygiene responsibilities and is exectuing local Children's Oral Health programs. Busy, busy, busy ...

The good news is that I won't bore you with details about the February issue of RDH. You'll see it when it arrives in your mailbox.

But I do have a question about the January issue of RDH, OK? Most of you who subscribe to the magazine should have received it within the last two week. Many of you participated in the questionnaire for the salary survey when Kristine published it in the August issue of RDH eVillage. Did you go take a look at the results? You had to get back online, didn't you? How did you feel about that? Technically, there's a lot information in those state-by-state breakdowns at the Web site's Resource Center. We did not use to put all of the information in the magazine — did not have room for it all. But the bottom line is that you had to set the magazine down to go look at the salary survey online on your computer. Just wondering how you felt about it.

RDH Event, which Kristine tells you about in this issue, was such a hoot the first time around. I've seen the "physical layout" of the second virtual dental hygiene conference on March 7-8. The second one is going to be even better, particularly in the sense of navigating around the convention center with your computer mouse.

I never got the sense of a downside from the first one, at least during the event. A small group of people (including yours truly, an Apple disciple who had to switch to a PC for the event) experienced problems with the logistics. But everyone else just hopped on, especially if they pre-registered.

The downside may have occurred afterwards, as I have some friends who were a little unsettled. At an actual dental conference that you travel to and stay in a hotel for — all that inconvenient stuff and expenses — no one at least follows you around with a tape recorder, recording every single thing you say during the conference. I think a few attendees were a little rattled when their entire dialogue from the first virtual conference was emailed to them. It is, uh, sort of a Orwellian Big Brother sort of thing.

But the purpose of that is to make it easier to follow up things initiated during the conference. If you promised someone you would do something, the reminder is right there in front of you. These reminders are for the exhibitors too. Besides:

• There's no real privacy in email anymore, despite what you think. Who cares?

• If you do care, you probably shouldn't go to a virtual conference or an actual conference that features the $498 airline fare. A certain standard of social behavior is expected at both. (RDH Event is free registration, a free hotel room [your bedroom at home] and cheap meals [whatever is in the fridge in the kitchen].)

So I wouldn't worry about strangers eyeballing your little insider jokes with pals. No outsiders really care; it's still your private joke. The benefits of a virtual conference are just astounding. It truly is amazing where technology is leading us.

Talk to you next time ... or actually Kristine will ... the sub is leaving the building.