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Vicarious PyCon

The FOMO Guide

4 min read May 16, 2024 PyCon Ruminations

Vicarious PyCon

The FOMO Guide

There are many reasons why you may not be able to go attend PyCon. Maybe it's too expensive to make the trip. Maybe you have family obligations. Maybe your employer does not provide adequate paid time off. Maybe you end up busting your knee right before the conference.

Some of you may want to avoid the abundance of content coming from Pittsburgh through your social channels, and wish to disengage. That's fine. Spend less time online this weekend. Use filters on your feeds and follow other interests.

But if you're like me, you can't seem to get enough of it.

If so, this guide's for you!

What Am I Missing?

For some of you who have never been to PyCon before, you may wonder what's the big hoopla and why so many people are spamming your social feeds with #PyConUS all over the place.

That's because PyCon is more than just a technical conference with a bunch of technical talks about technical topics. Technically, that's what it might seem like to the uninitiated.

But it's actually so much more.

You might run into someone who created or maintains an awesome Python package. You could run into someone who posts a lot of useful content online. You might meet a regular "nobody" who is actually someone extremely wonderful. Someone just like you! Or even better, someone completely unlike you.

There is also a palpable energy emitting from people all around the globe, connecting through a shared, communal interest.


Okay, so if you're reading this, maybe you didn't make it out to Pittsburgh this year.

If you've never been to PyCon, maybe that's not such a big deal. But hopefully the previous section helped pique your interest.

For others who have previously attended, you may have started seeing PyCon related posts on the various social platforms. This is followed by a mixture of feelings...

Ooh, look at those pictures of the convention center. Nice!... Ah, I recognize those people in the picture... Oh wow, I wish I could meet that person... I wish I was invited to those dinner plans 😢... Wow, the schedule is packed with talks I'd like to see... why?? WHY MEEE?!!

This can get overwhelming pretty quickly.

For me, the first, most important step to enjoying my Vicarious PyCon experience is Acceptance.

I'm not going to lie, even though I'm hobbling around, barely able to stand, I was still looking at airline tickets... you know, just in case.

But in my heart of hearts, I already knew it was not to be. And that's ... okay.

Look, there are way too many wonderful things in this world, and we may never even come close to experiencing all of them.

And what's more, there's wonder all around us at any given time. I may not be travelling to Pittsburgh, but I'm here with my family who loves me, and I'm working on my physical therapy, getting better each day. That's worth something.

And PyCon will be there waiting next time.


Okay, so now you've accepted that you're not in Pittsburgh. But that doesn't mean you can't leech off of some of that energy.

One of the best ways to get a sense of what PyCon is all about is not through watching past conference talks.

Instead, follow yourself a hashtag in any of your preferred social platforms where there is an inkling of Python-related activity. That would be #PyConUS.

I happen to think your best bet for engaging social content is on Mastodon. YMMV. (If you're wanting to try Mastodon, Trey Hunner has a few tips)

And of course, you can still register to attend PyCon US Online. There will be lots of awesome content throughout the next few days, and you can catch it LIVE before it all gets compiled and released. Even better, you can pause and come back to your favorite talks, all before they are released on YouTube.

The stream is done through the Hubilo platform which has some social features built in. You'll be able to interact with other Pythonistas who are excited about the community, but for one reason or another, were not able to attend in person.


So is there any way to participate without being at the conference in person?


If you show up on some of the social networks (again, probably Mastodon), there will be individuals who will be providing live coverage of some of their favorite talks. You may even be able to follow along the online talk while someone is posting their impressions online.

Kudos if you find someone posting about a talk you're watching live and asking them to ask a question for you!

Heh, even if that's a long shot, you can engage with the folks who are live-blogging for the rest of us.

In addition, there will be tons of pictures, videos, and misaligned dinner plans you can view from a distance.

Think about it, those posts are not (always) for other attendees. They are for us... So we can live vicariously! How great is that?

Let them know that you appreciate their posts. Like and boost things that you find interesting.

As for me, I'll be spending a lot of time on the Hubilo platform to help others that are in my same position. I might even run in to virtual you!

And yes, I'll be watching some talks.

Look Ahead

So you didn't make it to PyCon this year. Depending on your situation, you're not sure if you ever will.

But maybe by living vicariously this time, it might inspire you to attend some time in the future.

Heck, you might even want to give a talk some day.

For now, bask in the warm glow of content sent our way by first-hand attendees. Hopefully it will ignite your desire to travel in the future. Start planning for next year. It will be worth it.

In the meantime, why not check out some local conference to attend?