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What is Virtual Coffee?

I’ve been doing virtual coffee for about a month now, and I couldn’t have predicted how much I would look forward to the days that I get to talk to other devs. Here’s the thing, I’m a shy introvert, but I can flip to extrovert in the right situation. I’ve always loved conferencing, but there have been enough experiences where I’ve felt defeated because I was overwhelmed by the conference experience and my inability to initiate conversation and didn’t meet anyone new. But for whatever reason, with virtual experiences, I don’t feel the pressure and the emotional burnout that I do when conferences are more challenging for my personality.

So what exactly is virtual coffee?

Well, first of all it’s open to anyone in tech, thinking about getting into tech, tech adjacent. Once a week–though I’m thinking of moving it to twice a week–I post a message on twitter asking who’s up for it at the day and time chosen that week. Then sometime that week, I send a zoom link.

So what happens at virtual coffee?

Well, a whole lot and not that much. What I mean by that is we talk to each other and we meet new people, but there isn’t a focused talk or a workshop. It’s more like “hallway sessions” at conferences. Hallway sessions are time spent in between talks that give the attendees time to talk to each other. In the same way, when we have virtual coffee, we introduce ourselves, we have time for asking questions or talking about what we’re working on. It’s not formal, and you can jump in or out at your own convenience.

Kids are welcome. My 3.5yo usually sits on my chair and styles my hair with whatever oil or conditioner or substance she can find to brush through it. If your dog barks in the background or your cat sits on your head or a lizard climbs in your window, that’s cool too.

So far I haven’t themed the conversations. Honestly, I think it’s better if the conversation develops organically. I usually have something in my back pocket in case the conversation starts to die down.

I would say that my biggest challenge up to this point has been how to handle scheduling virtual coffee. When I did the first one, I didn’t really plan on doing this every week. But I’ve really enjoyed it and people have asked about the next and the next and the next one. But, I’d love to be able to make it easier for people to find the virtual coffee, RSVP, and to join the zoom session. I’d use calendly, but I have to pay for more than 1:1 meetings. I’m open to scheduling suggestions here!

So what’s the point of virtual coffee?

The point is to form community. To meet new devs. To learn from each other. To offer advice. The point is to not feel alone.

If you’re interested, DM me on Twitter and I can send you a link. This week I’m doing double duty with a 9:00am and 12:00pm EST. I’m considering shifting to a 9:00am Tuesday and 12:00pm Thursday, so if you’re interested and can’t make it this week, I’d love your input!

Top comments (4)

annawijetunga profile image
Anna Wijetunga • Edited

Exciting, wonderful, cannot wait! I don't know the best way for scheduling, but what about trying out Eventbrite? Eventbrite is free to use for free events - if my memory serves me right, @CodeCafeNJ uses that for in-person meetups. Could be worth a shot!

tomkita profile image
Tom Kita • Edited

I'm a dev at EventSprout. We can handle your virtual coffee meetings and sync to Zoom. We also just launched a new streaming feature that is similar to Twitch but tailored for events. Our pricing would be free for your virtual coffee sessions. If you need additional functionality that falls under our full service plan just let me know.

eclecticcoding profile image
Chuck • Edited

I enjoyed connected with other #DEV's last week. Looking forward to this week. Thanks for doing this.

nickytonline profile image
Nick Taylor

Going to see if I can make it to another one this week Bekah. Keep being awesome!

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