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  • Romy Prestly

Online Webinars - Are they here to stay?

Back in 2011, Zoom founder Eric Yuan spotted a gap in the market for a group chat solely online. By February 2020, when the pandemic hit, Zoom amassed 2.22 million users. It has since been identified as the 5th most downloaded app worldwide.

What was once a gap in the market is now the new normality. Video call softwares are used for a multitude of functions including remote education and lockdown-friendly socialising. But one function that might outlive the return to in-person normality is the online webinar.

Online webinars are events hosted by either a company or an organisation, and the exclusive audience has the opportunity to learn a specialised skill in exchange for a small fee. Because of their nature and the online platform, webinars can be attended by a global audience.

Other Benefits of Online Webinars:

  • Motivating: The concept of being in the presence (albeit virtual) of like-minded individuals discussing a topic that is meaningful to the audience can re-ignite certain passions.

  • Recording: The sessions can also be put on hold for those who can’t be in attendance at the time. Many organisations will record the sessions and send them to others in exchange for a fee.

  • Transactional: The online webinar is equally beneficial to the company as it is to the attending individuals because it monetises the exchange of information.

  • Engaging: Several video-call softwares can incorporate different features to keep the audience engaged like polls and screen sharing. Concluding Q&A sessions are also often used and allow attendees to interact.

To navigate the wide range of topics that are on offer through online webinars, I asked my network where they found out about their favourite ones:

How to find good online webinars:

  • University emails: It might seem pointless checking emails over a uni-free summer, but these are often where the best ones are advertised. If you don’t already receive emails about webinars relating to your degree topic, ask a lecturer to send opportunities to you or even point you in the direction of where to find them.

  • Google ‘webinar schedule’: a simple google search gives you a schedule of all the online webinars going ahead in the next few months.

  • Facebook groups: Check facebook groups that you’re a part of. These will likely be related to your interests and specific to you.

  • Eventbrite is the platform that is the middle-man between the paying customer and the organisation holding the event, so there are always upcoming webinars listed on their site. Some eventbrite events are free, but they will still be listed on their site.

  • Ask around: This could be your twitter network or friends from your course. Either way, there will likely be at least a few that are of interest to you.

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