Take a look at these idiotic "badge wallets" that tradeshow organizers are requiring us to wear for basic identification these days.
They're huge and ridiculous and they need to go away. (I'm talking about the badge wallets, not necessarily the conference organizers.)
But I do have a nit to pick with the conference organizers, too, for being so far behind the times. Ask your average conference manager about "digitization" and they'll likely make some remark about converting printed pages into fingers. They just don't get it.
Why do they insist on forgoing a simple, credit card-sized name tag for the hated badge wallet -- a veritable fanny-pack on a string? These loathsome objects are at odds with today's trend of miniaturization, not to mention that they completely wreck a pressed, collared shirt unless you wear a tie (and a tie is not bloody likely at NXTcomm, the next big show on my calendar. Which is in June. In Las Vegas).
The press suffers enough indignities at tradeshows, don't we? We get free food courtesy of the convention kitchen staff, whose idea of contemporary cooking is a seafood and pasta dish called Salmonella.
We're constantly harassed by publicists, bosses, spouses, and others who want us to gamble less, drink less, and work more. And on top of all those insults, there is the injury of a having to wear a novelty-sized press credential stuffed with a name tag, meal tickets, a map, and more loose bits of paper than you'll see on Tremont St. after the BoSox win the next World Series.
It's even funnier when conference organizers add a giant ribbon to the bottom of the badge wallet that says "PRESS!" Got anything else that could attract attention and cause people to wonder if we're deranged? Why not add on a cowbell? How about some clown shoes that squeak when we walk? Why not pay a guy to walk behind me and clap cymbals every time I start a conversation? If the idea is for us to stick out in a crowd and look silly, why not spring for a large fruit-covered hat and insist that we preface each question with the percussive rattle of maracas?
You know what I think this is? This badge wallet malarkey is a conspiracy to make the half-dozen, half-blind convention center security guards at every door feel as though they're doing something more productive than making sure no one turns off all the lights or runs with scissors.
Sidebar: Have you seen these human coat racks close up? Do you feel more secure with those people guarding the room? I'd be more intimidated if you stuck a sleeping kitten and a bowl of milk at each entrance.
Anyway, I beg the convention managers and organizers of big events in this great country to re-route some of the R&D dollars you're putting into keeping bathrooms filthy to a more worthy cause, like finding a viable, less intrusive alternative to the stinking badge wallet.
I thank you. My fellow media members thank you. My collared shirts and my dry cleaners thank you.
— Phil Harvey, Editor, Light Reading