Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Theory Day. How to get the word out on this and other events?

Aravind asked me to post on this again (NOTE- registration-for-free deadline
is TOMMOROW!!!!!)

The University of Maryland at College park is having a Theory Day on Wed Oct 24! Come hear
  1. Distinguished talks by Julia Chuzhoy and Venkataesan Guruswami!
  2. Short talks (is that code for NOT distinguished?) by Bill Gasarch, MohammadTaghi Hajiaghayi, Jonathan Katz, Samir Khuller, David Mount, Elaine (Runting) Shi, and Aravind Srinivsans. (I never realized I was first alphabetically until now.)
  3. Discussions in hallways for those that learn more that way!
For more info see the link above, but note one thing: Its FREE! NOTE: This is purposely after the NJ FOCS conference and is an easy Amtrak ride from NJ. I like theory days in general and often go to the NY theory days. They are free and only one day. I recommend going to any theory day that is an Amtrak Ride away. (Might depend on how long the trip is- There is a 13-hour Amtrak from Atlanta Georgia to Maryland, though I doubt I'll see Lance there.) I get a lot out of theory day as noted in this post about NY theory day. What are good ways to get the word out about events.
  1. The major conferences and also the NY Theory Days have a long enough tradition that they don't need much advertising.
  2. Email is not as useful as it used to be since we all get too much of it.
  3. There IS a website for theory announcements here, and also one of our links, but more people need to post there and read there. A chicken and egg problem.
  4. Twitter. No central authority. If Aravind had a twitter account (I doubt he does) then he could tweet to his followers, but that would not be that many people.
  5. Any ideas?


  1. If the goal it to get FOCS people to come, two things; (1) did you ask Tim or David to Tweet on it and (2) even if it's a short Amtrak ride away it would require changing air flight plans for people flying in for FOCS. Far too late now.

    Have Julia and Venkataesan (is that spelled correctly?) posted about it on their Twitter or Facebook pages or blogs? They might have followers in the region who aren't going up to FOCS but would come to this.

    For future years, why does the page look so cheap and why is it so hard to find from Google?

    1. I don't know about the other criticisms, but the page certainly does not "look cheap". It is certainly a much more user friendly design than many of the "non-cheap" looking designs out there.

    2. looks very 1993 with mostly black text on a white background and no images or flair which might be user friendly to read but doesn't look very serious

    3. Long-time reader, rarely poster10:20 AM, October 10, 2012

      This is a classic balancing question. From an HCI standpoint this page is straight-forward, easy to read, easy to search on-page, and friendly to cross-language use. However, also from an HCI standpoint, it looks rather boring and likely does not match user expectations for an event page. If the page is meant for people who know of UM's Theory Day and just want information about who will be speaking and when, it does the job. If the goal also includes drawing in a new audience, do you (Circe) think it accomplishes that?