Conventional thinking

For some unknown reason I suddenly got stuck on thinking about the word "convention." It can mean a convention in the way we usually think of it, a big old meeting, often with tradeshow attached. It also can mean an agreement or contract, and a common practice (i.e., the convention of showing north at the top of a map) or accepted usage (the convention of starting a letter with Dear so and so, regardless of your relationship with them).

It all kind of works, at least in my twisted and somewhat pooped brain. Conventions in the meetings sense often convey common practices and accepted usages to attendees. Some would argue that they also rely on this other sense of convention far too heavily themselves, with conventions following conventions rather than trying something more innovative. I don't know why, but this seems interesting.

I just ran across this floor plan for the Radiological Society of North America's upcoming convention, and it's anything but conventional (thanks to the MiForum listserv for the pointer). It's pretty wild, but with so much thought going into it, I bet it works for them. It's an interesting experiment, at any rate, and if it does work for attendees and exhibitors alike, could it become the new convention for conventions? OK, I'll stop now. At least the word "convention" doesn't become a nonsense sound when repeated, like the word "pony" does (or maybe that's just me?).

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