I presented at MIX2023 last Friday and had a whale of a time. Mostly because I happened to run into five or six people I already knew, but who I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic - and of course, that made it much easier to chat to lots of new people as well.
There’s something I never worked out as a young PhD student and it’s so silly that it’s embarrassing to write it down: you should go to the conference for your area every year you can because you’ll keep meeting all the people in your field and then you can collaborate and learn and have a community (cynically, they will also be the people who review your papers and cite your sources and it helps to know what they like). I never understood that so I think that I ended up going to about 15 different conferences in my academic ‘career’ - and only went to two of those more than once. And it’s only now I realise how silly that was.