Here’s the thing. Conferences. I’ve never presented. I don’t know that I even want to. I have attended. I have been a referee. But presenting? I used to think that was the shit.
It is much better–for philosophy authors as well as yourself–to be in the audience. It is definitely fruitful to ask questions, but even more so to take notes. It is good to survey the aftermath of a conference, too. This is a way to know who actually is the shit and who is a complete and total loser.
There are indeed both in philosophy and you want to know who they are. Losers? Just stay away from them and, with hope, they won’t bother you. Folks who are the shit? Snuggle them, philosophically speaking. Enjoy their work. Don’t try to be like them. Just know there’s people who are, as matter of fact, the shit. When the time comes you meet a loser, you can always take solace in the fact that there are also winners.
Having said all of that, if you’re interested in attending a philosophy event–or you know of one upcoming near you–check out PhilEvents. There, you really can “do both.”