I have only been to 1 national conference and it was frankly a complete waste. Most of the seminars that I sat in on quickly turned into gripe sessions with the NHQ people that were running the seminar. Here is how most of it went:
CAP Member: "Why are we doing X when Y would be cheaper, easier, and would probably generate outside interest?"
NHQ staffer: "We spent a lot of time researching X and are committed to it. It is a great plan."
CAP Member: "What about Y?"
NHQ staffer: "We didn't consider that because reasons."
rinse and repeat
I haven't seen Wing or Region conferences be much better, especially when you factor in the cost. Technology has overcome the conference model and we all just need to embrace it. A conference can easily be replace with WebEx or similar technology for a lot less money. I'm still not sure why we are not doing RSC and NSC as web conferences either.
I see your point, and I expect there will be much more technology utilized in the future. CAP has been behind on technology and is still trying to catch up, technology is moving faster than everyone, corporations, the military, and our culture. In OHWG at least, I see the OHWG conference as much as a learning opportunity as a social event. I enjoy getting to see familiar faces that are usually far away.
Conferences, meetings, seminars, and classes will not be fully online in the near future. This is for the same reason that of my courses only one or two are online. It isn't practical for discussion based learning and many students and instructors find better results through the personal interaction. I am one of those people who can learn either way. If I consider even one of the most academic NCSAs conducted entirely online, the benefits would not be nearly as great as the experience myself and my flight mates received.
Conferences and activities will continue to happen until people decide not to go, I have never gone to the national conference because I haven't been able to afford it. Just because it doesn't merit my money
doesn't mean it isn't worth it to other people.