If you've noticed the hashtag #podcamphfx on twitter trending today in Canada and you have absolutely no idea why, it’s because there was a convention-type gathering of the social media nerds here in Halifax today for the third annual Podcamp Halifax . It’s held at Alderney Landing with the help of the library and its goal is to bring together ALL types of social media users in the city of Halifax to participate in what they like to call “Unconference style” sessions. Literally, podcamp is for anyone who has any interest in social media. It’s a great way to network and connect in physical form with the individuals you connect with online every day, and share your knowledge base while also building your community base. So being relatively new to this blogging world and wanting to learn more on how to better our blog, we decided to sign up.
Now, I am going to make a confession here: I’m cynical by nature and my worst feature is that not only do I expect a lot from myself, but I expect a lot from others. I had a high expectation for Podcamp because I heard so much about it from others via my friends and my twitter pals and I am happy to say that it surpassed every expectation that I had. It was PHE-NOM-E-NAL!! It was just awesome to be around so many people who were addicted to twitter just like me, it was sooo....Liberating!! It was a space were you could check your Blackberry or iPhone every 2 minutes and no one gave you the stink eye.
However, I do believe I was somewhat unprepared for the event and its sessions. Since the podcamp is for all users, they have sessions that range from a broad spectrum of...hmm... how would I say this?... of connoisseurs of social media. Some from the basic level of “I have a facebook account” to the “I can recite html code off the top of my head and I do it for fun”. I loved all the sessions that I attended but... I loved some more than others. It really didn’t have anything to do with the presenters themselves because they were all awesome, interesting and entertaining. It has more to do with content and the audience they were geared for. I didn’t find the descriptions of the sessions on the website particularly helpful since it just made me want to attend all of them. I kind of wish they were rated by skill level; it would have made it a tad bit easier to decide since I’m not a beginner or an intermediate when it comes to social media. A good rule of thumb I discovered is that any session was held at the Alderney Landing Theatre was probably a more advanced level session.
Just for fun, I’m going to rate the sessions I attended today based on the Star Wars Analogy rating systems tend to I use in real life.
1st Session: Augmented Reality – The New Social Media by John Leahy.
My Rating: Jedi Council. Blew my mind! I almost wanted to go home right there and then and research all the augmented reality products he showed. I believe he was the Yoda, Jedi Master of podcamp. You really had to be up with all the latest technology to really comprehend the extent of the amazingness of the products he’s way talking about. He also let us know that outside of Silicon Valley, Halifax has the largest number of Augmented Reality code writers in the World.
2nd Session: Using Coffee and Oatmeal to build an audience on Twitter – Chris Campbell.
My Rating: Jedi Training. He was a great presenter, funny and interesting
but he didn’t go into great technological details. In all fairness, building an audience on twitter isn’t really rocket science. His message, just be yourself and share your personality with others online.
3rd Session: Social Media Usage in Atlantic Canada – Giles Crouch.
My Rating: The Senate. Yet another incredible presentation. This was an information session on trends of social media in Atlantic Canada with lots of great and interesting eye opening statistics. It was an information sessions on who and what is dominating the social media sphere and where the trends are headed. Pretty incredible stats including that of the 2.8 million Atlantic Canadians, 1.7 of us frequent users of social media.
4th Session: Panel Discussion guided by twitter questions from live stream of #podcamphalifax.
My Rating: The Republic. This was a hashing out sessions of all things social media and the questions that arise from its unchartered world. It was the meeting of the minds of the Empire.
5th Session: Oops We Started a Blog – 3 local Halifamous and beyond Bloggers.
My Rating: Jedi Training. These local bloggers were hilarious and entertaining which shouldn’t surprise you hence the success of their blogs. This was the only session in which I thought it would go into detail about bigger problems that people who already have a blog face but it was more geared towards people who were flirting with the idea of starting a blog. Good information about the mistakes they made while starting their blog but just not what I was looking for.
Wow! This post is longer that I thought it was going to be. All in all, I had an awesome day at podcamp even though I feel like a bit of a nerd telling people I went to Podcamp. If you get a chance to check it out next year, you should jump at the opportunity. It’s free and the people who attend are genuinely interested in social media. I wish there were more sessions on building a blog but hey, it’s all volunteer based and you can tell they put in a lot of time preparing for this event. My hat is off to the organizers of Podcamp Halifax. They did an incredible job! Can’t wait for next year!!!
Here’s a video demo of Augmented Reality that Yoda.. aka.. John Leaky used in his presentation.