Sunday, October 26, 2008
PodCamp in Pittsburgh
What, you may ask is a PodCamp—or more specifically, PodCamp Pittsburgh3. It is an UnConference created by and for enthusiasts and professionals, anyone interested in new media. Whether it’s a blog or a video, live or pre-recorded, all the postings from salon.com to “The Evolution of Dance” started as an idea and used technology to reach their audience. All of these are the community of PodCamp.
The first PodCamp was held in Boston in 2006 and Pittsburgh followed shortly after. Since then PodCamps have been held around the world, from California to Sweden and Ireland to South Africa. Last year’s camp was attended by about two hundred, this year’s topped three hundred. Its spirit was summed up nicely by Chris Brogan, the founder of the original PodCamp—we can learn the tools and give our city a voice. Social media is, after all, the epitome of accessibility.
Everyone at PodCamp is a rock star and there are no stupid questions. So sessions are geared to all levels of experience and expertise. And with four or five sessions being held simultaneously, the greatest challenge of the weekend was deciding which to attend. In addition to the “formal” sessions, two additional venues—the Mentoring Lounge and the Wear Pittsburgh Loungy Lounge—allowed for continuing discussions and ad hoc sessions.
In the true spirit of accessibility, PodCamp is free and open to everyone. This is possible in no small part due to generosity of sponsors as diverse as Meakem Becker, VisitPittsburgh and the Art Institute.
Last year’s PodCamp gave me the inspiration and technical knowledge to start this blog. As a friend of mine advised, anything worth doing is worth doing badly. I hope that this year’s event provides the determination to a city of new bloggers and Pittsburgh can stay on the front line of social media.
Among the sessions that caught my attention were Cynthia Closkey and Mike Woycheck’s “Blogging Best Practices” and Justin Kownacki’s panel discussion on cyber-burnout and podfading. Kownacki treated those at this session with a preview of his cyber-sitcom, “Something to be Desired” (currently starting it’s sixth season.) It was there that I decided to expand my blog beyond the gallery scene. There are many art-related events that remain under-reported, starting with PodCamp itself. In the future I intend to cover events as diverse as lectures, festivals and small venue concerts. I hope others are inspired to join—there is plenty of room on the world-wide web.