This past Friday and Saturday, I had a great opportunity to attend PodCamp Hawaii, a FREE user unconference, at the Hawaii Convention Center. I’d like to thank my office for allowing me to go as part of work. I first heard about it through a friend, but what finally got me to go was Ian Lind announcing that he would be a speaker. He’s a former investigative reporter who now blogs daily from Kaaawa. He is one of my icons, whom I consider to be a hero in local journalism (I’ll write about my other icon/hero later). And PodCamp allowed me the opportunity to meet him in person…I might be a nerd to be that excited, but I still am. (Another example of my nerdiness is my recent trip to Washington, DC where I felt the highlight was finding C-SPAN‘s office.) Ian even answered a question I asked of him about making money with blogging, which he doesn’t, at least not much after paying the bills.
I really felt at home being around such techie people and geeks, or at least people who updated their Twitter as often as I did. BTW, I’m @exbor on Twitter. FYI, I’m a Poli Sci major, if I can do this stuff, so can you – and that really was part of the message of PodCamp which brought together users of all abilities. The best story was of a lady who didn’t know how to setup her wireless on her computer and had a blog up and running by the closing session on Saturday; and like those informercials always say, “Results not typical”, so your mileage may vary.
I wanted to memorialize and share some of the lessons that I took away from PodCamp; there were many more, these are just ones that I thought stood out:
- You have to be willing to relinquish some control: most speakers advised against taking down criticisms because you can at least address them, but many were willing to take down those that include personal attacks and aren’t just focused on the issue/message.
- You should be who you are: this speaks to credibility; besides the internet is a transparent place and people will see right through you.
- Don’t market or spam: keep it real, man. Looks like @GoAirlines didn’t get that memo. (I promise that will be the last dig at them for a while.)
- Don’t keep it too real or too personal: while it’s nice to share, it’s a difficult task to keep a proper balance and to make sure one doesn’t overshare.
- Remember you can be sued for defamation and libel: it’s a growing problem, but we know the truth, opinions and public proceedings/figures are OK. I think I did a good enough job not doing anything actionable on yesterday’s post.
And on the lighter, funnier side of things, here are the top 10 signs that you might be a geek at PodCamp:
- You bought a t-shirt. If you were given a purple “STAFF” shirt, you earn double points. I really wanted to buy one, but by the time I confirmed I could go, it was too late. I wouldn’t have received it in time, but next time I’ll have my spiffy, cool t-shirt, too!
- Your name badge had an “@” (for Twitter usernames) or .com/.net/.org, etc. written on it. I was definitely guilty of this.
- You can easily remember people’s Twitter names, but are sometimes fuzzy on their real ones!
- You used your iPhone to lookup the daily schedule and made some work calls on your Blackberry. Guilty.
- You used your laptop to post your Tweets and upload photos, which you took on a great DSLR or a camera phone.
- You knew who Matt Mullenweg was and couldn’t understand why they didn’t just give him his own timeslot and not have other presenters that people had to choose between. Sorry, as a former intern to Congressman Neil Abercrombie, I went to that session instead.
- You added at least one person you met at PodCamp Hawaii to a social network like Facebook or LinkedIn. Double points if you added them while you were still at PodCamp!
- Not only did you know “#pch08″ was the tag we used for PodCamp, you also know what a tag is and went around reminding people to add it when you didn’t see it on their Tweets or Flickr uploads.
- You actually posted a Tweet to announce that the #pch08 tag was beaten in popularity on Twitter only by the tags “Sarah Palin” on Friday and “Halloween” on Saturday. Affirmative on my part, on both days.
- You sent a Tweet just to see your post on the big screen in the Theater. OK, I was guilty of that at least three times. Tell me I wasn’t the only one.
If you were guilty of even one thing on the list, you probably are a geek – yay! Geeks rejoice.
So to my old friends, my new friends, and the online people I’ve known for a while, but met in person at PodCamp: thanks for making my first one a great experience! And many thanks to the organizers, especially Roxanne Darling, Shane Robinson, Judi Clark, and Kyle Nishioka – they did their jobs so well, they made it look easy, which it surely was not.