I’ve just returned from BarCampHarrisburg and my mind is spinning with ideas. BarCamp is part of unconference leaderless approach to networking. One person initiates the idea, and takes on coordinating the event. Others freely join in and contribute to what interests them. Our organizers included:
- Rich Hauck (email, twitter: mandalatv, Website)
- Dave Robertson (email, twitter: daverobertson, Website)
- Dan Thompson (email, twitter: withoutnoise, Website)
When the event kicks off, attendees post ideas on possible presentation topics. Again, the crowd organizes the topics by time slots and room locations. Similar gatherings are PodCamp (podcasting focused) and WordCamp (blogging focused).
Throughout they day, a few key highlights stood out:
1st session: mobile phone apps & marketing with them
This topic came just a day before JoelComm announced his own app for the iPhone. Could the next wave of connecting with clients, whether an internet marketer or any individual seeking to connect with clients involve customized phone applications?
2nd session: Using Social Media in the Harrisburg community
Central PA is not known for being a tech-driven area. We discussed various ways the local area is implementing social media, and debated the relevance of local print news.
- BeyondSecond – local art/photography
- BlogHarrisburg – local bloggers, tweetups, flickr group, etc.
3rd Session: Monetizing with Social Media
During this session I felt the topic was unclear. As I saw it, there were actually 4 potential topics emerging:
Session 4: How does a company website tie into the marketing plan
This session left me rather frustrated. I prefer discussions without interruption in which participants are able to engage and are heard. My conclusion, existing successful businesses may not need pretty websites, but new companies often will. Brand recognition and marketing plans will dictate the need for such sites, and word of mouth referals (or online reviews) stand out stronger than an ugly website.
Session 5: Drupal & WordPress
This was a great session on Drupal theming tips. I anticipate a SlideShare of the Keynote presentation soon from Dave.
I enjoyed connecting with others I’ve met in Twitter leading up to the confrence. Future events sound exciting, but will take more crowd coordination to further the success of the events. If you get the chance to check out a BarCamp, WordCamp, PodCamp, or any other such gathering – go, engage, and lead. The networking is valuable, the topics enjoyable, and how you show up determines what you will get out of it.
Thanks to Shawn Farner for Qik videos.