Conferences

Podcamp WesternMass

Podcamp WesternMass is tomorrow and I've been following some of the discussions about ideas for different sessions. There has been a bit of talk about '101' sessions, introductions to various aspects of social media. I always worry about these sort of sessions, where there is an information based power imbalance; the person leading the session having lots of information, and many of the other participants mostly having questions. I know these sessions are important, but I prefer dialogues between equals, so I haven't stepped up to facilitate a session like this. If I did, I'd probably want to talk about broad based strategy issues. What is your goal or mission? What is your message? What is your audience? Perhaps a little bit of a discussion about metrics and all of it leading back to the ideas of intent and impact.

Intent and Impact are issues that I'm particularly focused on these days. What is your intent when you follow someone on social media? When you retweet them? When you post something of your own? What is your intent when you post or share a political comment or a cute picture? How does this fit into group dynamics and parallel processes between groups? How does it relate to Zeitgeist? I wonder how much other people are thinking about this or are interested in talking about this?

I'm also especially interested in some of the more geeky discussions. My good friend Joe Cascio is going to be talking about Bitcoin. I hope this will be a lively discussion, perhaps tying in other issues like alternative non-dollar based currencies, micropayments, point systems and other rewards, etc. I wonder if anyone else there is playing with Raspberry Pi. I could talk a little bit about that, but it probably wouldn't be a great discussion unless a few other geeky people gathered and we shared ideas and brainstormed about what could be done with Raspberry Pi.

Staying on the geeky thread, I'm interested in augmented reality. I was accepted into ProjectGlass, which means I may be getting a pair of Google Glasses soon. What will I be able to do with these? What else is out there for augmented reality? What else is out there for immersive glasses?

One of the things people talk a lot about with Google Glass is taking pictures and videos. We've seen Instagram take off. What else is happening or coming in digital photography and videography? Anyone playing with Vine? What about creating your own Instagram like filters with Photoshop or Gimp? Are their other video tools people should be looking at?

Here, I'm especially interested in mobile, and I wonder what else is coming in Mobile. What are some cool things people are doing with mobile that I'm missing? Are there tools to encourage creativity? Audio, pictures, video production and editing tools? HDR? Panoramas? 3D photography? New ways of looking at creativity? Anyone playing with SuperColider on Android? (I haven't had a lot of luck with it yet). How about Creatorverse? Ingress?

This gets me to what I think was the most valuable session for me from Podcamp last year. I think it was supposed to be about Evernote. I like Evernote. I'm kicking around Google Keep. I've used Onenote in the past, and I'm wondering if there are things that I can be doing with Onenote at work. I've also been interested in mobile audio note taking. "Note to self" spoken into the cellphone to launch an app that does speech to text note taking. Maybe there will be some discussion about these apps at Podcamp WesternMass.

However, only a couple people showed up at the Evernote session, so we sat around sharing ideas. I learned a lot about Evernote that day, and especially ideas about using IFTTT with Evernote. If you haven't checked out "If This Then That" ifttt.com and your a serious social media person, then you're really missing something.

I guess that gets to what I like best about Podcamps, going to sessions where you discover something unexpected, maybe even as the session goes off topic, and everyone gets engaged in the discussion. Because after all, engagement is a key goal in social media and it should be in Podcamp as well.

So, are you interested in any of these topics? Are there other topics your interested in? Let's build the discussion and momentum going into Podcamp WesternMass.

A Podcast Presentation Tool - @bufferapp and @Tweetchat

On March 30th, PodCamp Western Mass will take place. Already, people are brainstorming session ideas. I've written about PodCamps several times in the past. What is the Difference Between a Good Podcamp and a Great Podcamp? is the blog post that perhaps best captures my thoughts about PodCamps.

A good podcamp does not have people coming in to do presentations. Presentations are done by self professed experts trying to tell other people something important that they’ve learned. There are places for presentations, but I don’t think podcamps are one of them. Presentations reflect a major problem in so much of online media today. Everyone wants to talk, and no one wants to listen. A good podcamp is one where everyone goes to listen and learn.

With this, I thought I'd share my latest favorite presentation tool, a tool that should work well for Podcamp. I've used it for a couple presentations and I know a few other people are thinking of using this idea.

On the screen where the presentation is being projected, instead of projecting PowerPoint, I project a Tweetchat using a predefined hashtag. I set the update speed to 5 seconds to try and minimize Then, I load up my talking points in Buffer. I set Buffer so that it won't do any automatic updates until after the presentation is scheduled to be over.

Then, when I do the presentation, I bring up Buffer on my Android phone. It should work the same way for iPhones. My tweets are their waiting for me, and I can click on the option to send each tweet immediately to twitter as I get the the tweet in my presentation. Within five seconds, it shows up on the screen.

What is also nice about this, is that gives everyone else a chance to add their thoughts to the discussion on the presentation screen.

For those who believe that presentations should follow a 10-20-30 rule, ten slides, twenty minutes and thirty point font, buffer helps with this, if you are using the free version of buffer, you are limited to ten tweets. When I do important larger presentations, I upgrade my buffer account to the paid version.

The problems I run into are trying to see what else has been added to the discussion, responding to it, and dealing with some of the delay. However, it is a great way of doing presentations and a skill I'm working on enhancing.

So, anyone up for some Buffer/Tweetchat enabled presentation/discussions at Podcamp Western Mass?

#pcwm Debrief

It is Saturday evening. I am home from Podcamp Western Mass. I have had a nice dinner with my family, and before I crash, I want to share a few different thoughts from Podcamp.

1) Carpool! It was an hour an a half drive up to Podcamp. So, I got in touch with Jack Nork, who lives the next town over. We drove up together, and, in many ways, had the first Podcamp session of the day on the way up. We also had a great Podcamp Wrap up session on the way back.

2) One of the rules of Podcamp is that everyone is a rockstar. As always, there were a lot of interesting people at Podcamp. As the number of people I am connected with online grows, I'm finding that events like Podcamp don't fill up my rolodex as much as they used to. I was interested to see that besides a bunch of new Twitter connections, this time, I made some new LinkedIn connections as well.

3) Some of the best discussions are in unexpected places, and there are always new things to learn about. I met with one person who is doing a lot with Evernote and ifttt.com. I've started playing with ifttt and have looked at doing more with Evernote. I'm also taking a new look at Quora, especially in terms of locations and companies. I'm making upgrades to my Quora account. Another tool that I looked at once briefly, and it just didn't click, but this time it did, was Yelp's Monocle.

ifttt is If This Then That. If I post a Foursquare checkin with a photo attached, then send that photo to Flickr as well. If it is 6 PM, send me a text message. If it is going to rain tomorrow, give me a phone call. Looks like there are a lot of things to be done with that and I just need to figure out the best way of configuring things.

As to Monocle, I showed it to Kim as we looked around to see what was available near where we are for bars and restaurants. Looks like a nice upgrade. I'll have to play with it more later when I'm really looking for a place to eat.

Oh, and as a person that has used Tweetchat to follow discussions on Twitter, I have to say that TwitterFountain looks really cool. That's probably enough for right now, with one final note:

4) Keep your eyes open for Podcamp Connecticut. May 12th in New Haven.

Oh, and I didn't go to any sessions that had PowerPoint presentations!

#ff #pcwm @redheadeddivak @tgalanis @mmpartee @ChristinePilch @cparizo @AlSantaniello @ron_miller @JulianneKrutka @jcnork @paulb

Tomorrow morning is the fourth Podcamp Western Mass. I made it to the first two, missed the third, and will be heading up to the fourth tomorrow. So, I thought it would be good to highlight some of the people I've met through Podcamp and/or will be going tomorrow.

I'll start from the back of the list. I'll be driving up from Connecticut tomorrow with @jcnork. He lives in the next town over and we run into each other a lot. We're currently working on plans for Podcamp Connecticut, which should take place May 12th. Coming from the same town as @jcnork is @paulbogush. I've run into Paul online and at various events, and I'm glad he'll be heading up to Podcamp Western Mass.

The other eight people are shakers and movers in the Podcamp Western Mass circle. @mmpartee really carries the Podcamp spirit and has been a great help with planning Podcamps in Connecticut as well.

I don't know who will be tweeting what tomorrow, but you can probably catch most of the action on the #pcwm hash tag.

Podcamps and Presentations

This coming Saturday, Podcamp returns to Western Mass. I went to a couple Western Mass Podcamps, as well as podcamps in other locations and helped organize the first Podcamp in Connecticut.

Before I go much further, I should explain what a Podcamp is. It is an 'unconference' where people gather to discuss topics related to social media. I put it this way to contrast it from a typical conference where a keynote speaker or a group of panelists talk at the audience.

With my focus on the discussion aspect of an unconference, you may wonder my thoughts about where presentations fit in, especially if you've read some of my other thoughts about presentations. As a general rule, I don't think they fit in well at all. I really dislike presentations, and particularly Powerpoint presentations.

I guess that is some of the reason, I really haven't done a lot with Slideshare or Scribd. But recently, I saw a Clearslide presentation, and I thought it was pretty interesting. I've set up a test account, but I'm not yet sold on it. I also recently set up a Prezi account. I did this during a conference, and since I rarely do presentations, I didn't come back to revisit it, until today.

I went through the tutorial, and I really liked it. I will have to play more with Prezi.

With this, let me return to a moment to Podcamp. While I try to avoid sessions with presentations at Podcamp, and if I accidentally find myself in one, I try to reshape it into a discussion, or I use the 'rule of two feet' and head off for a different discussion, a discussion of presentation tools, from SlideShare to Clearslide and Prezi, might be a bit of fun.

A related topic that might be really interesting is video animation. On the simple level, there are tools like XtraNormal, GoAnimate, and Animoto. From the little bit that I've played with each of them, I like XtraNormal the best. Then, there are the whiteboard animations, like RSA animate videos. I've read tutorials about how to do this, but it seems cumbersome and I wonder if there are tools or shortcuts to make it easier. Then, of course, there is machinima, or making animated videos using computer games. I've always like Second Life based Machinima, and have made a few very simple examples. For the serious animator, there is Blender which I've also played with, but not come close to developing any proficiency. Video animation might be another fun topic to explore at a Podcamp.

We'll see who ends up at Podcamp Western Mass, as well as a Podcamp in Connecticut, hopefully later in the year. I look forward to hearing about other topics I haven't even thought about.

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