Conferences

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.

#smwhealth Debrief - Jay Walker and New Mental Models of Health

Thursday I headed into New York for part of Social Media Week. The first speaker was Jay Walker, @TedMedJay. He spoke about how we are living in a world of evolving systems that engineering thinking just doesn't work for dealing with such systems. Instead, he spoke about how we need to think about mental models. He started off by looking at a simple, powerful, and frequently used mental model, "What Would Jesus Do". He then moved on to talk about mental models in health care; invincible teenage boys, the born lucky model, where people think that health outcomes won't affect them, because they're lucky, and the car mechanic model where folks go to the doctor simply to get fixed up. He then went on to talk about models like the 'specialist' model, which is getting more and more challenged by more and more specialization and the Star Trek model where nanobots will fix everything. There is also a 'rational actor model' whereby patients are believed to make better health decisions if they are simply presented with better information.

Yet, technology, Jay went on to say, doesn't solve problems, it creates tools that can be used to help people solve problems based on their mental models. For example, technology, in and of itself, cannot end racism. And as to the rational actor model, it fails to explain why so many people, even though they know smoking is bad for them, still smoke.

All of this was well and good, but the thing that would have been more interesting would have been a discussion about how we help establish new mental models. Jay did talk talk about 'personal informed model', based on being open minded and continuously learning. It sounds like a good idea, but as Jay noted, too many people decide they are done learning when they leave school.

Looking at bigger systems, the pharmaceutical, insurance, medical complex is not set up to encourage doctors and patients to pursue more cost effective health outcomes. So, the bigger question becomes, how do we challenge and change the pharmaceutical, insurance, medical complex?

Perhaps some of the discussions that took place during the rest of the day provides clues, but that will have to wait for another blog post.

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