This past weekend, I was supposed to be at the first ever Sock Summit in Portland, OR. Sadly, due to poor timing and limited funds on my part, I missed my chance of buying the plane tickets to Seattle. While wallowing in the misery of not going to the biggest sock-knitting bash ever (IMHO) and not seeing my cousin’s family in Sunriver, my friend Guido Stein of the “It’s a Purl, Man” fame contacted me on Thursday. He suggested that I attend the Podcamp Boston conference which was the same weekend at the University of Massachusett’s Boston campus. I blew off his words at first, and checked my calendar for the weekend. Hmm… Looks like there is the Spa-like event WOOL… But then driving up north was not appealing to my tired knitting mojo and brain-dead blog.
“Podcamp? I am not a podcaster. Why on earth should I go?” Those thoughts rang in my head until I scanned the notes of what Podcamp entailed. It was not only podcasts which were discussed, but also the various types of social networking and how all can be used in marketing, distributing, and sharing information. Reflecting on the fact that I would have to be up early to commute to Boston, which meant Rich would be have to be up early to take me, I decided to embed myself into the conference by staying over both Friday and Saturday nights at the recommended Doubletree Hotel. Using cousin Tess’ trick of Priceline, I scored a room for both nights. In my suitcase, I packed up my “Little Parade” shawl project and favorite notepad in case my crestfallen heart stumbled across my lost knitting and blogging mojo.
Taking the commuter rail into Boston’s South Station, I reviewed what was in store for me, and decided to treat the experience as one of discovery. The topics covered in the conference schedule ranged from Guido’s “How Do you Start This Podcasting Thing?” to Renee Hopkins’ “What’s the Value of Social Media for B2B Companies?” Impromptu sessions were also encouraged, and the “Law of Two Feet” was firmly implanted. To explain in a nutshell, the “Law of Two Feet” allows a person who is not getting the most of a session to walk out of it. So if the session one popped into turned out the opposite of what was expected, it is more than okay to leave for answers elsewhere.
Saturday brought some awesome insight to why I was here. Though when I arrived, Guido asked if I could help by downloading an application on my iPhone. Wanting to help, I downloaded Moby, and notified him when it was done. Guido’s response? “Great!! We need you to walk up to folks and take their photograph. The pictures will be posted up on the #PCB4 wall.” I replied, “Sure thing Guido!” but in my head I was thinking, “Am I going MAD? I have no idea who these people are!!” Of course I did as asked and managed to grab some folks as guinea pigs. Later, the sessions kind of distracted me from my assigned task… Oops!
During my years of blogging in the knitting and house rabbit genres, I had thought about doing the same in my fields of datacenter and software QA knowledge, but was unsure of my approach. By applying the suggestions from “How Do you Craft a Compelling Story through Podcasting?” by Jeremy Meyers, I saw that my own blog-writing could be tweaked and primed to reach audiences besides my fellow knitters and house rabbit lovers. Guido’s session of “How Do you Start this Podcasting Thing?” brought up ideas that I had not thought of in my writing style. I do not want to drone about further details on Podcamp, but will sum it up as this:
Podcamp (#pcb4) made me realize that social media is a communication tool in which wielded correctly, is a very powerful sword that cuts through old-fashioned minds with “out of the box” thinking. Podcamp also showed me how intertwined I was in the Ravelry social network, that there are many other networks with just as dedicated followers, and how our experiences should be shared so that other groups could learn from the community of online knitters/crafters.
I spoke with a ton of folks over the weekend, and I hope to learn more by following them in their respective mediums of communication:
@GuidoS, @shersteve @johnblue, @gradontripp, @DougH, @WayneNH, @jeffhinz, @chelpixie, @cspenn, @LDpodcast, @TheMarketingGuy, @SarahPrevette, @erin_bury, @MichaelCantone, @johnhaydon, @lexiconsystems, @chrisabraham, @mickdarling, @JimPeake, @AnnKingman, @GenniK, @saranicole, @stacyreck, @LisaJohnson, @janbabson, and @HPak to start…
Many thanks to all that I met. The time and money spent during this weekend was worth every second and minute. My mojo is back in full swing, and I have become inspired once again to knit and write. The warmed chocolate chip cookies did not hurt either. 😉 I hope to be discussing in a future Podcamp the topic of niche social networks and how their hierarchy functions – maybe in October at Philadelphia or New Hampshire? Time will tell! Until then, feel free to check out the names I listed above, and the photos that I posted on Flickr with the “pcb4” and “podcamp” tags. =:8