PodCamp Boston 4; Aging Gracefully
As one of many folks who have attended all four Boston PodCamps going back to 2006, it has been interesting to see this event grow- maybe mature is a better word.* From the excitement of a new group of people forming around new media and ideas, to the explosion of Year 2, to a more focused production in Year 3, to a recession-dodging (and yes, more mature) Year 4, I have not grown tired of the event, the concepts or the people. Surely that’s a danger in any long-time involvement, isn’t it?
(* How about this? After I drafted this, Amanda MacArthur came up with an excellent post with the same type of theme: “Social Media Grows Up”)
This year, I decided not to present. Perhaps in retrospect I could have grabbed a session or started an impromptu session as several others did. In the middle, I wondered if I was slipping myself in between the two groups who were clearly getting the most out of PodCamp: the new attendees who were soaking up everything (those people will always be there- every year- and are the heartbeat of PodCamp), and the fellow “old-timers” with more draw than I have, who were leading focused, passionate and entertaining sessions. Perhaps I suffered from the “what will I talk about/what will I learn” dilemma that I had overcome in the past.
Another factor this year was my interrupted Saturday. I was committed to taking my son to Fenway for the “Futures” minor league games, though that did turn into a miniature “PodCamp Boston West” with friends and social media fixtures Adam Cohen and fellow PodCamper Jeff Cutler also in attendance (plus, it was a blast).
So what did I see and notice this year? As it turns out, several things:
- A torch has passed; Michelle Wolverton (see her PodCamp blog post here) took over from PodCamp co-founder Christopher Penn (who had a great post-PodCamp article, “Arguing Against Your Limitations“) as lead organizer and did a fantastic job, from running a smooth-as-can-be event to a planning phase that never took on an air of “will we get it done? panic (despite at least one “organizer” – me- not pulling his weight in this pre-event phase).
- As mentioned above, there was great new blood and still a lot of out-of-towners. Helping out at the registration desk, I was sure to meet many of the attendees at least once. I finally got to meet fellow Tewksbury native Ron Ploof, and Montreal’s own Adele McAlear, and longtime (but never met) friend Lynette Young, while getting to see more of folks like Chris Abraham and Kathryn Jones. That’s only a few of the many new people who made impressions on me, and no doubt will continue to, not to mention a number of old favorites, who don’t need to be told here how much I think of them (or at least will forgive me, eventually, for saving the space).
- One of my true regrets is not being around for the impromptu session on gender, and the excitement it seemed to create, as i took place while I was at the ballpark. See Rakiesha Chase’s blog post on the topic for a flavor of what went down there.
- I did have an irrational fear that sessions would seem repetitive to me after four years. For one thing, that’s not a bad thing, as some concepts never die and need to be re-visited as more people become interested and these new people bring fresh perspectives. For another, fresh concepts never cease- I saw a lot of interest in measurement, a topic that will not get tired for a long time. I also finally stopped constantly using the “law of two feet” and actually sat still for Renee Hopkins’ great session on social media in the B2B world, which really made me think about how we can continue to get some great innovators to embrace new communication tools further.
So, congratulations to Michelle and the rest of the organizers for another well-run event. There are a ton of PodCamps coming up shortly– perhaps there is one in your area?
*Gosh, I almost forgot– I was determined to get the high score at the pre-PodCamp bowling event, and after getting soundly thrashed for two games by Skip Bensley, I managed to do it with a personal best 219.