Go Ahead, Attack Each Other Online (from PodCamp Boston)

Podcamp Boston 6 is in the can- I can’t believe there have been 6 (the first occurring on the fall of 2006). As someone involved in each of these PodCamps in some form (I’m going to be like one of those old guys who has been to every SuperBowl) I have been fascinated watching the event mature from “Hey, let’s put on a (really big, with lots of people travelling to get here) show!” to a more consistent gathering of people who want to learn and converse about social media.

For my part, I decided to lead a session this year, “Culture Clash of Personal & Professional Brands, and Why It’s Necessary.” What I meant by that terribly convoluted title was that the public questioning and criticism among members of the social media community is a good thing, and discussed some of the things I make such back-and-forth valuable, such as the addition of constructive arguments coupled with the lack of intimidation against questioning someone who is popular, vs those things that aren’t, such as out and out trolling, the unexplained “Great Post!” comments, and ultra-defensiveness by those being “attacked” (and since one of my tenets is it’s ok to name names, tag Chris Brogan, you’re it).

What was awesome, is that at least one person came to the session thinking it would be more about mixing your personal and professional life online, said, so, and helped start a good discussion on that topic. Somehow, that tied in the spirit of my original topic. Bravo!

I don’t necessarily follow my own advice to the letter, but I lean toward all of us having frank and open discussions about what’s good and bad in what we are doing in our profession. So next time you see a practice or idea, say so publicly– same if you really like something. Just bring something to the table.

Now if we could only get social media d*****bags to stop posting photos of themselves speaking on their blogs. That is such obnoxious egotism. Look at that self-satisfied grin. Have at it in comments if you like.

@DougH at #PCB6

(photo by Wayne Kurtzman on Flickr)



Social Media Top 5: 140 Characters, PodCamp, New Twitter and Stupid Fight

Facebook Down?

This is a first to me- a Facebook service disruption on September 22. Just a reminder to have other ways of connecting at the ready if you are relying on a service- even Facebook- that you don’t own. That goes for people and businesses. What’s your backup plan?

140conf Boston 2010

140 Characters Conference Founder Jeff Pulver (photo by Wayne Kurtzman)

140 Characters Conference, Boston

As I mentioned in my last post, I spoke at the 140 Characters Conference in Boston on September 14. My topic? Finding your voice, in which I lay out several Twitter voice archetypes, and underscore the need to know who you are, be consistent, and be mindful of context. I have a more detailed post at Voce Nation.

Joselin Mane of BostonTweetup posted some nice backstage videos (including many produced by 140conf’s Alan Weinkrantz) at this link.

Also, a great set of photos from Wayne Kurtzman here.

PodCamp Boston 5

It snuck up pn me a bit, but this coming weekend, PodCamp Boston 5 takes place! I still have fond memories of previous PodCamps worth sharing:

PodCamp Boston 1 (2006) (This one especially was  trip for me to read again)

PodCamp Boston 2 (2007)

PodCamp Boston 3 (2008)

PodCamp Boston 4 (2009)

New Twitter- Good, but Lacking, a Little

So, New Twitter is slowly rolling out to Twitter’s users. Is this a gambit to keep people using the site so they can maximize ad revenue? Why not? I love the in-line media (photos and videos right on the page). It makes for a much more complete experience without having to click away. Why, however, does the New Twitter not parse Bit.ly links? That could be in the works, but I haven’t heard anything. Also, I still go back to the desktop client (I use Seesmic), to get the multiple-column view, which the “New Twitter still lacks.

Stupid Fight

My favorite new not-terribly-useful-but-fun tool is “Stupid fight, developed by Tom Scott. It compares the relative intelligence of the follower Tweets of two indicated accounts. I immediately compared my Twitter feed to that of my friend and Ford Motor Company social media lead Scott Monty, and was horrified to find that my Twitter followers are dumber than a bunch of Mustang-driving wahoos:

But wait! A day later, My stupid followers fled for the hills (probably following a flurry of angry but intellectually stimulating Tweets from the latest execrable Red Sox game), and now look. Take that, Ford Motor Company!

PodCamp Boston 4; Aging Gracefully

UDATE: Kara Brickman has a great summary of linkjs to PodCamp Boston 4 blog posts, photos and sessions,at http://karabrickman.com/2009/08/invasion-of-the-pod-tweeple/

Podcamp Boston 4 - Day 2

Photo by CC Chapman

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).

Futures at Fenway Game 2009

Site of Impromptu PodCamp Session on Twitter and Professional Sporting Events

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).

    PodCamp Boston 4

    Chel Pixie Gettin' it Done

  • 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.
PodCamp Boston 4

Renee, Speechin' & Preachin'

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.
Bowling- high score!