I just realized that its already mid-week and I still haven’t written about my trip to the PodCamp Social Media “un”confernece in Boston. For those unaware, an unconference is essentially a conference for which the content and presentation topics are organized by the participants using a collaborative wiki (i.e. easily editable website). Think of it as a true democratization of the traditional conference model where speakers have to submit proposals and be chosen by a panel.
Did I mention that unconferences are free?
Those of you that have ever paid $650 to register for a regular conference where the speakers blab about their own company (or about an irrelevant topic) would really appreciate this. If you think quality takes a hit, think again. The calibre of presenters was outstanding. Many of them normally charge thousands of dollars to do the exact same presentations as keynotes (and rightly so! well worth it!). Out of the over 1200 registered participants and 50 speakers, a significant number were well know international Social Media or Marketing gurus, including the likes of CC Chapman, David Meerman Scott, Mitch Joel, Christopher Penn and a whole slew of others.
I thought you might want to have a look at the following PodCamp links as prime examples of how to build true conference â€˜interactivityâ€™ before, during, and after your own event. Simple, to the point, and consistently branded throughout various social media tools.
- http://www.PodCampBoston.org/blog – official blog
- http://www.PodCampBoston.org/wiki – this wiki page
- http://www.PodCampBoston.org/twitter – group twitter
- http://www.PodCampBoston.org/backchannel – live chat
- http://www.PodCampBoston.org/guide – PDF guide (also works for /sessions and /schedule)
- http://www.PodCampBoston.org/party – for last minute registrations for the Saturday night social
Be sure to download the PDF guide to the conference and take a look at how simple the layout is, yet extremely informative. I was amazed at how flawless this â€œunâ€ conference was in general (including the calibre of speakers/presenters) considering it was free and organized by us, the participants.
If you organize any sort of events or conference (regardless of the topic) this sort of model is definitely something to look out for on your radar in terms of your future competition and your own business model development for that matter. Unconferences are growing at a tremendous rate right now worldwide in various industries…don’t ignore them just because they are free!
For those that missed it, speaker presentations have all been recorded (both audio and video) and will be available free of charge on the PodCamp wiki in the next week. If you can’t wait that long, you can go to Blog TV and watch the numerous videos taken LIVE by conference participants (type “podcamp” as the keyword).