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Podcamp Montreal 2008 – Debrief

Those of you that have been reading this blog for a while now, know just how much of an avid supporter I am of the unconference movement. This week I was once again blown away by the quality of yet another PodCamp, this time in Montreal (Podcamp Montreal 2008). While I’m not a big fan of the name for numerous reasons (often alienates non-geeks among other things), I am inspired by the passion of speakers and quality of content each and every time I attend.

I’m going to attempt something a tad different with this post by not summarizing this year’s speeches. Instead I will provide you with a condensed list of my top takeaways, thoughts and/or notes from each presentation I attended over the last two days. Please note that more take-aways do not necessarily signify better content (and vice-versa). I benefited in one way or another from each and every presentation.

Please don’t suck! – Sylvain Grand’Maison

  • Be a storyteller when you present. Even boring stories can be made exciting!
  • The aggregate online persona of a person can often be richer than a face-to-face meeting.
The new music – Mitch Joel and David Usher
  • Vinyl sales are up for the first time in decades!
  • New mobile ring tone service providers play selected tracks in the background as you speak.
  • iTunes has officially started to outsell Walmart in terms of music
  • Cd’s are done…seriously, D-O-N-E.
  • Motley Crue songs have been selling through Xbox more than iTunes
  • Ratio of illegal to legal music is 40:1 !!!
  • The key to making something viral is emotion (ooh, ahh, hmm, ouch, hahah)
  • Need to make content that is valuable, personal, authentic, exciting, surprising, delightful
  • To build community you need to build on that emotion
  • Create ripples…social media marketing can be slow process…need to gain trust.
  • Tactical tips: Bring it inside, Make it a pilot program, Extend it appropriately
  • Start with a home base, don’t rely entirely on a 3rd party app as your home.
  • David Usher’s website uses photos generated entirely by his community (fed via rss)
  • Great sites to check out and
  • Yahoo Widgets allows you to create your own widgets quickly and for free.
Podcasting is dead – Rob Blatt
  • This session essentially turned into a debate about  nomenclature
  • Podcasting can be an adjective or a noun –> A true podcast is both in my opinion.
  • Just because someone claims to have a Podcast doesn’t mean they are actually “podcasting”
  • Site to check out:
  • My key take-away: Podcasting is alive and will only get bigger.
Creating a Podcast : Community Divas Live! – Eden Spodek and Connie Crosby
  • It’s very important to leverage the existing community and always keep learning about podcasting once you start podcasting yourself.
  • Friendfeed allows you to create special community rooms
  • A Facebook Group shows the group creator, while a Facebook Page does not.
Using Twitter to build and monitor your personal brand – Adele McAlear
  • Create a background image in Twitter that has your contact info
  • Use Twurl to shorten, monitor and track clickthroughs of your URL’s
  • Check out for stats
  • Get 3rd party apps by going to
  • A great tool to filter your followers is Twitter Karma
  • If you have multiple people responding under a single Twitter profile, make it clear on your main page!
  • Use hashtags only at the end of your tweets
  • Twitter has a sleep function if you need to silence someone for a few days without deleting them
  • Check out
  • Check out (another URL shortener)
  • Use Twitscoop for some added functionality apparently not included in Tweetdeck
Media past, present & future – Jay Moonah
  • Go to right now and help educate the public about proper search engine use.
  • 3 main sacrifices that are mutually exclusive: time, quality, money.
  • People will always like serendipity…
  • My own side note–>Personally, I would go so far as to argue that the vast majority don’t want choice! They like information clearly simplified and analyzed for them by experts. Hence why CNN, BBC, CBC – The National are so successful. We shouldn’t be frustrated that more people aren’t social media savvy like us, we should use it to personal our advantage or better yet, to change the world!
De l’utilisation des bons outils en baladodiffusion – Michel Dumais
  • Sound recording, mixing and playback devices have gone wayyyy down in price.
  • We can sound like a professional studio for under $200.
  • There is plenty of choice out there, depending of course on your budget and needs
LibriVox, the richness of audio – Hugh McGuire
Podcasting from the heart – Mitch Joel & CC Chapman
  • Train yourself to stop saying “umm” and “ah”…it can be done.
  • When an interviewee stops responding, keep quiet….what they say next is best.
  • Use “levelator” to level the sound audio on your podcasts
  • M-audio track recorders can cost less than $200
  • User-generated content started with cave wall drawings.
  • is a new microblogging alternative to Twitter
  • Use to take notes. It let’s you clip things.
The game of trust – Julien Smith
  • Excellent discussion on effectively using social media to build trust, without abusing it.
  • New book in the works by Julien Smith and Chris Brogan: Trust Agents
Social Media & Government…- Me (Mike Kujawski)
  • My main take away from my own presentation (based on the discussion) was that the government needs to get out of silos and start working together as one entity. There is a ton of existing internal support for better citizen engagement and there are high-level public service renewal initiatives currently underway that social media engagement can easily piggy back on.  I have decided to organize something in Ottawa to address this. Stay tuned…

I should point out that as is often the case, some of the best PodCamp discussions occurred in the lobby. While I didn’t get a chance to have lengthy discussions with everyone in person, the few discussions that I did have were extremely valuable (you know who you are). So that about wraps it up.  Be sure to go to the PodCamp Montreal website, where you can watch some of the presentations that were recorded live on video! Thanks again to all the organizers!

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  1. Thanks so much for a great summary, Mike! One small correction: under your notes for Community Divas re: Facebook, it is the other way around. For Facebook groups you can see who the individual administrators are. For Facebook pages the administrator is more anonymous. It is confusing and I didn’t help matters by getting them mixed up in the presentation. 🙂

    If you are interested, I have posted slides from our session on our blog:


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