Sunday, March 22, 2009

Podcamp Nashville 2009 - #pcn09

by Bayard Saunders

PodCamp is growing up... The challenge was to become less chaotic, perhaps just a little more organized, without losing the original spirit. This PodCamp Nashville 2009 walked that tightrope pretty well.

Some people groused about the level of content (some always will), but nobody threw any beer bottles at any speakers, and there were no fist-fights to see who presented next (I know, call me nostalgic).

Requiring specific mention and thanks and applause - the sponsorship from Yazoo with the fresh beer that left no appreciable hangover - incredible, and everyone should run out and buy a case right after you finish reading this. I'm not kidding, don't wait...

Wonderful meeting people in-person that I had only followed on Twitter. Fascinating to put faces to names. Gave me an idea for a Halloween party: Make masks out of your Twitter or Facebook profile picture or avatar. Shared that with @tronnash at a Centre{source} mixer (you should go next month if you haven't been to one yet).

The presentation by Gavin Richardson on Spirituality and Social Media posed some interesting questions:

- How are new prophets emerging in society? Same as they always have, using the media common to their time - examples of art, music and storytelling through the ages.

- How is the church and its spectrum of users, from early adopters to laggards to luddites, using social media? Poorly, if they are guarding their knowledge like private property, or practicing exclusion or worse yet trying to censor the existing channels of conversation.

- Why is satirical communication (where you must follow the news to get the joke) so popular? Satire is easy, and for Gen-Y and younger, a staple of daily communications.

- Why are the comments on YouTube posted by that community in response to videos relatively (vs. written blogs) more weird and mean-spirited and odd (passionate)? No good answer for this observation/question.

- Can we really talk to an institution on Twitter or friend a building on Facebook? No, the media is just one tool to connect human beings so they can build meaningful relationships

- How do we begin the dialog online? Start listening. Then cultivate whatever media or technology is needed to facilitate communication.

I think Gavin will be more excited than most to see the new digital campaign from the United Methodist Church - stay tuned for the announcement next month!

Also thanks for the reminder about the website "Old Jews Who Tell Jokes" - I'd seen some on YouTube but this is a nice collection... "A woman walks into a store and asks for broccoli..." Look it up.

Listened to a presentation about groups on Twitter from, the company that makes Twitter identities that:
- reposts anything that is Twittered on that account
- invisible to user
- intuitive for novice users
- accessible from anywhere

Mostly meaningless even to Twitter users until you experience it - actually "follow pcnChat" or "follow NashTraffic" or "follow NashPreds" - all will be revealed to you... This is a great way for groups of people to Twitter about a topic on a continuing basis.

Also enjoyed the Ethos3 presentation on Storytelling to Gen-Y. Brilliant observation: Gen-Y'ers are like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - full of distrust and facing a lot of adversity in their lives.

To reach Gen-Y, be like the Jabbawockeez (from America's Best Dance Crew television show):
- well branded - masks, the presentation is your brand
- showmanship - bring your A game, are you credible?, do your homework
- consistency - expect a powerful performance each week
- innovation, not imitation - diverse new ways to approach, not status quo

More tips:
- Use sardonic wit, high-sarcasm like on Family Guy
- Video needs quick cuts, like Bourne Ultimatum (2-second clips)
- Make succinct points and move on, like a Morgan Freeman commercial voiceover
- Cut the fat out of your presentation, like Biggest Loser, 30% the night before
- Help your audience "go elsewhere" or lose themselves in your presentation, like Lost, with the flashbacks and side-stories

There were so many excellent presentations to choose from, I had to just pop my head into some and go on. People have mentioned CC from Firepit Friday was entertaining (see her video on her blog) and also Dave Delaney gave good information. Saw Kate O'Neil run a miniature MIT Forum style, shoot-from-the-hip website analysis session - I wish more developers had the courage to put their work up. Best takeaway: You're never too small for analytics.

Thanks to the PodCamp Nashville 2009 volunteers who were the crew and made the day a success for the Nashville technology, business and podcasting community.

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