Podcamp Nashville 2009: A First-timer’s Review

Today, I attended Podcamp Nashville being held at the Owen School of Business on the campus of Vanderbilt University.  Dave Delaney (@davedelaney and @griffintech on Twitter) and the Podcamp organizers were responsible for putting it all together.


After seeing a few of my tweets from Podcamp Nashville earlier today, several of my followers on Twitter asked “what is Podcamp exactly.”  The name can certainly be misleading, after all it’s about a lot more than podcasting.  As the site explains, “If you’re interested in blogging, social media, social networking, podcasting, video on the net, if you’re a podsafe musician (or want to be), or just someone curious about new media, then please join us.”

By the way, the first Podcamp was held September 8 –  10 2006 in Boston, and Podcamps are now being held all over the world.  Who knew?

Thanks Mitch!

I have to mention that had it not been for the tweets I received from Mitch Canter (@studionashvegas and @wordpulse on Twitter) earlier this week, I would’ve missed it altogether.


Mitch was one of the presenters this afternoon.  His was titled Podcasting & WordPress.  Mitch knows WordPress as well as anyone.  If you’re looking for great tips and insights into WordPress (particularly WordPress.org), check out Mitch’s Wordpulse blog and podcast.  You can even stream the podcast right on the site.

I really enjoyed Mitch’s presentation.  I’m much less intimidated now about the idea of switching my blog over to the the more robust WordPress.org platform.

Podcamp Nashville 2009: A First-timer’s Review

By far the most beneficial part of the day for me was the networking opportunities I enjoyed.  I met at least three people for the first time that I’d previously known only through Twitter.  There was Mitch (@studionashvegas), his wife Holly (@nashvogue) and Nicholas Young (@nicholaswyoung).

This was the first time I’d ever experienced this Twitter phenomenon.  Kinda cool actually.  Sort of like when I had a profile up at “Love @ AOL” back in the day and went on my first blind date.

School is Back in Session

After the 10am welcome, the first sessions began at 10:30 with three going on simultaneously in half-hour increments until 4pm.  For my taste, the sessions were too short and too many.  In the future, I’d love to see the Podcamp Crew concentrate on fewer sessions, giving presenters more time to really dig into their topics.

Additionally, prior to arriving, I struggled with choosing which sessions to attend.  Often times I had to choose between two equally intriguing-sounding sessions scheduled at the same time.

On top of the three sessions every 30 minutes, there was space given to a fourth for anyone who wanted to sign up to lead one (unconventional to say the least, but I tried to keep an open mind).  I didn’t actually attend any of these “add-on” sessions and never checked the sign-up board for what was being offered so I can’t speak to the quality of those sessions.

Sessions: The Good

I arrived about mid-way through (around noon) and Jared Degnan’s Business Podcasting & Blogging session gave me a good first impression.  One of the best take-aways for me was the suggestion to read Personality Not Included. I’d not heard of this book before today.  Jared could not have endorsed it more convincingly.  I’m looking forward to picking up a copy soon.

I also got a lot out of Dave Delaney’s A Slice of Cake: The Secret to Loyalty, and Why I Love Guinness – An Intro to Social Media.  Dave is an energetic and engaging speaker.

I easily learned the most form Mitch Canter.  His presentation on using WordPress and uploading Podcasts was very practical and helpful.  He easily offered the most take-aways I think.  He also seemed to be well-received by the crowd.  I definitely think they’ll ask him back.

Sessions: The Bad

Podcamp Nashville was free, so I can’t really complain here.  But I was a little disappointed that Bob Marchman’s Font Licensing: A Debriefing was canceled at the last minute.  I’m sure there was good reason.  I just hope Bob is okay.  I was hoping to learn more on this topic in light of a new business venture my wife is working on.

Sessions: The Ugly

Two sessions actually left me with negative impressions.  I have to confess though that in both cases, I gave up on them about 10 minutes in.  Therefore, it’s entirely possible things improved after I left.

The first was titled @#%& it, We’ll Do It Live – LiveCasting.  Three presenters, one microphone.  Late start (not their fault) followed by a lethargic, un-engaging opening.  I left to catch Dave.

Second came Greg Crites’ Joomla – The CMS for the Rest of Us.  10 minutes in Greg hadn’t shown up.  The bright side I guess is I left to discover more of Dave.

Final Verdict

All in all, I’d give my first Podcamp a solid “B.”  For the most part, it was well-organized and the majority of the speakers were engaging and well-prepared.  Many even made themselves available for informal question and answer sessions after their presentations.  All were accessible and more than willing to help in any way.

If you’re interested at all in podcasting, blogging, social media, social networking, video on the net or just curious about new media, make plans now to attend Podcamp Nashville 2010.


11 Responses

  1. Thanks for the kind words, and it was GREAT to finally put a face to the voice.

    I know you’re new to the PodCamp scene, so here’s some small notes you may not have known:

    1) The writing down of sessions for people to just lead the day of (the written down ones) are how podcamp actually started. It started as just a meeting between people who were interested in podcasting. (well, it was a “barcamp, but same premise”)

    2) You left some of the sessions early, and that’s fine. There’s the “law-of-two-feet” that’s an integral part of the PodCamp. If you don’t like a session… just leave!

    I hope you’ll go to some of the other podcamps and other *camps we have in the area. And we’re glad to have had you! 😀

  2. The history does help add some perspective. Thanks Mitch. And true, the sessions are “opt in” (or “out” as the case may be). The problem it presented for me though was because the sessions were so short (about 25 minutes), by the time I determined I wasn’t going to get any value from a certain session (about 10 minutes in), I was left with 15 minutes worth (or less) of one of the other options.

    Having said that, if Podcamp wasn’t free, I never would’ve been able to attend. I was pretty jazzed when I found this out. I really appreciate all that you, the other speakers and the Podcamp Crew put in to making today a success. There was even some Podcamp love on News Channel 5 tonight.

  3. glad you had a good experience.

    podcamp was great, but barcamp is way crazy with a huge spread of topics.

    i like the 25 minute sessions. just give me your very best! i say

  4. Jeff,

    Sorry if we dunked you too deep, or too vigorously! After my first barcamp, I shared lots of these thoughts, predominately that the sessions were too short, and because of the quantity, not every session was spot on. It’s ok, and I’m sure that those presenters communicated to the audience at large, but maybe I just didn’t get their message clearly.

    I think my biggest mistake was coming into an “unconference”, expecting things to be planned to the second, and while such regulations have to be in place sometimes – a *camp event is more about the community gathering to chat, share, learn – and grab a beer afterwards. In other words, I wanted to catch all of the sessions, but couldn’t. It’s a difficult thing to accept, but many of the same presenters will be giving it a go next year, and even if you missed their presentation, go ask. I can assure you – they’ll be happy to clue you in on the details.

    All in all, I’m glad you made it. Putting a face with the name is always a pleasure!

  5. Thanks Nicholas. You reminded me it’s always best to keep an open mind. I’ve attended the Christian music industry’s Gospel Music week a number of years and it’s a much more rigid environment.

    Coming from the very structured world of radio where everything is timed down to the second, I need to learn to be more open to how events like this are structured.

  6. Hey Jeff –

    Thanks for the review.

    Too bad we missed each other in passing. I was able to attend the first part of the day…which, for my money’s worth, was great!

    I did speak to someone who said – it gets a little more scattered during the afternoon – so, that might explain some of the lateness of sessions it sounds like. (don’t know, wasn’t there!)

    A cool thing for me, was being able to continue to participate, and learn, from my computer while I wasn’t there during the afternoon sessions.

    Granted, I only was able to catch the lobby sessions (I was never able to find out if the other sessions were being streamed), but did enjoy that aspect of the experience.

  7. I really wish I would’ve been able to attend for the full day. There certainly were some sessions that sounded intriguing. And my situation didn’t allow me to watch the stream online in the AM. It was great they did that though. I’m sure many who weren’t able to travel got a lot out of being there remotely.

    So, when are you and I gonna launch our own podcast?

  8. Jeff, It was great to finally meet you in person (after only knowing you through twitter). This was my first PodCamp, too. I feel much like you do – the sessions were too short and too many. Mitch and arrived early and by about 2 pm I was on information overload. Good information – but a lot. I’m really looking forward to next year (and BarCamp in the fall).

  9. Great to meet you in person too Holly. I look forward to keeping up with you and your endeavors.

  10. Thanks for the recap post. It was an awesome day all in all. I think everyone did such a great job, I’m still recovering 🙂


  11. Thanks for commenting Dave. I really enjoyed your sessions. Already looking forward to next year.

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