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.

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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.

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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.

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