Participation in PodCamp San Antonio 2007
The podcast was represented at this "unconference."
Well, we did represent the Podcast series of Arriba! Folklorico music and dance of Mexico at the first annual Podcamp San Antonio 2007 event last weekend, on 19 May 2007.
Although we could not stay for the entire day (because we were interviewing an individual who would give us a testimonial for another podcast), it was a rather enjoyable event and full of very inquisitive people
The event itself was very well organized -- both from a technical support and from an infrastructure perspective. Not only were the presentations delivered in a live streaming environment (my understanding is that one of the sponsors, Podcast Ready) was helping to provide this for this "unconference."
We also had the opportunity to listen to, and speak with, Gary Leland of the Podcast Pickle. In fact, there was even an appearance of the Pickle mascot itself.
Presentations and photos
During the conference, I (Federico) personally had an opportunity to share with those who attended the session by delivering two presentations:
(1) Experiences in Podcasting -- podcasting for "passion," Corporate podcasting & Podcasting for profit; and
(2) How to avoid burnout and prevent podfading.
At first, I thought that the audience was falling asleep when I was speaking the second time (right after lunch). However, there were a number of people who came up to me afterwards and gave me feedback and comments about how much they enjoyed the discussion and its relevance to them in their podcasts.
I figured that their silence during the presentation was due to reflecting upon the relevance of the topic in their own lives -- that they were recognizing the stages and signals of feeling overwhelmed, losing passion for their topic, seeing events in their lives now step in and conflict with the time they spent in their podcasts, losing control of their day and possibly overcommitting the financial investment in podcasting.
We did our best to share with others our experiences (especially to those who were interested in getting into podcasting). We tried to share information such as resources, where to go for help, references to those who have pioneered the way in podcast activities earlier.
We did have an opportunity to meet with a couple of other podcasters who were members of the Podcast Secrets 2007 course. We know that we will see them in Ontario at the Podcast and New Media Expo from September 28-30.
The organizers of the PodCamp had organized photographers to capture images of the event. Perhaps we shall be visible in the photos captured during the sessions--they will be at the PodCamp San Antonio 2007 website. Also, we shall see what type of feedback is given by the worldwide podcasters who did view the live streaming delivery of the event (we heard during the session that several European visitors were participating with us during the event).
The value of an "unconference" and some suggestions
All in all, this type of "unconference" does have its value in providing help to others and networking with other podcasters in the region. The only feedback we would give to organizers in other regions who want to implement a Podcamp unconference is to allocate more time to those "sharing" or presenting. Suggestion: 20 minutes for a presentation (to deliver the information on the topic and stir up the discussion), followed by an additional 20 minutes for Questions-and-Answers or feedback/discussion. As it was, 15 minutes to deliver a message or share a topic (which was originally planned for 30 minutes) only created the environment of a more structured conference (i.e., a one-to-many presentation) instead of an interactive discussion.
Although our participation was not as much as we would have liked, due to the prior commitments at the end of the day, as well as the distance from Austin, the intent is to return next year on May 17, 2008, and participate more in the second annual PodCamp San Antonio 2008.