Introduction to user generated events

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I’m giving a presentation at work this week about the events 2.0 stuff I have written about on this blog in the past.  For the most part its a pretty high level introduction and doesn’t really go into much detail (its only a 10 minute slot) but I thought I would reproduce it here.  The presentation is split into 3 sections – (1) introduction to user generated events (2) innovative presentation styles and (3) introduction to the backchannel.  So anyway this is the 1st of 3 posts on the subject – and at some point I’ll embed the full presentation from Slideshare as well.

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The heart of the unconference is the phrase ‘participant driven’.  If one of the key elements of the social web is the idea of user generated content and crowdsourcing then it is this element of the unconference that makes it special (and a little scary for organisers).

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OST in many ways led the way for unconferences as we see them today – the technology reference is a bit of a red herring as its a process rather than a piece of tech but it introduced the concept of the participant driven agenda.

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Foo Camp is hugely important in this movement – not least because it inadvertently created the BarCamp movement but also because it was the first event to create the now seemingly unbreakable bond between the unconference and the social web.

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BarCamps are now well established as the event format of choice for the web community and beyond.  100s take place world wide every year, all abiding by the same founding principles.  The 1st BarCamp was only 4 years ago – at the SocialText offices in Palo Alto – and while this is sometimes disputed it is generally accepted that the movement was co-founded by Tara Hunt (also of Whuffie and coworking fame).  It was inspired as an alternative to the invite only Foo Camp; opening up the same opportunity for a delegate led conference to anyone who was interested.

ignite-prez007Barcamp spawned a whole series of imitators that have less well defined principles but often much more defined topics.  Wordcamps take place world wide and celebrate the use and development of blogging tool (one in Cardiff this summer).  Wordcamp – well certainly the UK version anyway – strays from the Barcamp model somewhat though as the agenda is set in advance via a wiki and in some ways retains more elements of a traditional event.

A summer of conferences..

Looks like conference season is fast approaching for me so I thought I would just quickly run through three events I’m very much looking forward to.  Yep I’m aware that a normal person would be looking forward to music festivals or a decent vacation in the summer not geeky conferences!

The Social Technology Summit in Manchester in May is part of the FutureSonic Festival and has some very interesting speakers and on the face of it at least a programme that isn’t going to get too deep into the technical details nor mention monetization every 2 minutes.  I’m particularly looking forward to listening to Stowe Boyd speak and it’ll be interesting to compare the talk Ewan McIntosh gives with the (great) one he recently gave at the JISC Conference.  An added bonus is that its in Manchester – a city I like but don’t know well so look forward to exploring a little.

In June its the Fuel Conference from Carsonified.  I was sorry to miss this event last year so I’m glad to be attending this year though I am mainly interested in seeing Tara Hunt speak (though the guys from Campaign Monitor and Seedcamp are likely to be interesting as well).  This event is almost certainly going to mention monetization every 2 minutes (if not seconds!) so I imagine I’ll have to dip in and out of the programme.  Carsonified events are always extremely well managed and attended by interesting people so it will be fun despite having to go to London!

wordcampukTo round off my summer I’ll be attending WordCamp in Cardiff in July.  WordCamp is an “informal conferences focussed squarely on everything WordPress. Everyone from casual end users all the way up to core developers..” So as I’m pretty devoted to WordPress as a platform and don’t find the concept of a Saturday night having a beer around Cardiff Bay unappealing I’ll be making the short trip through the Severn tunnel.  Its also worth mentioning that Matt Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress and founder of Automattic, is attending.  I’ve seen Matt speak before and while it was technically ovr my head he was a good speaker with an engaging style. [its also cool that @laurakalbag a UWE student in Bristol oops Bath Spa I follow on Twitter designed the Wordcamp site this year]

There is also a rumor of another Bathcamp at the end of the summer and I’m still mulling over plans to run an event in and around Stokes Croft (though I am avoiding the term BarCamp for that at the moment..)  If nothing else should give me some content for this blog in the coming months but more than that I’m hoping that the events help me freshen up my thinking a little as I’m starting to feel a little stale ideas wise.

WordCamp UK

WordCamp UK – an unconference for users and fans of WordPress – takes place in Birmingham on the 19th and 20th of July.  It looks like it should be a good event with support from Automattic (developers of WordPress) and some pretty innovative UK users of the (more than a) blog software.

After dissapointingly realising that I won’t be able to make the 2gether08 conference this coming week I am going to try my best to make this event – plus at £35 it represents great value and not being in London means I don’t begrudge the travel!

WordPress is an amazing tool and I’m always interested to see how people find new and interesting ways to use it and this seems like a great occasion to do just that (plus I wonder if anyway will have done anything with BuddyPress yet!)

I have to be honest I’m still getting used to the idea of work-ish events over the weekend but with the current flexibility of my working week I guess it doesn’t matter much – that said if I did find myself back in a Mon-Fri, 9-5 type situation again I wonder how willing I would be to give up a weekend to these sorts of events (same for Bathcamp).  Guess I’ll cross that bridge when and if I come to it!