PodCamp Nashville 2009 Wrap Up

I and about 400 oth­er folks attend­ed Pod­Camp Nashville this past Sat­ur­day. Per­haps the idea of a free, vol­un­teer run con­fer­ence kind of gave me some low expec­ta­tions (I’d nev­er been to a bar-style, un-con­fer­ence before). But it was with­out need as the con­fer­ence was time well spent. 

I attend­ed sev­en dif­fer­ent ses­sions dur­ing the day:

  • “From Prep to Post: The Pod­Cast­ing Process” by Justin Davis (of the Davis on Draft pod­cast, pro­duced here in love­ly Franklin, TN). — This was a very well received pre­sen­ta­tion on the basic process of cre­at­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing a pod­cast. Justin did an excel­lent job of describ­ing good pod­cast prac­tices and demon­strat­ing the very low bar­ri­er to entry for cre­at­ing a show of one’s own: From using inex­pen­sive hard­ware, to open-source edit­ing tools like Audac­i­ty, to free host­ing & feed tools like Feed­Burn­er. This was gen­er­al­ly a very high-lev­el view of the process, with a few prac­ti­cal tips thrown in to demon­strate just how sim­ple this can be to get started. 

  • “Twit­ter Groups: The Real Con­ver­sa­tion” by Paul Nichol­son — This was real­ly the back­ground for and demo of a tech­nol­o­gy – ReTweet­Bot – for group­ing relat­ed tweets to build more prac­ti­cal­i­ty into Twit­ter. Def­i­nite­ly some­thing Twit­ter needs and this is a pret­ty good solu­tion, though still not per­fect (or very test­ed). How­ev­er, the @pcnChat group seemed to work well through­out the day. Indeed, it seems to work bet­ter than tag­ging (which is not the same as group­ing, regard­less of the site). 
  • Build­ing Online Com­mu­ni­ties” by John Mor­gan — John pre­sent­ed excel­lent tips on how to begin and grow rela­tion­ships with customers/clients/users. As some­one who is try­ing to build up a com­mu­ni­ty for Struc­tur­al Engi­neers online, there was a lot of invalu­able advice here. One of the biggest take-aways I have from this ses­sion is that I need to ask my com­mu­ni­ty what they want from me1 Lots of great ideas to be put into prac­tice over at the BE Com­mu­ni­ties site. 
  • “Buis­ness Pod­Cast­ing & Blog­ging: There IS a Secret Sauce” by Jer­ad Deg­nan — Anoth­er great pre­sen­ta­tion for min­ing ideas to put into prac­tice over at BE Com­mu­ni­ties. My favorite: get peo­ple to answer the ques­tion “What makes you suc­cess­ful?” Peo­ple love answer­ing that and they also love hear­ing what oth­ers have to say in response. 
  • “Slice of the Cake: The Secret to Pod­Cast Lis­ten­er Loy­al­ty” by Dave Delaney — Dave and his wife ran a very suc­cess­ful pod­cast on par­ent­ing and he shared some ideas on how to part­ner with relat­ed goods and ser­vices to gen­er­ate con­tests, etc. The most impor­tant parts seemed to be choos­ing some­thing that would have rel­e­vance to the audi­ence and to keep the process sim­ple. It was also fun to see he had part­nered with Rock­abye Baby music, some­thing we’re big fans of here at the Franklin Branch Office. 
  • Word­Press & Pod­Cast­ing: Like Dig­i­tal PB & J” by Mitch Can­ter — This pre­sen­ta­tion would have been best placed imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing Justin’s ses­sion on how to cre­ate Pod­Casts. One of Justin’s strong rec­om­men­da­tions was to have a web­site for your pod­cast and Mitch’s pre­sen­ta­tion was on how to do just that. This was done at a more on-the-ground lev­el and Mitch real­ly walked the audi­ence through the process of set­ting up a Word­Press blog (using a full WP install and not WordPress.com — some­thing I very glad he spent time dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing). He also hit on how to make the most out of WP plug-ins geared specif­i­cal­ly for host­ing pod­cast con­tent. My only com­plaint was that some com­plex con­cepts (like plug-ins) could have used a bit more expand­ing and much time was spent on walk­ing through a WP install. How­ev­er, giv­en the wide audi­ence that he pre­sent­ed to in 20 min­utes, Mitch man­aged to cov­er a lot. I was very glad to see WP get­ting a lit­tle love at this Pod­Camp and hope to see even more next year2.
  • “Why I Love Guin­ness: A Intro­duc­tion to Social Net­works” by Dave Delaney — Hav­ing lived in Gal­way, Ire­land, Dave is a big fan of pubs and stouts. Here, he makes com­par­isons of old-world pubs to some of the most pop­u­lar social net­works. He also includes some rather amaz­ing stats on the rapid growth of these sites. I do wish he’d spent a bit more time of some of the dif­fer­ent types of users and how to engage them, but it was also an intro session. 
  • Unfor­tu­nate­ly, due to a lot of small things going on, I was­n’t able to help out but I would cer­tain­ly like to vol­un­teer some for next year. I’d even like to present on screen­cast­ing, as that was no where rep­re­sent­ed though I do think it is a pop­u­lar form of online video. Fur­ther, I’m gen­er­al­ly excit­ed to see such a large tech com­mu­ni­ty here in the Nashville area. This means not only Pod­Camps, but Bar­Camps (this past year was the third Bar­Camp Nashville). Maybe even a Word­Camp, as Word­Press seemed to be a pop­u­lar subject.

    Hey! Maybe I should try and find a Mad­Cap users group here in Cen­tral Ten­nessee. Or even start one if it does­n’t yet exist! The pos­si­bil­i­ties are wide open and that was the best thing about this past week­end: learn­ing that there are so many peo­ple right here around me who are inter­est­ed in and even cre­at­ing new media. Peo­ple who have a lot of the same geeky inter­ests as me.

    1. Sor­ry, that does­n’t apply to this site. Here, it’s just what­ev­er I feel like post­ing. []
    2. Or if Mitch decides to get a Word­Camp going here in Nashville, that’d be even bet­ter []