On February 6, 2010, Ron Yeany, Alfio Raymond and I traveled way out West (Westfield MA, that is) to attend PodCamp WesternMass 2. Ron and Alfio were were attending because of my regular raving about how incredible the first PCWM had been, not quite a year earlier.
It occurs to me that you might not know what a PodCamp is. Well, PodCamps are a type of unconference. But What’s An UnConference? An unconference is a facilitated, participant-driven conference centered around a theme or purpose. PodCamp is NOT just about podcasting, but about all social media/networking, and its relevance and usefulness to community, business and otherwise. This PodCamp was all about blogging, content management systems like WordPress and Drupal, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, podcasting, videocasting/YouTube, and many other online community tools.
What is also is, is a ton of fun!
What happens at PodCamp definitely doesn’t stay at PodCamp, as evidenced here.
So, what did I do? Well, I attended quite a few panels, but the ones I found most useful and memorable were:
This panel, presented by Jeff Cutler (@jeffcutler) and Mike Langford (@mikelangford) of NomX3 (yes, they do care what you had for lunch), was chock a block full of tips and tricks to getting a video podcast up and running.
As is usual for this sort of panel, there was that never gets old reminder that, on the web, content is king. What you have to say almost totally trumps how stylishly you say it. But then, what kind of content will you have? A free-flowing conversation? A fully scripted show? Talking heads? Footage with voice-over? Even if you choose to have the content of a particular episode dictate the format, your show (that’s what it is, a show) should have a home format, to which it always returns.
Well, a show needs an audience. Funny thing about the web. Most content is posted with an “if you post it, they will come” attitude. It’s self expression, it’s a long tail play. But still, it would be nice if someone was watching, and if you knew who was watching. Google Analytics to the rescue. You’ll have more information about your traffic (or lack thereof) than what you’ll know what to do with. There’s another way of looking at audience for your show. Consider having a live audience as you record. It will add a whole new feel and dimension to your show. This is not an option, however, for the terminally shy, unless you use it as a crash course in getting over being shy. As far as being shy goes, well, consider a co-host. Chemistry is good for popularity.
As far as promoting your video podcast, set up a FaceBook fan page for it and cross post between blogs.
This session I had a keen interest in, as I had been involuntarily thrust into the job market almost exactly two months before. I thought I had a pretty good idea how to use LinkedIn, but, Christine Pilch (@christinepilch) exposed me to quite a few tips and tricks.
For example, I already knew that personalizing your profile URL made your profile more easy to find and remember, like so – http://www.linkedin.com/in/marlinmay – but it hadn’t occurred to me to change my picture to one which looked more business-like. Which presents a bit of a quandary. I don’t want to represent myself as like I’m an accountant or banker (in a jacket, shirt & tie), at the same time, I don’t want to look like a flake. I still have to think this out & put my creativity to work. In the mean time, it’s a fairly innocuous and (I hope) generic picture.
You have to remember that it’s called social networking for a reason. Participate in the groups, in particular those associated with your chosen profession, the profession you want to get into, and your areas of expertise / fascination. Ask questions of your fellow group members. If you can, answer at least one question per week.
Use the Events module to announce events you’ll be attending.
By the way, keep your profile updated. Make changes regularly so that it is always near the top of the list of newly updated profiles.
Promoting Your Video Podcast
Steve Garfield (@stevegarfield), he of Get Seen fame, blew me away with his session on promoting your video podcast, not just with the ideas he had for promotion, but the tips he had regarding distribution. For example, I was flabbergasted to learn that I could stream video from my iPhone 3G (Not 3GS, but 3G) using Qik.com. Really! I’ve done it, it really works. I still think it’s really cool.
If you’re going to be streaming your show live, he suggested either Livestream (no hyphen) or Ustream. For distributing pre-recorded video, TubeMogul seems to be the way to go, because of its upload once, view everywhere features. However, he also mentioned that if you upload to Blip.tv, when your video is accessed by an iPhone, it is automatically transcoded for the iPhone. By the way, it seems that Blip is also now offering upload once view everywhere.
http://static.animoto.com/swf/w.swf?w=swf/vp1&e=1268794318&f=R1BqIUpOZXqm1w1Qf2bFZQ&d=31&m=b&r=w&i=m&options=If you need to create a quick slide show, you can use Flickr and Animoto to create cool, free presentations, like this one I made in about 5 minutes using photos taken by my friend Alex Kinnan at Jan Bender and Gary Echternacht’s “Holiday at Hogwart’s” party a couple of years ago.
All in All
Yes, I learned all sorts of techie things at PodCamp WesternMass II. I am now a dedicated unconferencer, and my next will be Barcamp Boston, to be held on the MIT Campus at the wacky Stata Center on April 17 & 18. Truth be to tell, of equal, no, greater value are all of the acquaintances I made at PodCamp. Who? Why these folks. These are all folks good to know, eager to share information with you.
Thank you, Morriss Partee, for an excellent experience.
See you at PodCamp.