Eric Rice puts his finger on something that bothers me as well. Since 2004 I’ve been to a number of bloggy/podcasty/new media type conferences. I went to Bloggercon 2004, 2 of the 3 ConvergeSouths, 2 of the 3 Podcast/New Media Expos, and Orycon (a science fiction convention at which I also impaneled on blogging.) I might would have gone to PodcasterCon in Raleigh, DragonCons and/or Balticons to be part of their podcasting tracks if circumstances had been slightly difference.
What do all of these things have in common? They are all mostly or completely talking and little or no doing. This is why I have a vision in my head if/when we do something in Myrtle Beach to make the predominant focus on doing. Like Eric says of the Blogs and Dogs conference in Canada, if you came without a blog you left with one and a plan to use it. That’s what I want in Myrtle Beach. We don’t need any more impassioned but useless discussions about whether bloggers are journalists. Asked and answered and answered and answered and irrelevant even if not answered.
However, what I want to do is something more structured than the Podcamp/Foo Camp style. I’d like to be able to give the newbies some idea what to expect before they leave the house rather than being completely loose and self-organized. I’m not sure if it would be better to have a series of breakout rooms devoted to each topic or one ginormous room with a series of areas segregated around topics, ala a comic convention dealers room. Either way, I’d like to have one area devoted for topics like:
- Beginning podcasting, $0 in equipment. Bring your laptop if you got it.
- Beginning podcasting, willing to spend a little in equipment.
- Advanced podcasting – your path to world domination
- Beginning blogging – don’t leave the session without your own blog
- Blogging for politicians, incumbents and candidates alike
- Blogging/podcasting for churches and community organizations
- Beginning social networking
- Advanced topics in social networking – teenager led, ideally
- Publishing your own mini-comics
- How to promote your band online and off
- Making films/videoblogs on no budget
- Editing video on Windows
- Editing video on the Mac
- Editing video on Linux
- Using free animation programs
- Creating and publishing your family oral history online
- Keeping in touch with the grandkids online
Etc, etc, etc. These are the kinds of things I’m thinking about. In every case, I’d like people that attend a session to have the ability to put their hands on something and apply the lessons right there. There should be a few kiosk computers that anyone can use to get things done, and nerds willing to pair up with newbies to walk them through what they need help with. This is where my thoughts are now. Before Thanksgiving I need to start getting the framework together of people to help with the conference, find out about space and generally make a go/no go decision about the whole deal. Fun times!