I attended BarCamp Jonesboro this past Saturday. I wasn’t sure what to expect – only that I expected to listen to, and hopefully learn from, others using the same tools I do. About 135 people attended from different companies around the state, with one major discipline among us – we’re all getting into, and using, and developing social media.
The presentations were good, but I think I learned more just listening to others talk about the new media tools I was not aware of. (I have written down numerous website and software names to check out this week.) Social media, and the associated tools, are moving so fast that it’s difficult to know about everything going on.
This morning, I’m reading about the frustration among BarCamp organizers that local media, despite personal connections and requests from those organizers, failed to show up at the event, or even report on it. I echo their frustration, but at the same time, find it amusing having worked promoting the news business for so many years and seeing their reluctance to use new, cutting edge tools. It’s this attitude that have put so many of the news outlets behind the times, resulting in only a fraction of the revenues they used to see. (there’s a real opportunity to seize the day here.)
The fact that only about 135 people attended BarCamp Jonesboro, (considerably less than other industry conferences I’ve attended in previous years) and yet companies like Adobe donate a complete CS5 suite (worth about $4k) to giveaway to the group, tells me that the future lies within the group of those learning and using the social media structures and tools of today and tomorrow. A couple of presenters pointed out that weekly, informal meetings amongst their peers (with or without much of an agenda) are so crucial just to keep up with the latest softwares and gadgets. By the time “old school” media catches up, (if they do,) the ones who understand, use and develop social media networks will be the ones defining the future of the distribution of information.
There’s other BarCamp events in the region this fall. (Memphis in November?) The cost to attend one of these events? A fraction of what you would pay for any other industry conference. Sure, they are somewhat loosely organized when it comes to content (the group calls it an “unconference” where the group decides the specific topics of discussion), but don’t think that means it’s not worthwhile. I would recommend that anyone attend one of these events. Just go and sit and listen. Even if you are already using social media tools, whether personally or for your business, you’ll discover a whole world of tools and ideas you didn’t even know were out there.
For more about this past Saturday’s event, check out Abbi Siler’s wrap up on her blog:
Also, go to the BarCamp Jonesboro website: