Emma’s guide to great BarCamping

Emma's Guide to Great BarCamping

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I picked this up via a twitter from Nicole Simon and had a quick read while getting ready to go out for a lunch meeting. Emma's at tons of BarCamp including the tiny ones. I'm actually surprised she's not put one on yet.

A couple of comments however. I love step one and that step four cancels it out if needed. Its very frustrating to hear people say, I've got nothing to talk about when your suggesting they fill the board with talks. Sometimes I feel like saying, what the bloody hell are you doing here if your not going to participate. The small group thing is a good idea, or try and go to sessions not run by your friends just because there your friend. Don't get me wrong its nice to support friends but sometimes, they need to get jump in the deepend.

Getting up early (step 3) is painful specially after a conference party the previous day. But Emmas right, from the orgainser's point of view there's nothing worst than people new turning up late who don't know what to do. Us rehular barcampers should also make a effort, to remind orgainsers of certain things they forget.

Step 5 about hijacking or leaving a session is so important and most organisers don't mention it which is a problem. In BarCampBerlin3 I turned up to a session about CSS frameworks and it turned out to be a big plug for a framework the guys was working on. Nothing wrong with that if it was advertised that way but it wasn't and although me and Nicole were the only english speakers and had asked for the session to be in english at the start. We still left because it was putting us (or rather me) to sleep.

Keeping in touch and having no plans is essential. But having fun is so forgotten. Sometimes I look around and think to myself, wow BarCamp is like geek paradise – where else would you want to be? I guess this is why the idea of Geekcamp or Geekholidays is coming back into focus within my mind.

And finally, yes please spend sometime and think about running your own BarCamp. Some people still ask me why I stopped running them in London. Well its because its something I believe other people should experience for themselves. When Ben Metcalfe asked me to be his partner in crime for BarCampLondon1 I wasn't sure what to expect (hell I don't think any of us were) but it worked out really well (some still say it was the best barcamp). But there's new areas and places to try BarCamps in. I'm already getting involved in a possible BarCampManchester2 which might be Backstage funded and a possible BarCampHuddersfield which came about through a discussion with Lisa from Futuresonic. There's also more concerete plans for BarCampNorthEast2 which to date has been the only overnight BarCamp in the north of england! Shame on the north of england… Someone should do something about that. Well if I get either Manchester2 or Huddersfield going, fear not – they will be overnighters….

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.