So what exactly is PodCamp anyway?
If you’re a geek like me, you’re always trying to find out what’s hot and seeking opportunities to network with people that share the same interests as you. If your job involves social media, podcasting, blogging or any other sort of “new media,” PodCamp is something you should definitely check out.
My first PodCamp was last year and it totally changed the way I thought about podcasting, blogging and social media. I learned so much from so many experts and realized that I had a passion that I needed to pursue.
Arriving at PodCamp was a little unnerving at first. I didn’t know a single person who was attending the conference. I did my homework and followed a few of the people that were speaking and tried to get a better idea of what I was getting into. My attempt at preparing myself was pointless though, because the experience I had was absolutely amazing.
There are so many interesting people to hear speak, there are so many great people to meet and there is an extremely deep well of knowledge that you are encouraged to drink from. Bring a bucket, because there is so much to learn.
PodCamps happen all over the world. There are notable ones in Toronto, Montreal, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Boston and a list of other cities across the globe. Fortunate enough for us, there is one right in our own back yard.
So what are 10 reason why you should attend PodCamp?
- Learning more about what’s trending. There is no better place than PodCamp to meet the people in your area that are pioneering the industries of new media. They take a day of their time to offer their thoughts, insights and everything they have learned at no cost to you.
- Meeting new people. They call them social networks for a reason. The whole point of a conference is to network with the people you already know and people you’ve never heard of.
- There is always something that interests you. Unlike most conferences, PodCamps don’t necessarily have a central theme. They are not put on by a single business and they are not held within the bounds of a single topic. Sessions at PodCamp can range from how to use Pinterest to adding video to your website. No matter how you–or your business–use the web, there is surely something there for you.
- You can start your own discussion. That’s right. Whether or not you’re speaking at PodCamp, you can always start your own conversation. Tables are provided with cards to indicate your topic as you invite other attendees to sit down and talk about whatever interests you.
- Social lubricant is abundant. Did I mention they have beer at PodCamp? That’s right, you can throw back a cold one during the sessions to better enjoy the experience. Shy about meeting people? Nothing a lager can’t solve. Don’t drink? Don’t worry, other refreshments are available, and there is no one there to judge.
- You can tweet the whole time. Normally when you attend a conference, people ask you to silence your phones and devote all of your attention to the topic at hand. PodCamp? No way! In fact, most speakers designate a Twitter hashtag to their session just to keep track of what everyone is saying.
- You will learn something you didn’t know. No matter how much of an expert you think you are or how much you think you know about any given topic, it is inevitable that you will take something away from your day at PodCamp.
- You can build your business from attending. I know I talked about the opportunity to meet new people, but above that, you can meet people that can help you grow your business. Not everyone can be an expert at everything and people in new media are always looking for other experts to collaborate and share leads with.
- There’s tons of swag. Free stuff? Giveaways? Yes. It’s here, too. Plenty of companies help recover the cost of executing PodCamp each year and in return, they like to remind attendees of their business by giving away promotional items bearing their insignia. Yes, you two, might score a nifty thumb drive, coffee travel mug or t-shirt.
- Did I mention its free? I challenge you to find another new media conference as enriching, entertaining and fun as PodCamp that doesn’t charge you a dime to walk through the door.
There you go, ten reasons why you should attend PodCamp this year. Still not convinced? Check out the video below that I made based on my interactions with people at last year’s PodCamp. Oh, and one more thing, be sure to check out my session, “Google +: Ghost Town or Game Changer?” at PodCamp this year. If you’re interested in learning more about Google’s social platform, it’s a session you won’t want to miss.