Podcamp Halifax is a free to attend “unconference” for all things social media. What makes it an unconference? The attendees are the presenters and audience participation is encouraged, well that’s the premise at least. While much of it is geared towards businesses and organizations and how they can best utilize social media for marketing, there were many attendees, like myself, there out of personal interest.
The first session I attended was Andrew Konoff's “How to Build an Enormously Popular and Successful Blog”. This was the session of most interest to me and Andrew did not disappoint. A great speaker, he presented a formula for success. I felt he stayed most true to the spirit of the unconference of all the sessions I attended, lots of great interaction.Next I went to hear Ross Simmonds and “The Recipe for Social Media Success”. Ross’s presentation was fast paced and fun, full of great statistics and information on ways to utilize various social media to increase sales and leads. So much packed into 45 minutes that there was no time for questions before I had to head on to the next session.
My third session choice for the morning was “Adventures in Pinterest: A Halifax Story”, presented by Andrea Young and Brigid McWhirter of Destination Halifax. Being a big fan of Halifax staycations and new to Pinterest, I found it cool to hear how these ladies went from Pintrest newbies to running a successful contest on this. Lots of great advice on what pitfalls to avoid and how thinking ahead is important when using this medium.Suddenly it was time for lunch and a bit of networking. Picked up my nutritious and tasty bag lunch and chatted between bites. I finally re-connected with Lynette of My Wee View. She was carrying the youngest Podcamp participant, her five week old daughter, she of the voracious appetite, surprising for such a tiny little thing. We discovered we only had one degree of separation as she had met my cousin in Toronto long before she and I met in Halifax, a small, small world indeed.
And then it was time for the next and what I felt was the most revealing of the sessions “5th Annual State of Social Media in Atlantic Canada” with Giles Crouch of Badger Media. Wow, some great stats for those who wonder just how much of an effect social media has on just about everything. Surprising and yet not surprising, that most men prefer pictures & video over text when it comes to social media.,that that 19% of pics uploaded to social media is of food and what shouldn’t be new to any of us, there is no privacy on the internet.There were two more session to finish off the afternoon but suddenly I found myself exhausted and with a severe case of information overload. So off home I went, head spinning with formulas and facts, new names and faces.
Being my first time attending, I have nothing to which I can compare the event. I’m sure it’s an evolving thing and I suppose if I have any suggestions for future events it might bethe following: cut the number of sessions to five, give more time per session so there’s more time for questions. Decrease the time for lunch and give the extra time between sessions for networking. Have a session run more than once during the day, there were a couple running concurrently I wanted to see and had a hard time making a choice. Avoid using the smaller rooms, gets like an oven in there. For the presenters, I know you have lots of good info but please leave time for questions & interaction. I also liked that Andrew Konoff had his presentation available online, maybe others could do something similar in future.Overall I consider my time at Podcamp well spent and look forward to next year’s unconference. Maybe we could have a session on macaroni crafts next year!