DISCLAIMER: This is a reprint of a guest post I wrote for the Philly Creative Guide.
Philly has become the unofficial “Camp Town” From BarCamp to TrendCamp, HigherEd Camp to HealthCamp, Philly has been drawing the best and the brightest in many different fields all sharing and exploring the newest and current trends, information, apps, and discussions. Whether it is looking forward at TrendCamp or looking at the now at NewsInnovation Camp, the wellspring of unconference format events in Philadelphia (21+ in the last 3.5 years – a full list is below) is a testament to the vitality and growth of the creative and technology communities in the City of Brotherly Love.
For the as yet uninitiated, an unconference is a facilitated, participant-driven conference centered around a theme or purpose. The format consists of multiple sessions of attendee generated content. The participants are the speakers, discussion leaders and sharers of information. (see barcamp.org for more details)
The central message in the tremendous growth of all of these unconferences is that the community wants to come together. They want to share. They want to learn from each other. Which brings us to the question – who gets to decide what gets shared, how it gets shared? What is the etiquette? And most importantly, how do we as a community get the most of out of these gatherings. A few tips gathered from participants at the recent BarCamp Philly gives us some insight on how to maximize the experience as individuals and as a community.
- Be open-minded – Realize that not everyone is going to like the same things, but that sometimes we learn best from those who have different viewpoints and experiences.
- Don’t hog the stage – Don’t do the same presentation at the same events over and over. Rather than present, lead a discussion and let everyone learn from each other. Better yet, encourage someone new to the community who is knowledgeable on the same topic to present. Give someone else a chance to share their expertise.
- Get outside your comfort/knowledge zone – Attend a session or camp on a topic you know nothing about. Expand your knowledge and grow your circle of connections.
- Get involved – Present, lead a discussion, volunteer, ask questions, be a sponsor.
- Get others involved – Be a community builder by encouraging others to get involved. One of the greatest things about the camp experience is meeting and learning from new people.
- Exercise the rule of two feet – Not getting what you were hoping for out of a session? Don’t sit and heckle, quietly leave and find one more to your liking.
- Relax – the day is not about selling anyone anything and it is not about cramming as much knowledge and networking as you possibly can in to a single day. It is about opening ourselves and our minds to possibilities, insights, information, and people.
- Remember the Golden Rule – Do onto others and you would like them to do onto you. Be polite, courteous and respectful to the session leaders and other participants.
- Make it about the Community – Show support for other groups in the community by attending and helping spread word about a camp you might not normally go to.
What would your tips be?
Alphabetical Listing of Philadelphia area Camps (If any are missing from this list, please feel free to let us know)