August 11, 2008

SocialDevCampChicago: The Aftermath

Some people spend their weekends going camping, or fishing; hanging out at the beach, or even sitting at home, watching television and eating extremely unhealthy breakfast foods.

I spent this past Saturday at SocialDevCampChicago, or as I Twittered, "SocialDevBarSoapHoedown."

All kidding aside, it was a one-day "unconference" put on my one of my co-workers, the infamous Andy (Contractor). (It's a long, work-related joke best left at work). But it's a one-day collection of bloggers, social media aficionados, code monkeys - basically, if you're online, it was the place to be. Nestled at the Illinois Institute of Technology, it was a great one-day, somewhat free-form event where many people talked about where were were going...but most importantly, it was just a place for people to talk.

Had the only good thing about the conference been the bagels & coffee from Panera Bread - that would have made it worth it. But what made it worthwhile was not just some of the content (including a great presentation called "Affiliations Ex Machina" about offline and online interactions)...but I got to meet some cool people. People with whom I had twittered. Some really cool Chicago bloggers and podcasters including a wiki and blog about fandom that I have been reading for the past month and a half...and who has convinced me of the power of wikis.

There was, however, one blemish - a gentleman who decided that the conference was all about him...and proceeded to be obnoxious, disruptive, and basically harass presenters he didn't like. (Kind of like me, only more so). It was a shame, but that's one of the great things about events like this...and I know some of you are probably wondering why I'm posting about this and not Final Crisis.

In short, much of blogging/podcasting/other social media is about building communities - as I've said before, I'm a big community development geek. I'm fascinated with the mechanics of how a community comes together, both in the online and offline world. It's easy to get focused on the small details without realizing that, ultimately, whether I agree with someone about Secret Invasion is besides the point - it's about learning, using social media tools in different ways...and most importantly, applying those tools.

Or, as Mark Perry once said, "Here's one chord, here's another, here's a go form a band."

But don't take my word for it - check out the Flickr set. Join the discussion on SlideShare. But most importantly, continue the conversation. Because that's what keeps us going...

We now return you to your normal pop-culture obsessed blog. Thanks for indulging me.


George S. said...

Thanks for making me feel like I lost half my life not going there. :) Kidding.

Here's to community development, though. I've been a site admin for an anime forum for a year and a half and it truly is fascinating to see how online communities they interact with each other and what not. Maybe you can email me some links you might know about how to get the most out of social media tools.

But anyway, nice post!

Anonymous said...

Hey, just wanted to let you know that we're having a fandom BarCamp in March 2009. Details are available at and .