Podcamp Pittsburgh – An Exceptional Local (Free) Resource
|September 19, 2011||Posted by M. P. under Technology||
This past weekend I joined bloggers, podcasters, and social media aficionados of all stripes for Podcamp Pittsburgh 6, an “un-conference” around new and social media featuring content on, well, just about any given topic in any given timeslot. Podcamp doesn’t organize around a yearly theme or otherwise dictate presentation content – an approach that actually encourages a rather unique experience year to year. In just the two Podcamps I have attended there have been sessions with: a representative and a councilman, a recently unmasked secret agent, a career advice blogger, a panel of superheroes and an appearance by a beloved seasonal icon of Pittsburgh.
This year I sat in on sessions about start-ups in Pittsburgh (and why if you are one you are lucky to be here), anonymity in political blogging and commenting, how social media has changed the workings of the Congress, how nonprofits can use social media to motivate people into action and a lively discussion of the realities of search engine optimization (SEO). I was able to finally meet people I only knew by their Twitter account handles and connected with others around the shared interests of nonprofit work, juggling business and personal social media accounts and making major career transitions in a shaky economy.
There is an appealing organic aspect to Podcamp, as impromptu sessions have been known to break out in spare rooms while mini-discussion groups sprout up in nooks throughout the venue. Interaction is encouraged – no Podcamp volunteer will disapprovingly point you toward a session if you decide to continue a fascinating conversation with another camper rather than attend a presentation.
There was a fairly strong nonprofit presence at this year’s Podcamp and I encourage anyone working or volunteering in marketing/communications with social media for a nonprofit organization to consider attending next year’s event. It’s free (or a $25 personal sponsorship), it’s innovative, it’s an excellent resource and it’s in our backyard. Oh, and it is also organized, staffed and run completely by volunteers. A group of dedicated people (none of whom I know personally) with a passion and talent for new media and knowledge-sharing pull together each year to put on a 2-day event that measures up to some of the “professional seminars” I’ve attended.
Executives, employees and supporters of nonprofits in western Pennsylvania – bookmark the Podcamp Pittsburgh site (they will soon post this year’s sessions online) and keep it on your radar for next September. I cannot wait to see what year 7 will bring, and I hope it brings you.