3 reasons why you should go to Podcamp Boston

NERD promo Ever since it started a few years ago, I’ve been meaning to go to Podcamp Boston. This year I had two friends successfully convince me that THIS WAS THE YEAR! So I quit making excuses, signed up and went to Podcamp Boston 6. It did not disappoint.

It’s a two-day event, an un-conference if you will, for anyone who groks new and social media — podcasting, blogging, vidblogging — you name it, you’re represented here. There are a number of podcamps in different cities, and the Boston one is at the beautiful Microsoft New England Research and Development (NERD) Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Why should you go to Podcamp Boston?
1) It’s open to everyone.
If you want to learn, if you’ve got a passion, if you want to share and meet with others who do as well, this is the event for you.

Blogging, Retweeting, Facebooking, Gplussing, emailing, oh em gee

So if you’re in the social media space for personal or professional reasons — you run a business on a blog, or you have a podcast about a hobby, or you just love to share what you love online with a community of like-minded folks — you will meet other people who get it. Who get you. Who get your passion, your struggles, your joys and frustrations. They won’t look at you askance when you start geeking out about this cool thing you discovered about your audience through Google Analytics, because honestly, they’ve been there.

I really like that this is not an event targeted at marketing professionals, though for sure there were many of us there. Unlike so many social media conferences, this wasn’t just PR pros and marketers talking in the same business terms — there were lots of people here from every imaginable walk of life who really love and own their niche (professionally or personally or a combination of both). The diversity of the group really enriches the conversation, as everyone can contribute a wealth of applicable knowledge, regardless of what their niche is. I have to say the discussions during each sessions were some of the most intriguing and engaged I’ve ever heard at any conference I’ve been to. People were really there to make the most of it and not just coast through. And when you have a group of nearly 80 people who all want to get the most out of a conference, you know it’s going to be a valuable experience.

2) It features some of the best and brightest that new and social media have to offer.
The presenters at Podcamp are all seriously A-listers. And they’re gathered here, in this really intimate un-conference, and they’re here to give their expertise, their perspective AND hear yours, too.

Chris Penn speaks at #pcb6

I went to sessions by Doug Haslam (@dough) and Chris Penn (@cspenn, pictured above), and they both gave valuable insights AND facilitated wonderful audience discussions, simply because they both made a point to ask us all a lot of questions. This got everyone’s gears turning, so the discussions were really worthwhile. To me it’s the sign of a very knowledgeable and confident presenter when they are aware enough to engage their audience and let the discussion perhaps go down a new and unexpected (but worthwhile!) route.

3) It’s honestly fun.
Amphitheatre stairs for when you really want that moviestar moment
You’re going to meet really smart, really interesting people at Podcamp. People you didn’t think you had anything in common with. People in your industry that you’ve never met face-to-face before. People who are interested in things you’ve never heard of. People who are interested in things you love, too! And you will have great conversations before/after/during sessions, in the line for coffee, on the sofa outside a room, waiting for the bathroom…

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to spend their precious weekend time at a conference (er, unconference) but this one is legitimately fun. OK, so this feels a bit like a summer camp letter-to-mom here, but hey, I made a lot of new friends at Podcamp 6. That alone was worth it for me.

P.S. Secret reason #4 — I love the NERD center and all its funky textures and shapes.
Shapes at NERD

Oh yeah, and the 11th floor? KILLER view of the Boston skyline:
Love that 11th floor view
Jade and the Boston skyline