PodCamp NYC 2 This Weekend

Apr 24th, 2008 | By | Category: Podcasting Events

Podcamp NYC is coming up this weekend, April 25-26, at Brooklyn Polytechnic. Podcamp NYC is an unconference focused on educating participants on how to use, implement and share all kinds of new media tools including, podcasts, videocasts, blogs, Second Life, Facebook, and YouTube.

The conference is free to attend, but you must register in advance.

LD Podcast creator and PodCamp NYC co-organizer Whitney Hoffman talked with me recently about the upcoming event:

Elisabeth McLaury Lewin: How is PodCamp NYC2 different from its first incarnation?

Whitney Hoffman: Podcamp NYC 2.0 is happening over two days this year, at Polytechnic University in Brooklyn. We’re also having a focused track on education, and how new media is affecting education. One of the things I’m most proud of is how the event is really coming together, and how much support we’re getting from the community, both in terms of attendees and in terms of Sponsorships. We’ve got a year’s worth of experience under our belt, making Podcamp NYC a more known quantity, and people are a little more sure of what to expect.

Elisabeth McLaury Lewin: Who should consider coming to PodCamp (is it mostly experienced podcasters, newbies, salespeople, etc?)?

Whitney Hoffman: The best thing about Podcamp is that it is a mash-up. Newbies, educators, whether you are an ed-tech person or not- business, marketing and PR folks, traditional media people and those who’ve been hanging around new and social media for a while will all find something interesting in the sessions.

Both the founders of Podcamp, Chris Brogan and Chris Penn will be presenting, and even Tim Bourquin from the Portable Media Expo will be attending this year. There are sessions ranging from social media strategy, to how-tos, to how to get your message across. There’s inevitably a lot of sessions about the business of podcasting and new media- how to market your podcast, build an audience, to how to deal with metrics.

In the end, it’s the cross section of people and topics that really makes PodCamp special. You don’t often find musicians, artists, hobbyists, teachers, professionals and business people all in the same space and at the same conference, yet it’s this cross-pollination that sparks interest and some great new ideas.

Elisabeth McLaury Lewin: Can people still sign up?

Whitney Hoffman: We have a limited number of spots still available, so while people can sign up until a few days before the event, I’d encourage them to sign up soon, before they go on the wait list.

Elisabeth McLaury Lewin: Do people sign up to present sessions in advance, or on the day of the conference?

Whitney Hoffman: We have people sign up in advance of the conference to present. We have room set aside as a bloghaus and for impromptu sessions, but unlike BarCamp, we do plan a schedule out in advance. This is mainly because we have 785 [people] already signed up to attend the event- logistics of moving this many people around requires a little more advance planning.

We try to put things into general subject tracks, dictated solely by the sessions, so it’s a little easier to find the type of content you might be interested in – ie. marketing and business in one room, education subjects in another.

People are free to attend whatever session they want, and to leave a session and find another if that session isn’t meeting their need. They are free to create their own as well.

Elisabeth McLaury Lewin: What are some of the sessions being offered?

Whitney Hoffman: http://www.podcampnyc.org/page/2/ – this is the best way to get a good look, or at the wiki- I’m working on the schedule right now, so this is subject to change.

Elisabeth McLaury Lewin: What can attendees, um, participants, expect?

Whitney Hoffman: PodCamp is all about participation and asking questions- not talking heads. Sessions are 45 minutes in length, and we give presenters guidelines that they should plan on talking for about 30 minutes and leave the rest of the time for questions and discussion. But many times, the group discussions and panels that are all conversation and interchange can be the most interesting sessions of all.

PodCamp is about connecting with others and forming a community. I have made some truly wonderful friendships that have changed my life through PodCamp. While my podcast is about learning and learning disabilities, I still have many things in common with the video podcasters I know, marketers, PR people …. They each teach me how to challenge what I do and try to do it differently and better every day.

I’ve learned about new tools and ways to connect, and these connections then help me in day to day projects. I’ve gotten jobs through PodCamp, and more people know me through Podcamp than through many other circles. I’ve helped organize five PodCamps to date (with another two in the wings), so you know this means alot to me.

When people come up to me after a Podcamp with a wild look in their eye, saying “This is the most fantastic conference I’ve ever been to…” I know how they feel, because I felt that way after the first PodCamp in Boston, and I joke that “you gotta be careful when you start drinking that Google juice” – short hand for figuring out how to get the most out of what you’re doing online.

Elisabeth McLaury Lewin: What are some of the things that you, personally, are most looking forward to?

Whitney Hoffman: Hopefully I covered that in that last response! I love seeing (now) old friends, making new ones, meeting people in person I know through Twitter or by reputation only and extending that relationship, watching people get so excited by learning, and helping others. I love seeing the event and community come together. Knowing you helped make it all happen is a really powerful experience. I always come out of PodCamp a little tired and overwhelmed by all the information, but also so energized with new ideas, it sustains me for months afterwards.

Elisabeth McLaury Lewin: What else should we know about the event?

Whitney Hoffman: Be sure to check our website at PodCampNYC.org for the most recent updates. We’ll have a guide about PodCamp coming out shortly with all the logistics information anyone could want. I’d just like to also thank all of our sponsors* for helping to make PodCamp happen in NYC and elsewhere. Because PodCamp is becoming so well-known, sponsorship is pretty low cost and a great investment for companies. We’ve had an easy time getting the support we need this year to make the event happen. I really appreciate their vote of confidence.

[Ed. note: Sponsors of PodCamp NYC run the gamut from VitaminWater and ZipCar, to podcast-related companies Blubrry, Podango, BlogTalkRadio, PodcastReady, New Media Expo, and Zune, among others]

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