My first experience at a Podcamp: Western Mass.

This past Saturday, I attended an all day “unconference” in Westfield, Massachusetts.  I really didn’t know what to expect, and as a matter of fact I Google’d previous events to try and get an angle. The true definition: “A PodCamp is a usually free BarCamp-style community UnConference for new media enthusiasts and professionals including bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, social networkers, and anyone curious about new media. The first PodCamp was held September 8-10, 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts. PodCamps are now being held worldwide.”

Nothing really prepared me really and all the angst I felt was melted away once I met another attendee. Everyone that was there seemed to be so eager to meet everyone else who was in attendance. Once I checked and got some breakfast I met my friend Chris Adams (@CTChrisAdams) and we started discussing the possible sessions that would be held throughout the day.  The sessions are lead by anyone who wants to create a topic of discussion, and anyone in attendance of that session is welcome to weigh in with their thoughts, ideas, and expertise.

I won’t go in about all the different sessions, though there were so many going on each hour it made it hard to decide which to take.  There is a Rule of Two Feet is where if you’re in a session that you’re not getting enough from or would rather switch to another; you’re more than welcome to without an remorse. Most of the sessions were along the lines of social media, PR, podcasting, SEO, and the like.

There was a few minutes of time between sessions, and to see how everyone was swapping business cards and Twitter handles in the hallways was a trip. This was also the first networking meeting I’ve been to where people wrote their Twitter handles on their “my name is” chest stickers.  I thought that was an evolution in networking. We were all mostly techies too. Regardless of industry or trade, from real estate agents to music producers; the smart phones, iPads, and laptops were in full effect.

The day flew by like an hour of recess, and my head was full of new ideas and new conviction for my business. The new connections I made with people I plan to take full advantage of in the coming days and weeks to continue to build relationships. If there’s one thing I’ve learned with networking meetings is that, just trading business cards isn’t enough. Following up and keeping in the front of someone’s mind is what creates opportunities. As for this Podcamp, I can easily say that it was well worth the time and small monetary investment. I encourage everyone to experience this same atmosphere of business, social media, and networking at least once a year.

I’ve put together a few links below of pictures, videos, and information from Podcamp Western Mass for you to see for yourself.

Official Podcamp Western Mass Website

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Some People I met:

@mmpartee – Podcamp Leader

@TerranB – WordPress Guru

@yougottacall – Connection Engine for consumers and businesses.

@CTchrisadams – Online marketing and social media

@PSanchez – Music Producer

@iAM_Alfonso – Creator/Host of @getBusinews

@writerjax – Publicist and more

@BerkshireBeat – Arts and events coverage

@SteveHaase – Creative marketer

@FemmeFoto – Longtime creative photographer

@katiehoke – SEO extraordinaire

@writeloudly – writer, teacher, child advocate

To find more, check out the official Twitter hashtag: #PCWM

** Update**

Later ths year there will be another Podcamp in Connecticut.  Visit these websites to get more details soon:

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