Friday, January 13, 2006

Why Am I Going to BarCamp NYC?

So I'll be heading up to BarCamp NYC this weekend. (I'm running significantly behind schedule right now.)

It's an open forum for learning, discussions and demos around a whole host of technology and integration issues.

I'm going in a semi-official capacity, which is why I'm blogging this in my personal blog, not my work blog. It's semi-official because the company isn't paying for anything, but I did take some stuff from the swag closet. Also, I will be reporting back with my admittedly non-expert view of the technologies and concepts being presented.

Now, I am one of the least-technical people I know who works in the technology field. I'm basicially a writer. I'm not a geek; I'm just geeky.

I mean, I work primarily in basic HTML. I can muddle around in templates, which explains why this blog is powered by Blogger, which is pretty much plug and play (though I'll get over to WordPress Real Soon Now, I promise). When I hear "Ajax" I think cleanser, and when I hear "Web 2.0", I can only assume it's twice as good as Web 1.0.

So why am I going?

Well, for starters, I want to learn. I'm of the type of person who always learns just enough to get into trouble. I can't necessarily create my own stuff, but I can usually figure out how to modify existing things. Or, failing that, I usually know the right people to ask questions to. Occasionally, they're the right questions to the right people.

A central part of the ethos of BarCamp is participation: Everyone has to do a presentation, or help out with one.

This gave me a little trouble. I don't think talking about LED flashlights or kickball would be very useful. I can regurgitate the conventional wisdom and platitudes around social media as good as anyone else ("Blogs are conversations!"), though that seems pretty useless.

I could help out with someone else's presentation (provided all you need someone to click the mouse on cue), I guess, but that seemed like cheating. As a last resort, I could help move stuff, but I'm not really the best person to lift heavy things.

So, my primary defining attribute is the fact that I'm not very technical. How do I bust out the aikido-like moves and best turn that weakness into a strength?

The answer I came up with is to provide a non-technical perspective to the technology.

While I'm not very technical, I am pretty good at synthesizing information, and explaining it to folks who are even less technical than me (in the process, hopefully distilling it down to concepts that are useful and understandable to anyone. Even regular people. And managers.)

I'm not really planning on doing a formal presentation -- definitely no damned Powerpoint slides. What I want to do is a casual conversation, covering a few basic topics:

* Explaining Blogging & Social Media to Non-Bloggers:
* Moving People Along the Reader > Commenter > Blogger Continuum
* Encouraging Companies to Blog
* And, if all else fails, provide a Worker Bee's Perspective of Corporate Blogging

That's about it. I will plan on keeping it short, so people can attend more useful discussions.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The edge-enhanced picture of you on the journals site is keen. I've saved it for posterity, you never know when blackmail^Whistory can turn out to be useful.