On Saturday, March 26th, I was lucky enoughto attend Podcamp Nashville 2011. Although ‘Pod’ is in it’s name, podcasting is not the main focus of podcamp. Mostly, podcamp is a way of other users to get together and learn more and share about online resources and interaction, whether it’s marketing, blogging, legal issues, or podcasting.
There were a lot of sessions, covering a range of topics, and I wish I could have attended more of them. The ones I did attend provided a lot of good information, and plenty of motivation to take home. So here are some of my thoughts, impressions, and takeaways from the sessions I was able to go to.
Podcamp started out with a bang for me, as this was the first session of the day, and one I was particularly looking forward to. Mitch Canter put together an excellent talk designed for most levels of WordPress users, and didn’t bore the more experienced users while still talking to the novice crowd. He talked about the new features in WordPress, and focused on how to use WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS).
One of the newer features in WordPress is Custom Post Types, which sounded interesting when I first heard about it. Mitch was able to explain things that I wasn’t wrapping my head around. What more can you ask for in a free session?
Mitch put individual URLs in his slides to show more information about a particular topic. Very useful and I will have to remember this tactic for later presentations. You can view his presentation here, and his slides here.
Session hashtag: #pcn11ultimatewp
Fair Skies, Fair Complexions, and the Kind You Show Your Prize Pig At: What “fair use” means for a content-sharing world.
Fair use is as confusing a law as there is. It’s purposely left somewhat ambiguous, and everyone has their own definition of what fair use means. Tara Aaron, an attorney in Nashville, did a good job of dispelling some of the myths of fair use, and used plenty of real world examples to demonstrate what she was talking about. Mostly, the session showed the red flags you should look for when dealing with media and content that others have created, and what you may want to consider when copying and pasting other people’s work.
I felt like I came out of the session with a better handle on what I could and could not do, but also with the fear of retribution for assuming that small amounts of borrowing or pasting would be alright. The biggest takeaway for me was the factors that get considered when fair use comes up for debate, including whether news in involved, whether it is being used for commentary, or if it is parody (be funny, and you have a better chance of being ruled in favor of).
You can see the slides, along with the audio from the session here.
Session hashtag: #pcn11fairuse
This was not the session I was originally going to attend. I was interested in seeing “Voice Your Thoughts, Literally! How I Launched My 1st Podcast.” After a few minutes of this session, I knew I was in the wrong place. I was interested in seeing how a person had setup their first podcast, but realized quickly that this was going to be material I already knew. No offense to the speaker, but this wasn’t what I needed.
I knew I made the right choice almost as soon as I stepped into the crowed room full of laughter. The title of the session seems kind of dry, but this was stuff I have been reading a lot about, and interested in dealing with, be it with other people, or dealing with myself.
Jeff Goins talked mostly about what makes creative people different, and how to deal with them when you have certain expectations that aren’t being met, or how to let go of some of those expectations.
The session moved quickly, and there were so many takeaways that it takes a little while to process. My favorite was that creative people are weird, and there is nothing that should be done about it. The best way for creative people to deal with the weirdness is to embrace the weirdness. I love that sentiment. Keeping things weird is an essential
You can watch a video of the session here. I highly recommend it.
Session hashtag: #pcn11creative
Kenny Silva led this packed seminar, and did a fine job of it. I probably had fewer takeaways from this session, thanks to some of the reading I have been doing lately, much of which addresses this very topic. This isn’t an indictment on the material. On the contrary, when you are talking about the things that Seth Godin and Merlin Mann speak to, you aren’t off track at all. A good session that riveted the crowd.
I haven’t seen a slide deck or video of this session online yet. If I come across one, I will post it here.
Session hashtag: #pcn11create
Of all the sessions I went to, this was the biggest disappointment, but not at the fault of the material. This session was held over the main bar area, with an inadequate sound system. The speaker, William Griggs, was drowned out by the noise downstairs, so that those of us on the fringes had to listen intently just to get what Mr. Griggs was saying. The people around me became bored with the session, since they could hardly hear it either, and started talking to each other, making it even harder to pay attention to what was going on.
The talk also got underway late because they couldn’t find a compatible video adaptor for the projector. With about fifteen minutes chewed up from the search mission, the presentation was a race against the clock – exciting at the Olympics, not so much at a Podcamp.
You can view the slides for the presentation here. To get the full podcamp experience, click through them at a pace of one every 3-5 seconds.
Session hashtag: #pcn11hustle
This was a panel discussion, led by Cliff Ravenscraft from PodcastAnswerMan.com. Panelist included:
The main takeaways for me were:
– Trust: Build trust through what you do and what you say on your podcast. Be authentic. You can’t fake caring, and you can destroy trust by allowing your audience to believe you are one thing when you are not.
– Great podcasts are about discovery: This was an interesting thing to hear in this way, but what it amounts to is that the person making the podcast is also going from one place to another. That makes sense for the particular podcasts on display here. Does it make sense for every podcast? Maybe.
– Stories and telling stories: This is the essence of just about everything worth spending time with online, or anywhere in the world anymore.
– Structure: The panel agreed that structuring their podcasts were helpful to them, and I like a little structure to show. I don’t think structure should have to be in place to the detriment of producing a show you enjoy, but a little structure can keep you on track.
There were a few questions from the crowd I found interesting:
“Should I have guests?”
“How long should my segments be?”
A few of the panel members provided concrete answers to these, but the questions themselves seemed a little strange. I would take the therapist approach: Do you want guests? How long do you think your segments to be? Podcasting is an individual art. There is no one right answer, after you obey the rules of digital audio.
Session hashtag: #pcn11leader
The final session of the day can not be easy to host. This one was mostly a bunch of slides illustrating different mobile uploading and distribution systems available. There was also a local news reporter from WKRN-TV News 2 in Nashville, Jamie Tucker, talking about how their reporting equipment has gone from bulky, professional cameras to handheld flash cameras and small microphones. This is stuff the 24-hour news channels would have laughed at a few years ago as being amateur, but Mr Tucker said news organization these days almost prefer the authenticity these rigs produce. It was an interesting statement, but when you see CNN using Skype to talk to someone in their home for an interview, it isn’t hard to see how correct he is.
There was also a cute – but overwrought – Dr. Seuss theme to the slides, but it became a stretch and annoyance after a while. I’m no slide master, but adding a few slides of just Dr. Seuss art with no need was at the best distracting. A good attempt, but I would drop it. (And this is just nit-picking, I realize, but it didn’t make much sense.
Session hashtag: #pcn11gomobile
Here is a video overview of Podcamp Nashville from the people at Micro Patrol.
I certainly wish Denver had this caliber of podcamp. While there is a podcamp every year, the scope and scale is very limited in comparison.
If you have a chance, and a little initiative, try setting up a podcamp in your area. I found it helpful, and I know lots of people at Podcamp Nashville did as well.