Last Saturday I went down to the University for Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona to check out the first ever Podcamp AZ. Social media-ists from across the industry gathered together to spend the day discussing a wide range of topics spanning from video blogging and podcasting to using the internet to trade a year's worth of rent in a downtown Phoenix duplex for a recording contract - resulting in beautiful music by Jody Gnant! [Check out the back story here - this guy started one with one red paper clip and ended up owning a house! Jody's trade was somewhere along the way – its pretty crazy]. I met podcasters who were working to highlight the good works of local Arizonians in an effort to advance social causes [the Podchicks], video bloggers who hoped to find their way back to Hollywood [Clintus McGintus], and science fiction authors/readers who were using podcasts as an alternative to publishing [cant find the link - anyone??]. A wide range, to say the least.
I was surprised to find that while attendees were interested in monetizing their blogs/podcasts, the impetus and ongoing fueling for their work was often deeply personal and even cathartic. I expected more traction around ideas about ad models but was interested to find that what people really wanted to talk about was improving lighting quality, talking about stuff the public would find useful and so on.
Podcamps are constantly happening across the country. Check out their website to find the next one in your area. Anyone and everyone is welcome, they are TOTALLY FREE, and you are guaranteed to meeting interesting, driven, knowledgeable and geeky folk – I’ve got lots of interview material and video footage so if there is interest I will post it.
Let me know if anyone has or is planning to attend one of these events, and what your thoughts are on them are. Helpful? Dull? Snazzy?