When I posted the last blog post, I thought I was giving a pretty good idea of the spirit of Barcamp and what the event is about. Turns out people don’t care what it’s about, they want to know what it is. Like the actual, nitty-gritty, what happens when I get there, and what do people talk about?? kind of details.
What happens at Barcamp?
When you first get to Barcamp you’ll want to grab and fill out a name tag, because you can expect to meet a lot of people. Once everyone has arrived, those presenting will write down their topic, and the organizers will quickly work out a schedule for the day based on those proposed topics, organizing them into several tracts. People then check the schedule and decide what topics they want to attend, and off everyone goes to those rooms. There will be short breaks in between sessions, and an hour-long break for lunch(we mentioned free lunch, right?), followed by the afternoon sessions. All sessions should wrap up around 5pm, and then volunteers will help clean up. There will be a place designated for the dinner afterwards, and those who want to continue the good times go and much enjoyment is had.
What are the topics about?
This is by far the hardest thing to answer, because there is no limit to what a session can be about. Here are just a few of the proposed session topics from registrants so far-
- Pen and Paper Role Playing Games
- Cyber Operations
- Healthy Living/Weight Loss
- Casino Gambling
- WordPress Custom Post Types
- Mac OS
- Ghost Hunting
Understand now why I say there is no limit? The point of Barcamp is to share your interest and your passion, and at the end of the day, maybe learn something new. Everyone knows something about something, and sharing what you know is what it’s really all about.
What if I get bored in a topic? I hate being stuck in a room for 30 minutes to an hour feeling like I have to be there.
Barcamp is governed by the “Law of Two Feet”, which means you have two feet, so use them! If the session is not your thing, get up and go to another one, just be sure to move quietly and be respectful to other attendees. There are usually several great sessions going on at once, so everyone understands wanting to catch bits of more than one. It’s ok to move about.
Who will be there?
We currently have people registered from Pensacola, Mobile, Biloxi, and even as far away as Birmingham. Barcamps draw geeks of all kinds, from the noob to the expert, and are a great way of meeting new people and networking.
What should I bring?
Laptops are never a bad thing to have, Barcamps are often live-blogged and/or streamed. If you are handy with a camera, we’d love to get lots and lots of pictures! Comfortable clothes since you’ll be sitting all day, and clean socks since shoes are pretty much optional. (Did you know Barcamp New York makes that a rule to help keep the atmosphere casual?) Business cards are recommended for exchanging contact info, even if you are not a professional. (Vistaprint usually offers free ones that you can slap on your name, email, phone number, and Twitter handle, you just pay shipping.) Beyond that, just bring yourself and your friends, and be prepared to participate! The best sessions are always a balance of presentation and discussion.
I really want to go, but I don’t know what to talk about.
Here are some session list from other Barcamps that might give you some inspiration.
Barcamp Penang 2011 Sessions
Barcamp Nashville 2011 Sessions
Barcamp Portland 2011 Sessions
Barcamp Portland 2010 Sessions
Barcamp Milwaukee 2011 Sessions
If you are still having trouble, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to help you figure something out!