Why everyone should attend a BarCamp
Long before BarCamp, there were conferences. And they sort of sucked in various ways. Lots of people found that the interesting content at conferences wasn’t so much the formal presentations as the discussion that took place in the hallway, the “lobby track” as it has come to be known. It seems quite strange: you pay sometimes quite a sizeable amount of money to attend a conference, and then you don’t spend any time actually listening to the material presented at the conference. Now I’m going to tell you why everyone should attend a BarCamp.
But there is a problem with the lobby track that doesn’t exist with the formal tracks: it doesn’t necessarily scale to include everyone. If you are a little bit shy or socially awkward, perhaps you don’t get talked to if you try and enjoy the lobby track. What if there were events where the formal track and the lobby track were very, very similar?
Enter the unconference. The unconference is a conference that every attendee is allowed to participate in, much like anyone can have a blog, or anyone can edit Wikipedia. The distinction between speakers and listeners is blurred because if you are attending, you will probably be speaking also. Sessions are less like lectures and more like conversations. There are lots of small groups. To use an academic analogy, it is more like a seminar than a lecture; organisers and speakers are more like convenors than lecturers. The traditional conference panel is rarely present in unconferences, and this is why you should attend…..
Attending – BarCamps are great ways to meet potential employers, and if you’re a student, you can talk to people who are doing what you want to do, make connections and get more involved in the tech community. BarCamps are also great places to come and share knowledge, especially in terms of education, training, and development. It doesn’t matter what type of geek you are, BarCamps will have something for you. And the great thing about a BarCamp is, if you’re not seeing talks on topics you’re interested in, you can just put one up there yourself! We have all sorts of geeks attending BarCamps, including developers, technicians, bloggers, gamers, designers, mathematicians, scientists, testers & analysts. Maybe you don’t even class yourself as a geek but you still want to come and see what you can learn, BarCamp is still for you.
Still not sold? Let’s look at some more amazing reasons why you should attend a BarCamp.
- It’s free
- We provide food
- There’s usually free beer
- You get to meet interesting new people and might even make some new friends
- It’s fun!
Sponsoring – BarCamps can’t happen without sponsors, and thankfully we have always managed to get really good companies to help us make these events happen. Companies can gain a lot from sponsoring a BarCamp, they’re great places to find potential new employees, raise brand awareness and also raise your profile. Not everyone gives back to the tech community, and companies who do are held in much higher standing, which is paramount when we are trying to help make Manchester the tech capital of the North. Helping us share knowledge, skills and experience can only make the community and the city stronger.
This year I am organising BarCamp Manchester 6, if you would like more information, would like to attend, or sponsor us, please refer to our website for further details.
EDIT – As has quite rightly been pointed out to me by Mark Kirschstein, BarCamps are not just for the tech community. “You don’t need to work in tech to have interests an passion, seeing it always inspires”.Thanks for reading!
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