BarCamp Green Bay: BarCamps Have Participants, Not Attendees
BarCamp Green Bay 2015 is happening on November 7, 2015, less than two weeks away. Sign up TODAY -- it’s free, it’s fun, and it’s for You.
BarCamps are unconferences with a strong focus on technology and other topics of interest to people who use or help make technology. If you’re not familiar with BarCamps, read “9 Reasons BarCamp Green Bay Is For Civic Hackers” to find out why you may want to participate in the event. Many of those reasons will be of interest to people who are not civic hackers.
PARTICIPATION is a critical aspect of BarCamps. BarCamps have only ‘participants,’ not ‘attendees.’
Conferences have attendees. At most conferences, most attendees have little or no impact on the success of the conference or how fun and interesting it is for other people at the event. The conference organizer(s) decides what will happen at the event, who the speakers will be, and what the agenda will be. The attendees only get to choose what presentations they want to listen to (or fall asleep in), and the presentations are generally not designed for input and feedback from attendees. Often the presentations are thinly-disguised advertisements for a the presenter's products or services, regardless of the attendees' interest in those products or services.
BarCamps have participants. The classic format for a BarCamp is an unconference utilizing Open Space Technology. This means participants determine what topics will be discussed at the event. This also means the participants will both lead sessions and actively participate in discussion at one or more of the sessions. Another way to state this is: “NO SPECTATORS, ONLY PARTICIPANTS.”
The concept of BarCamps is that discussions which take place in hallways at conferences art the most interesting and valuable conversations of the conference. These are discussions of high interest to people at the conferences, rather than the one-way canned PowerPoint presentations by a limited number of pre-arranged speakers. Unconferences put the focus on conversations of high interest to people at the event -- BarCamp sessions should be like hallway discussions at conferences. The person leading the session (a BarCamp participant) initiates and guides the discussion, while other people really interested in the topic (BarCamp participants in the session) chime in with questions, suggestions, resources, experiences, etc. Participants are key to all discussions and sessions at BarCamps.
|Group Photo of BarCamp Participants|
In short, everything related to BarCamps is done by participants. There is no ‘they’ or ‘them’ at BarCamps, only ‘we’ or ‘us.’
My next post about BarCamp Green Bay 2015 will be on topic of ‘sessions, not presentations.’
Sign up today for BarCamp Green Bay, and reserve all day November 7th on your calendar for a good time with tech people, innovators, makers and entrepreneurs (the TIME community of NE Wisconsin).