This past weekend, I was fortunate to attend the fourth installment of Podcamp Boston, held down by the harbor at the UMass Boston campus. Branding itself as an “unconference,” all of the sessions at Podcamp Boston are proposed by the attendees, and spontaneous sessions are encouraged and frequent. There is no top-down dissemination of information or insight; the attendees are considered the experts. It was a great opportunity to learn from a mix of top practitioners, earnest amateurs and all the folks in between.
(I was only able to attend day one, but you can retroactively, virtually attend yourself by revisiting the #pcb4 backchannel on Twitter for both chatter during the conference and links to post-conference wrapup posts — like this one! — or look for some presentations uploaded to Slideshare.)
Here are some insights I gleaned from the day:
- Measuring the impact of social media – There were no fewer than three scheduled sessions, and certainly more conversations, on this topic. The answer seemed to revolve around finding ways to measure the depth of engagement, and the understanding that it is a more qualitative than quantitative value. Anecdotes and case studies are key.
- Developing community around content – In this two-way era, the push message has gone the way of the dodo. Because even when you push a message, it gets pulled in a thousand different directions — syndication, retweets, Facebook, you name it. The more you can create a community around the content you create, whether it’s updates to Twitter or videos on YouTube, the more you can be a part of that conversation and reinforce the connection between the communication and its point of origin.
- Do more awesome things! – With all of this push to measure, optimize and syndicate everything, we can sometimes forget the most basic — and important — thing of all: to create! And to never stop thinking and coming up with new ideas. When it comes to innovation, you’ve got to be a shark and never stop moving. And for us, that means trying new things, and keeping up our stream of creation.
- It’s not about us, it’s about you – Our goal shouldn’t be to think we’re awesome, a fellow Podcamper observed. Our goal should be for the end user to feel awesome because of their association with us. How do we get there? By building community, by being a part of the conversation, by keeping up that connection with our audiences and growing it.
- Educate to innovate – Working in our office, we have a lot of information and insight to share. The more ways we can find to share it with the university community — like this blog! — the better. We can both help others and learn from others as we all explore this ever-shifting web world.
- Be agnostic… platform-agnostic, that is – We live in a cross-platform world. We are not magazine editors, web developers, newspaper reporters: we are all communicators and creators. Forget about the platform; focus on the message and adapt it across mediums.