I have somewhat of a penchant for barcamping. Not really sure what it is, but ever since my first barcamp, BarCampLondon3, in 2007 I have been totally addicted. I think the opportunity to meet so many fascinating people is part of the draw, it’s not every day that you can meet people from so many different backgrounds all of whom are so passionate about their thing, be it cupcakes, cartography or computers.
I think one of the key barcamp concepts is somewhat underplayed, and it’s certainly my experience that first time campers are often unaware of: Your talks needn’t be computer geek talks. I say it again, Your talks needn’t be computer geek talks. Actually, I would rather they were not. I work in the industry, I try to keep up to date with tech goings on. What I don’t know about is detail from the hundreds and hundreds of other topics out there. Some of the most fascinating talks I have been to have been about non technical subjects, and I make as much effort as I can to deliver a session on one of my other passions these days.
The challenge is making first time campers aware of this before they come to the camp. So many of them arrive with a techie friend thinking they will just sit and listen, and we loose all of that opportunity to learn. So my message to you, first time barcamper, is take whatever subject you are passionate about, be it cocktail making, modern literature, or even road sweeping, and run a session to educate us about Blue Curacao, Phillip K Dick, or Tarmac!