Review: BarCamp BlogCamp Switzerland

On Saturday I did go on this little outing to Zürich to experience my first BarCamp that the local organizers insisted on calling BlogCamp, and it was not without some mixed feelings. From this perspective, it is perhaps not surprising that I returned home with mixed feelings, and that a look at the echo on the Blogsphere leaves me once more with them feelings still mixed.

First the good news: 0. Meeting Stephanie on the train in Bern made the whole trajectory rather short. Of course we had arranged this through IM ahead of time and texted the necessary confirmations. Communication today is not what it was when my son was born 23 years ago.

1. The organization was well done, all ran smoothly. The way from the Polybahn to the lecture halls of the HG were well marked, and upon arrival I got from Corsin a number to pin somewhere on my clothes like I had not had since I was doing track and field. A simple, no nonsense solution to the problem of tagging the odd 200 bodies at the the meeting or unconference. Congratulations to the organizers. Well done!

1.extra: There were fruits, including bananas, besides croissants (that I can not eat), plenty of juice, water and coffee. I really appreciated that for such an informal meeting it was rather well catered, including the pretty smiles of the people helping out.

2. I met for the first time a few really interesting people and whom I would like to see again or somehow interact over them cables and wifi networks surrounding and connecting us. In no particular order they are Christian (link?), Stefan, Jürg, Henning, Pia, Sarah, Kobi, Peter, Greg and most likely a few whose name I neither wrote down, nor marked somewhere in my list of participants that had been handed out to me at the entrance. I had a fun time listening in and giving my two cents at Gabor‘s session and then later connected to him via Facebook although I did not get a chance to talk with him face-to-face. If I forgot you, drop me an email or comment. I am a bit chaotic, especially when I am working on a few projects at the same time, make that very chaotic.

3. It was great to see and speak, albeit briefly, with some of the same old suspects like Matthias, Leu who did quite a fun flick of those willing to brave being shot by a Nikon D70s, and of course Bruno. Unfortunately I did not get much of a chance to talk to Nicolas Berg although we do know each other from what to me seems to be another lifetime. I went to Stephanie’s session which was quite enlightening. Take home lesson, bilingual bloggers are the bridge builders across language and culture barriers.

4. I was immensely pleased with the lively and insightful discussion in my session of “Why Blogging is not about Blogging” that Stephanie not only brilliantly contributed to, but also live-blogged! How does she do it? I look forward to seeing and listening to the video that Greg recorded, and all my thanks to you Greg for taking the initiative on this one. All my thanks and admiration especially for those who dared to explore what was perhaps not an easy inquiry of what blogging might be about.

Shameless self promotion follows: If you are interested in more of the mysteries of Theoretical Man, the next installment is most likely going to be at reboot 9 in Copenhagen in just a few fast weeks at the end of May.

5. The wifi worked (most of the time).

And now for the things I really did not get… I wonder what is the value of this bit that Kobi and a few others reported on. In my view a bit sophomoric, and the kind of thing that really does not serve any constructive purpose. But it might be just me, I only have second hand information, and this is the kind of action that went by me unnoticed at the event.

Ah, Peter, that thing with “Christoph Blogger” is sort of cute, but it sort of ranks right there with blond jokes, and is forgotten before the morning after arrives. Good try!

Fooled you, did I? Overall, the positive far outweighs the negative in MNSHO.

BarCamp BlogCamp Switzerland

Via Pia and the creation of Leu here it is:

Pink hair, red anything, jumping high and plain just being big does get you noticed!

So, it is not about just size, there is colour and motion at play too?

23 seconds!

Tomorrow: BarCampSwitzerland

Why is it that blogging is not about blogging? I am really quite curious about this event, and if I was reasonable, I would not be going because there is all that other stuff that I ought, should or want to be doing, and this just does not quite fit in the plan, and then it does. I am holding a workshop next month on blogging and I have been having a lot of conversations on the topic with a variety of people from theatre directors, linguists, editors, journalists, book authors, and school teachers.

Blogging in my view is today’s alchemist’s panacea. The thing is that today’s alchemists call themselves something else, but I am not quite sure what it is that they call themselves. I am having a difficult time these days taking a lot of very serious sounding people too seriously. This may all just be related to the fact that recently I had to do background checks and get claimed facts to be confirmed, and as is often the case, it is hard work that involves going offline and doing some hard cross-checking of facts, talking to people, seeing documents, assessing validity and authenticity of documents… etc, etc. These days for me, if there is something difficult to find, it is a real fact.

When in one of these blogging conversations very intelligent people tell me that blogging is just diary keeping in public, I wonder what it is that has not yet communicated and why it is that they arrive at this conclusion.

I like to turn blogging around on its head, and then look at the process of finding information on the web, including blogs. So, you have a real interest in Neurospora crassa, how are you going to find any reliable information on it on the web?

Ok, N. crassa does not turn you on, you are interested in something more real like Cuban cigars, or how to treat athlete’s foot. When do you know that you have found information that is reliable, accurate and useful?

How do you evaluate the quality of the information that you are being presented with in a website? What does that have to do with a blog?

Fact is, and this one is a fact, that blogging applications have made it possible for anybody with an internet connection and personal computer to put anything from text to video on the internet. How to make use of all of that which gets regurgitated, agitated and thrown on the web is the challenge.

Blogging is a piece of cake. Blogging is accessibility and communication technology, and it is a tool of the affluent cultures that can afford personal computers and internet connections. Its instantaneous and global character do give it a powerful reach, and those fearful of the spread of information have all the reason to be fearful. What if the facts get out there in the public? What if the best of strategic planning and agendas get to be known ahead of time?

After all, secrecy is still the currency of power. What are the power gate-keepers to do when secrecy ceases to be a valid currency because what was secret has become common knowledge?

But we are not there yet. Secrecy still rules, even in the age of information and the knowledge worker.

So, what is blogging all about anyhow?

Join me tomorrow, and we will give it a go!