I spent my Saturday at PodCamp Montreal. As conferences go this was my first unconference. No whitepapers were presented, but there were people that are in the trenches delivering talks they firmly believe in. Some of the most interesting discussions happened in the hallways, which make unconferences special.
What did I take a way? Well first of all, I decided to prune my twitter follow list from the mainstream digirati that really don’t have much to say, with a whole new cast of digital movers and shakers. I joked with @JohnnyCanuck that auditions are open, but I knew walking out that some had already made the cut (@pluc, @afrognthevalley are a few that come to mind).
I’m guilty of missing the second day, but such is the life of a busy dad. I made the most of day one, and have been using the ustream feed to play catch up on the talks I missed. Leave it to me to miss the controversial talk between (and I’m not talking about “old spice gate”, in which the room almost tore some guy’s head off for quoting bad (imcomplete?) sales data in his argument, but rather the Sunday morning debate “Is Social Media really a social media?” with Martin Ouellette and Pier-Luc Petitclerc (@pluc). This was a high energy, the room against the debater deal, in which Martin Ouellette valiantly defending his view that what people are calling social media, is in fact not social, and is probably not media (at least not mass media). Ideas were exchanged, knuckles turned white, but in the end, it was collegial and points were argued.
As far as that argument goes, others have voiced their opinions (ibid @JohnnyCanuck http://www.2fatdads.com/2010/09/thoughts-on-podcamp-montreal-the-social-media-question/), but suffice it to say that I believe that Podcasts are the megaphone or maybe even the jingle for the blog/twitter/social media platform. I subscribe tot he idea of social as shared experience across disparate media. As for the idea of media vs mass media, why does have to either/or proposition, why can’t it be both? I can have a blog that 3 people read and nobody buys adds on or has $0 CPM, vs the big boys of blogging. In fact these blogs can reside under the same umbrella. So does a lost leader in publishing not count as a mass media? I guess the discussion can rail on in fact I hope it does.
My general impressions were that it was by far better organized for a local event than I expected. The talks were on time, the speakers all showed up, quality speakers were present, the attendees were interested and engaged, ustream, wifi, great sponsorships. I can’t wait for next year to see where trends go and what we’ll be talking about.
One thing I’d like to see more of, is to build on Benoit Descary’s (@bdescary) talk, and have a session or round table on technical set ups, best practices for recording podcasts and distributing content. You can’t monetize something if it isn’t tight. By tight I don’t mean professionally produced. I agree with Laurent Lasalle that podcasts need to feel authentic, and that they should contain errors. What is needed is how to capture the content, edit it, level it. Bottom line, if a podcast is hard on the ears, nobody will listen.
I thoroughly enjoyed PodCamp Montreal, and look forward to getting more involved in the Montreal scene. Look out *Camp Montreal, you camp it, I’ll be there.