BarCamp Philly — amazing as usual

I did a quick search of this blog — and it looks like I’ve never done a recap or written about BarCamp Philly before. It’s one of my favorite events to attend, and is great every year. So this summary of 2012 is going to get a little bit longer …

I swear people weren't bored -- they just looked that way when I took a photograph

Background

BarCamp is community-organized ‘unconference’ — meaning there’s no content defined before the event; attendees come, post events on a board, and get larger rooms for the event based on attendee voting response. The fun tidbit about the history of BarCamp is that it was a response to Foo Camp — an invitation-only event of the same format organized by O’Reilly. ‘BarCamp’ refers to this original format, and now you may have seen many other unconferences, ex. PodCamp, CrisisCamp, etc.

BarCamp Philly‘s Story

Considering BarCamp hasn’t been around that long, Philadelphia has a surprisingly long history (and awesome considering that DC last had a BarCamp in 2009), with 2012 being BarCamp 5.

BarCamp Philly has also had some cool custom applications for previous events, like ohai and their own mobile web app scheduler. This year they used local startup Shindig to do the schedule, with mixed results.

The heart of BarCamp Philly is the amazing organizer team — seriously, these people are superheroes. Large events take a lot of work (and lots of sponsorship/cash!) and they do a phenomenal job.

But wait, wasn’t this post about Saturday’s event?

Oh, that! Being a BarCamp attendee is a unique experience — the content is only as good as what you and others want to put out there. I did two sessions, one conversation about MOOCs (massive open online courses, like Coursera, Udacity, etc.) and a talk on doing CSS better (note: typos are Shindig’s, not mine!). Other than that, I went to some really cool content, like a Lifehacker conversation, a podcasting presentation, and a person who built their own mobile testing framework.

I wish I had monitored Twitter better during this event — one rule of BarCamp is that ‘you vote with your feet’ — no one should be offended if you get up and move sessions. It’s your unconference, after all! There were some really good sessions that I evidently missed out on because the descriptions didn’t describe the session very well.

And that was my BarCamp 2012. Did you go? What were your favorite sessions? If you’re in another city/attended other BarCamps, what have you gotten out of them? And if you haven’t been to a BarCamp — why not?

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