Getting to Red Hat by 8am on a Saturday (Aug. 4) for BarCamp RDU was hard but totally worth it. It was amazing how many geeks where there self organizing and learning stuff. Lunch was late but Fred moved the schedule around and made work. The WiFi was weird but it worked most of the time. These obstacles that would grind a traditional conference to a halt didn’t phase us. I attribute it to the fact that we were all organizers at this unconference. We came to this event willing and ready to work together.
Normal conferences put you in herd mentality mode (Mooooo!) with a strict schedule where you aren’t allowed to make your own event. Much less help fix it. So when something breaks, as it always seems to, people don’t step up. That’s the leaders job. (?) Plus I would suggest that free events attract people willing to participate. They come for the best reasons. Its no wonder this works.
On the flip side I heard a critique yesterday evening that BarCamp was too social and geeky. This person really didn’t want to spend their weekend working with computers even more. If doing that is your day job then why do it some more. I guess I do because I’m obsessed. (hehe) But I think more sessions that are not computer related would be good. Relaxing even. There was juggling and chess sessions tho. How about a how to surf the ocean session or how to prepare for a spelunking trip.
My favorite part was the Geeks 4 Good session. I proposed it and Ruby took off with it. I did eventually chime in a bit. I was AMAZED at how many geeks are interested in helping their neighbors. I knew geeks have big hearts but for some reason I expected less to attend. I am VERY happy that I was proven wrong.
We talked about tools to use for causes and organizations, strategies for helping others, etc. Ruby talked about how she has used Orange Politics for good and the importance of getting involved in local politics. We collected links that were shared and plan on putting them up on a page linked to from the BarCampRDU 2007 wiki. I learned about New Raleigh a local blog influenced by Orange Politics, too.
All in all a great weekend. The t-shirts rocked!