Wow. What a day — our first-ever PodCamp WesternMass was an amazing success, and my head is still spinning from all of the people I met, conversations we had, and information I packed into my brain.
There’s so much to download, I think I’m going to write a few different posts. But here are some highlights:
Attendance was better than expected, and everyone loved the space at Open Square. We used three different rooms for sessions, and wi-fi was provided by AtlasTC, so Twitter was electrified by #pcwm Tweets.
Morriss came up with the idea of naming the rooms after Western Mass. landmarks, so the first two were named Connecticut River and Mt. Tom. The third room, way down the hall away from everything else, was aptly named Shay’s Rebellion.
We started the day with coffee from the GoNomad Cafe, and then it was on to sessions, which ranged from blogging 101 to hyperlocal journalism. The ideas, tips, fixes, tweaks, and concepts that everyone traded throughout the day are still processing in my brain.
After camp, we celebrated at The Mick at the Delaney House in Holyoke, which is one of the best lounges in the Commonwealth, near the base of Mt. Tom.
However, the best part of PodCamp WesternMass was by far the people. The crowd was so diverse, including business owners, Creatives, techies, and Webphiles of all sorts. A best-selling, internationally known author mingled with podcasters. An auctioneer made friends with a graphic designer. A student ate lunch with a marketing prof from Boston Medical Center. And, we were so glad to have attendees from Boston, Worcester, and Connecticut, in addition to folks from all four counties in The 413.
Planning for PodCamp started more than a year ago, at Smokin’ Lils BBQ in Northampton. Morriss, Tish, and I decided to give it a go, and to finally see the whole thing come together so well was extremely gratifying (not to mention validating). Our unofficial motto yesterday was ‘We are all rockstars,’ and as the day went on, man did I believe it. It really brought home the idea that fear of getting closed in by technology walls keeps a lot of people away from social media, but in the end, that’s all it’s about: people. People creating a community, and thriving within.