Yesterday was PodCamp Perth, an (un)Conference about new media (blogging, podcasting, social networking, etc. ) and despite undergoing surgery on Friday afternoon I was determined to attend. Besides, you always get a good seat when you're on crutches :)
First session of the day for me was the Reverend Cameron Reilly of The Podcast Network. Cam had a lot to say about the power of Podcasting and the real role of a "podcaster" is to facilitate the building of communities. At one point I did have to resist the urge to stand up and testify saying "Hallelujah, sing it brother!" but it was still too early in the day for most people I think.
As an aside, Cameron seemed to be getting into the swing of using his new Mac laptop (or MacBook or PowerBook or whatever the heck these things are).
From there I went into a Podcasting Campfire facilitated by Kerryj. It was a small crowd but filled with very interesting people, all at varying levels of Podcasting Ninja skills. I think I had the least experience in the room having never produced a podcast. I vowed to change that soon.
The best tips definitely came from Stilgherrian. I wrote down as many as I could:
- Keep the gain on the mic low
- Speak in a normal voice (try talking to a photo on the other side of the room)
- Speak close to the mic
- Soften the space around you by using tea-towels, egg-cartons, anything. Kerryj told us she creates a little temple out of Sofa-Cushions.
- Don't use a headset, get a separate mic
- Put your mic on a stand. Don't put the stand on the desk, put it on the floor.
- Pantyhose and pop-filters share a surprising number of qualities.
- Take a backup recording (or two)
- Get it right up front, don't just say "we'll fix that in post production".
The campfire was great and it really reinforced the notion from Cameron's talk that *anyone* can do this. It isn't just for rich and powerful of the world.
As an overweight semi-Italian guy (I always liked the term fluffy) I was getting pretty hungry after the campfire. and was disappointed to find out that there was one more session between us and lunch. I shouldn't have worried.
Next up Duncan Riley ran a session on Brand management in the new media space. In true unconference fashion (apparently, I've never been to one) this session really opened up into a giant panel discussion involving the entire audience. Topics ranged from buying domain-name misspellings to using keeping professional and private lives separate.
Duncan even managed to help me promote my own personal brand by calling out Wolfbyte as a "great name" with "plenty of potential". Now if only the .com was available :(
Lunch consisted of Subway and Pizza. Was good. Cheers to the sponsors. Back to the sessions.
After lunch we had a "Create your own Podcast" session run by Mac representative. We got to use GarageBand and seriously we managed to create several minutes of audio, modify our voices and participate in two sides of a conversation, add an intro and outro music piece, all sounding professionally mixed, in half an hour. Each of us. About 10 people.
People in the WPF space are missing a good opportunity creating a GarageBand clone. Between this program, the iPod Touch and the iPhone I may just be the next Mac fanboi after Cameron.
We could have stayed and been shown more of GarageBand but I meandered back to the main area and listened to twentyseven talk about Podcasting and the ABC. He's been working on with the ABC on the podcasting system and wanted to talk about ID3V2 tags and what they allow content producers to do. Something that I think was left unsaid is that if producers of podcasts are using features of the ID3 standards then hardware manufacturers will enable easier access to that meta-data. Imagine, one day your iPod could have a "Donate $5" button.
After this Nick Hodge gave a presentation about blogging policy and both the power and responsibility that comes with being a corporate blogger. There was a lot of audience participation here which is odd because beer was on the cards by now. But we got through it all.
I didn't stay for drinks because I was on antibiotics and some fairly serious painkillers but I did get to read about it for several hours on twitter before finally passing out.
Here are some of the strongest themes from the day:
New media is about building communities. It is about telling stories. The word Journalist means "One who keeps a Journal". Be honest, be yourself, be smart.
I didn't get any photo's but there are plenty of them here. Thanks to the sponsors and the organizers for a great day. I look forward to the next one.
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