I was one of the few, the proud, and one of 250 people that went to BarCampCHS last weekend. There was no bar. It wasn’t quite camp. There was a lot of brainpower, creative thinking, and no shortage of new information.
One of the things I learned is that geeks are cool. No, really, they are. I went to the conference by myself and had no problem finding people to talk to at the event. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly. It was great to meet people that I had previously only known through Twitter. As a Twitter skeptic only a year ago, it still surprises me that you can build relationships using this tool. When I met some of my Twitter connections in person, it was great to be past that initial small talk usually reserved for first-time meetings. This only reinforced the value of Web 2.0 tools for me. They work, believe me.
I also learned that geeks are charitable. It amazes me how much work the organizers of the event put into planning, both in advance and that day. There were also a number of great presenters who gave their time, welcomed interaction from the audience, and made themselves available for questions in the future. Some gave examples of support they have given to nonprofits with their time and others talked about reaching out even further into this community. It’s awesome to know how many smart, creative people in our area want to give back.
And finally, a word about the sponsors. I have no ties to any of these people, no commissions paid to me, no family member on staff. I just think it’s cool how they came through to make this event possible – the location, the t-shirts, giveaways, food – all free to the attendees. There was definitely an overall spirit of giving.
I hope this BarCamp was just a beginning of things to come in Charleston. People are already talking about next year and hoping for some in-between events. In the meantime, what other ways can we share our knowledge and experience with each other in this community?