PodCamps were created as the unique unconference which allows all of the attendees to be session leaders. This makes PodCamp NH the place to Seek, Share, and Succeed. With a wide variety of sessions from Blogging to Photography there is something for everyone to learn.
Seek. Whether you are searching for new projects, creative ideas, collaborators, smart new business practices or just a different avenue to take your business, you can learn it at PodCamp. Maybe you are looking for a new project or a motivation to start a project that has been on your mind. Maybe you would like to learn a new skill. Maybe you would just like to seek out new connections.
PodCamps have always been a sharing community. We share communication; we share our knowledge. Everyone contributes.
In the end after a weekend at PodCamp you will feel that you have succeeded at something. It could be the idea or a project that you wanted to create. Maybe it was a new skill you wanted to learn. It could be that you wanted to return home with no business cards left.
I found a great strength in the PodCamps I have attended. I learned a lot. I have been motivated to write blogs. I learned how to make a web show. I learned better Photography. I met hundreds of people. And that is just the beginning to why I attend podcamps.
But I want you to be motivated to learn something new, meet new people, and have a fun weekend.
I want, WE want you to Seek, Share, and Succeed.
We’ve been reaching out to sponsors for weeks for PodCamp NH 2011, August 13 and 14, and Tanger Outlets has stepped up to the plate with gift certificates for the first 200 attendees. Thank you!
What we really need now are sponsors for the venue deposit (New Hampton School is hosting us), the after party and some other big ticket items, like shirts and such, so that we can offer PodCamp for little to no cost to attendees.
We have sessions beginning to come in for photography, Quidditch, Battledecks, blogging, marketing, video, audio sessions, music and more (you can propose your session via the Sessions tab above).
So my attention was called to a post by one of my favorite thinkers in this space, Olivier Blanchard (aka The Brand Builder) about a fly by night certification scam (not the first, and I’m sure not the last to sucker people in) called International Social Media Association. I won’t even try to pull the post and contents over here – it’s a goldmine of thought leadership from start to finish, in line and in comments. Go read the (long but worth it) post on ISMA for yourself, then come back – we’ll wait.
Ok, are you back? Good. This post is not about ISMA. I’ve been disgusted by the whole concept of ISMA since I read Olivier’s post and realized – I know these people. These people are in my state, messing with people that others (myself, John Herman, Christine Major, Monika and Jay McGillicuddy, and more) have worked hard to teach social media ethics based on our time in the trenches, doing the work. I’m appalled, yes, but not just at the concept of ISMA and how it takes advantage of people – I’m also rather appalled at myself. After all, the ISMAs and others like them are going to do what they do – the beauty of PodCamps and breakfasts and meetings like NHMM are that people can take what they learn and use it to make something of their own out of it – we can only hope that the knowledge is used for things that are good.
See, the more I read Olivier’s post, the more the name ISMA and the names of the founders Mark and Mari nagged at my mind. I puzzled over it for a while, but in the end I’ve been busy with several companies and events this past year and I just couldn’t place why I was getting that prickly neck feeling. Then it came to me – one or both have attended the Social Media Breakfast NH I founded over the past months. This means they’ve fully been exposed to good, “do no harm” social media practices and chose to ignore them. Then the big realization hit – at PodCamp NH we were $400 away from being fully sponsored, and I was about to pay it out of pocket (after all, it’s my event and we’d raised $5600 in a week to keep it free, I was more than happy to pony up). Then Mark came over and said he wanted to be a last minute angel sponsor. I took the check, promoted the crap out of his very generous gesture during the weekend, wondered what his organization did, and then… got busy with PodCamp NH logistics and forgot all about looking into it.
How does this pertain to ethics, you wonder? Let me tell you – this pertains to my ethics. There are a lot of people out there doing social media bad instead of social media good. It’s become a caveat emptor world full of fauxrganizations like this one. It’s up to me, and other established and practicing consultants that have been doing this for a long time, to police the scammy people in our local areas and in our national space. If I was on the ball, I would have taken a moment on one of the many laptops around at PCNH and looked up the company I was taking a check from for my event. I would not have encouraged validation by association.
To that end, in keeping with my own ethics, I think I’m about to rethink the PodCamp finance model for 2010. I’m not sure just yet what will change – I sense a team meeting coming on earlier than expected so we can decide as a group what change will look like. All I know is, from here on in, I’ll be vetting the sponsors long before the events. I’ve already turned down a few panel appearances this year because I didn’t want to validate bad information by association, I’ll have to treat the rest of what I and my team do as far as event with the same rigor.
Update, March 3, 2010:
Recently it was called to my attention that someone I really, really like was an ISMA “founding member” (ISMA term). My initial reaction was one of blunt disappointment. I try very hard to hear both sides of everything, and since this is someone I think of as a really nice person (or people, actually, it’s a two person company) to boot, I talked to them on the phone extensively about ISMA, and, more specifically since they own their own company, about why they choose to try ISMA out (as well as other teaching tools, including some of my events and Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University, plus other tools).
I wasn’t surprised at their reason, though they were not able to change my opinion about ISMA, the organization – like I said above, the people behind it seem nice enough, I can only comment on what I think of the ISMA practices. Perhaps what I like about the person I was having the phone conversation with is reflected in how many learning experiences they tried – with so much variety it seems to have tempered the influence of one misguided group and given them a base to be a better company, and knowing their personalities, I’m not surprised they wanted as much info from as many people and organizations as possible.
So, Allen, thanks for taking the time to explain your reasoning, as a separate company from ISMA, on why you saw some value in trying their program out, and thanks for understanding that while I still have to agree to disagree on the whole ISMA concept and execution, I like the more balanced overall thing you’re doing with your company in spite of that.
[Update: ISMA has since disbanded]