What I Learned At Podcamp

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Saturday my friend Don and I got up bright and early to attend “podcamp Pittsburgh 7: build your digital toolbox”, at Point Park College in Downtown Pittsburgh. This was my first time going to podcamp. Don was teaching a portion on live streaming. We checked in and Don networked with some of his contacts while we had some fruit, waiting for the opening speaker. 

This year’s opening keynote speaker was the men behind Pittsburgh Dad. For those unfamiliar, they have a facebook page and can be found pretty easily on YouTube. Pittsburgh Dad is created by Curt Wootton and Chris Preksta. The main character, which they plan to leave unnamed until the final episode, is based on Curt’s dad, but he’s someone everyone who has lived in this city is very familiar with. Chris and Curt are the entirety of the cast and crew for these shows and they do all the shooting on an iPhone in an actual house. They talked a lot about how something that started as a gag to pass the afternoon became a full time job for the duo, even as far as the debate around accepting sponsorship from the local Pittsburgh favorite Turner’s Tea. 

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above: Curt telling a story about his dad meeting the mayor.

All of the sessions were streamed on the podcamp website for those who couldn’t make it. The first one I attended was Podcasting – The Behind the Scenes Look by Rob Walch. Rob talked about they myths and the real stats around podcasting. He discussed how consistency is important, meaning that you should post at about the same time be it day of week or time of day, because that is what people in the television generation have been trained to expect. Rob also says you shouldn’t feel beholden to preconceived notions like your podcast must be a half hour. Your podcast should be as long or short as the content allows. If you only have 17 minutes of content, produce a 17 minute show. I got a lot of good tips from this session, maybe more than I can process at the moment, but I found it quite helpful. 

The next session I attended was Old Media and New Media with David DeAngelo and Jon Delano. It was interesting to hear the perspective of how blogging is changing the landscape of journalistic media. Jon Delano was, as usual, very diplomatic and a congenial kind of guy. I’ve heard him compared to the kind of guy you wish was your uncle that would read you bedtime stories, and I can say I concur. I even added him on twitter, since I heard him say the word “tweeps”. 

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Then we went to lunch. They had a twitterfall on a large screen, and though they told us all what the hashtag was, it seemed only presenters and organizers showed up on the screen. (I’m, like, totally not bitter or anything.) 

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Also spotted during the break, this:

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Wish I had thought of that first.

After lunch I went to check out Social Media for Women Entrepreneurs. Another of my friends, Carrie Nardini, was one of the presenters with Emily Levenson and Kate Stoltzfus. I was also very happy to see 7 or 8 men in the sea of estrogen. Way to be progressive guy, even if you were likely dragged there by the woman sitting next to you. The presentation was really well put together, but I expected no less from such professionals. Carrie calls herself a “marketress”, she’s the founder and director of the I Made It! Market. The three of them together have a company called Propelle. 

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They encouraged the audience to think of their heroes and then related that back to good guidelines and tips. Emily talked about making sure your online presence is genuine and reflects your voice, from the way you communicate to the colors you choose and the 80-20 rule. The 80-20 rule is that you should provide at least 80 percent useful content, something the reader or viewer or listener can take away. Kate encouraged attendees to think about their audience, and appeal to them where you are getting the most response. Carrie talked about her experience being a master multi-tasker and using apps like Hootsuite to schedule some of your online posts. 

Then I went to see Don Carpenters class, Live Stream 101. Don’s live streaming venture began with Occupy but he’s expanded into bands and special local events and news. He’s also had the opportunity to go to summits and actions in other cities. He talked about the different live stream providers and their pitfalls and perks. Don told attendees how he works around those pitfalls and what he uses live stream to do. 

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(He looks like such a grown up behind a podium.. 😉 )

We missed the ending keynote speaker, but did make it to the after party at Alpha Labs, where we proceeded, after a beer or two, to start having fun with the twitterfall being broadcast there. I can neither confirm nor deny that anyone in my party may or may not have encouraged the repeated sightings of the word “penis” on the twitterfall.

So what did I take away? A lot. Starting with consistency. I’ve tried to make sure I post at least once a week, but I should either try to do it on a certain day or time. I also know I really need to make some time to customize my blog with a better theme, perhaps make up a logo. I had a great time at podcamp and I would suggest it to anyone; bloggers, podcasters, live streamers, and anyone with an online presence in one way or another. I’ll be keeping an ear out for the next one, that’s for sure.

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