EJM Designs Limited Blog

Monday, June 22, 2009

Podcamp Ohio 2009: #pco09

This past weekend I attended Podcamp Ohio 2 (PodcampOhio Twitter)in Columbus, Ohio. And it was wonderful. (note: this post went up yesterday but disappeared *shakes fist at Blogger*)

Walking into the OSU Geology building set the tone for the whole day. Before the registration table was a large pad of paper propped up on a easel. Someone had hand-written in marker: "Our hashtag for the event is #pco09. Tweet when you arrive!" I'm sure they didn't even need to tell us. As of this writing, almost 800 tweets have gone out with that tag.

Building-wide wi-fi was free (thank goodness - my Pre was picking up nothing in that structure), everyone was hooked into their smartphones, and about half of us had laptops. There were six sessions throughout the day with seven+ talks for each session, so making choices was NOT an easy endeavor.

Yay Free Stuff!

Swag bag was great and contained the official program with descriptions of each talk that was registered before the deadline, trial software from TechSmith (and the sweetest highlighter/Post-it tag dual-purpose pen I've ever seen) and some very informative information about Columbus. And I'd be remiss to skip mentioning the toy racecar, plastic "LOVE" ring, and balloon.

ávitāe energy water was one of the sponsors and we had the simple joy of purified water and caffeine hydrating us for the day. Our delicious lunch was Qdoba. Yum.

Ummm...What's a Podcamp?

For those of you who have not attended or even heard of Podcamp, it was launched in Boston by Chris Brogan and Christopher Penn and is officially categorized as an unConference, meaning speakers aren't there so much to rule the room, droning with slides, as to facilitate a discussion with the understanding that there will be people in the room who know more about the topic than you do. And that's okay. Everyone's a rockstar and the rule of two feet applies: you don't feel you're getting out of it what you want to, get on your two feet and go somewhere else.

I did see a couple reticent posts in post about the content of Podcamp Ohio. It is NOT just about podcasting but the whole of new media. There were talks about social media in general, specific social networking sites, podcasting, podcasting equipment and software, branding, and even SEO. It basically spans anything internet and new media.

What Your Boss Already Knows About You

In the fourth session, I gave my talk with the above title. We discussed how businesses are using social media to screen both potential and current employees, how colleges are using social media to screen potential and current students, and what we can do overall to find a balance between privacy and "being out there."

It was a smaller group, but very engaged in the topic and their stories certainly increased my understanding of the extent that schools and businesses are going today to screen employees.

And while most of the goodness came out of the discussion and starting/ending the talk with www.cursebird.com on the screen (Twitter web use of API, live stream of any tweets that contain swear words with trending graphs), you are more than welcome to a PDF of the slides here.

My Path

I started with Daniel Johnson, Jr. in Session 1 talking about job hunting success stories, including his own. I joined John "Lumpy" Lemke in Session 2 for the Audacity Hands-On Workshop. After lunch I participated in a wonderfully-overcrowded room where Krista Neher was discussing building a strong brand and how it relates to new media. I had to sneak out of that one (it was running long) to get to my own talk but after What Your Boss... I was over to Twitter Tools for Business with Wendy Suto, which I cut short when I saw a live tweet from Daniel Johnson, Jr. that there was an impromptu with Amybeth Hale and Michael Loban about job searches and recruiting. I fired away at the SEO Lightning Session, with Bill Condo as the main speaker. Excellent info shared by all.


My primary take-away from the unConference (which I've already tweeted) is a dichotomy of "Hey, I'm doing okay for my business" and "Holy crap I've got a ton of work to do!" Part of that work is getting deeper in the keyword aspects of my social media and web marketing life. I preach the importance of it and practice it regularly, but I could be and strive to be better myself. Also, in the next 3 months, my goal is to be using videos and audio podcasts to spread my new media gospel and offer my web design and internet marketing expertise to a larger audience.

Conclusion is that it was like being at tech geek social media home. I loved it and cannot wait until next year. In fact, I'm looking at Cleveland's which is forthcoming with a spring 2010 date, as well as Pittsburgh's, taking place in October. And I think I may be talking again.

If you missed Ohio's, check one of those out. If you're half as much into technology and new media and the internet as I am, you will not be disappointed.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed PodCamp Ohio so much. I really wish I could have attended your session but, duty called and I had other things that needed to be taken care of. I really wanted to ask if you had heard or read any discussion around the practice of hiring managers using social networking sites to screen people out who may be members of a protected class.

    I read recently of one hiring manager who refused to consider anyone that would not give her access to their facebook account. I think potential employees may eventually have the right to keep that information private until after hiring because of this. Waiting for the first case to be filed to see how it shakes out but it's only a matter of time.

  2. Merrycricket- I'm so glad you asked. Turns out I saw this post just today. Bozeman, MT is backing down from its "requirement that job applicants hand over their logins and passwords for every social network they belong to."

    Once it became public, "the internet" attacked the practice (and, apparently, the town), and they pulled back.

    I, too, would be very interested in seeing this go to a high court as it would define social media's place in a person's history and the right of employers to research just about everything.

    It's bad enough that some actually run credit checks on potential employees.

    Thanks for the comment! I know others will benefit from this exchange.

  3. rofl for parallel universes -- I was at the Computers and Writing conference at UC Davis last week/end, and actually thought about how much you'd dig it. Def not an unConference, but a smaller (mostly) academic crowd also dealing with new media, etc. Next year is at Purdue.

    One day perhaps someone will explain how *I* ended up studying sports and new media (in the context of other/larger more logical akb-interests of 'bodies')...

  4. Eric,

    Good review on your podcamp adventures. I too found that I was bopping around from session to session and rather than staying put with one during each hourly block, I'd catch a little bit of a couple each hour. The added plus was getting to walk around the OSU campus @ lunch and checking that out. It was a great time at a great price.

    Jim Sutter - Cincinnati