Tweetcamp’s Blog

Bringing Twitter Users Closer Together

What to Expect at TweetCamp?

We know many of you are all eagerly looking forward to TweetCamp, this Saturday, and some of you are wondering just what to expect?? Especially if you’re a regular BarCamper, who knows the score when it comes to traditional BarCamp type events.

So, apologies for not communicating this sooner, but just wanted to share a little bit about what to expect from TweetCamp, what to bring, and what we hope to accomplish out of it.

The aim, is to bring people together in person who know each other through Twitter, but don’t necessarily know each other well in person.

Given that, of the people coming, there is the full spectrum of people who have never been to an unconference style event before, aren’t technical, and just use twitter as a social tool. There will also be hard core geeks and techies who make social platforms that use twitter, and regularly go to unconference style events. It’ll be an interesting mix of people, with one thread in common we all use twitter 😉

Unlike previous BarCamp events, where there’s been a high level of structure to the day, and clear starting and stopping of sessions, TweetCamp won’t be so defined in the same way. Since we’re not focussing on the ‘learning and sharing’ element of BarCamp as much as building relationships with people we know, we want for people to take as little or as long as they need to have the conversations they want to have with the people they want to talk with.

Already, you might have some ideas of the types of conversations you want to have, and who you want to meet, and hang out with, and if you don’t that’s fine too 😉 There’ll be plenty of people there who will be having interesting conversations, and will warmly welcome you to join them!

As with all BarCamps, the principle of two feet rules! Which means if you decide you don’t enjoy the discussion you’re in, then vote with your feet, and walk out of one discussion, and find one that you enjoy, or start your own.

We genuinely want for people to engage, and talk about things, but we want to discourage people from presenting, and giving talks and speeches. Think more fireside chat, or interactive Q&A, only there’ll be no fires, and no panelists. Just participants, and interested listeners 😉

Gumtree’s Offices, our venue, has a great large open space where we can fit everyone into one room, and then we have some smaller spaces, with long tables, round tables, and alcoves.

On the day of TweetCamp, we wanted to start off with some general twitter based discussions, to help break the ice, get people talking, and because everyone will have something to say about that topic. Then after a bit of facilitated discussion in the main room (think conversation cafe), help people find the folks they want to talk to, and have the conversations they want to have, throughout the rest of the day.

We figured a little bit of facilitated chatter about Twitter, how people use it, what they use it for etc.. will be a good warm up conversation to get people talking, and be the easiest way of breaking the ice, and getting as many people as possible talking with each other.

Once we finish with the introductory conversations, there’ll be some more ‘hosted’/facilitated discussions on the subject of twitter, and some creative twitter conversations, such as tweeting poems, for people that want them, in the larger room. But we figure that there’ll be tons of non-twitter conversations happening as well, and that’s where we hope the community really becomes very distinct and unique in the many different things people talk about, and in doing so, help people to get to know each other better in person, and have more than just 140 character exchanges of tweets.

We’ll have a physical wall, with all the locations written on, and we’ll have post-it’s for people to post the twitter ID’s of people that are chatting where. Ideally we can co-ordinate everything through twitter, but just in case twitter fails, (not that that’s ever happened before ;)), we thought it best to have a paper version of twitter happening, to track peoples locations/interests and movements.

We’ll encourage people to use twitter to keep their current status upto-date, when they settle into a conversation they like, so that others can find and join them, as the day progresses. To that end, it’ll be a good idea, to set your twitter up, with your mobile phone, so you can at least send an SMS update from your mobile to twitter, about where you are, or what you’re talking about.

Of course if you have laptops, or devices that can use the local WiFi, we will have a wifi network running, that you’ll all have access to, so feel free to bring your devices with you, if you really want them. There will be a few machines, and laptops that will be available for public use, but if you want to live stream your conversations, a laptop and webcam, would probably help, unless you plan on live Qik’ing instead 😉

This is an ‘experiment’ with the BarCamp model, the unconference model, the conversation cafe model, and just our desire to know our fellow tweeple better. So we can’t exactly predict how it will turn out, what will work, and what won’t. But if you’re game for an adventure, and willing to contribute both with actively listening to others, and sharing your own wisdom, then we hope just the right mix will come together to make something altogether a little different, and a little bit special.

Of course, if having read this, you decide that you’re just not ready to experiment, and help co-create the first tweetcamp, then by all means, let us know so we can re-allocate your ticket to someone from the waiting list. We won’t take it personally 😉 Promise 😉 Equally, if you weren’t planning on coming, and suddenly are inspired with the vision of what we want to accomplish, get yourself onto the waiting list, by emailing jon[dot]bishop[at]gumtree[dot]com and we’ll see if we can squeeze you in 😉

The only thing we can guarantee with TweetCamp is what time it will start, that we’ll feed you breakfast and lunch, with some drinks and snacks, and that we’ll provide the wifi, and skeleton of a conversation to get you started. The rest is all down to who turns up, and who joins in 😉 But then life would be ever so dull, if ‘everything’ was so predictable don’t you think?

June 23, 2009 Posted by | General Information, Organising, TweetCamp | , | 4 Comments