Over this past weekend I attended my first unconference, InfoCamp Seattle. I had publicly stated through Twitter and maybe a few other social media avenues that InfoCamp intimidated me. Yes you heard correctly, the unconference which is suppose to remove the barriers and rigidness of professional conferences scared me to my organized, librarian core. Also I knew that InfoCamp had a rabid following. What if I was the only one who didn’t know what was going on? What if I wasn’t interested in any sessions? What if I had nothing worth while to contribute in discussions?
If such fears have held you back from an unconference, let me assure you they are pretty much groundless. First off there were a TON of first time people at Infocamp. We all bumbled through it together. Also after the first “pitch session” (pictured above) where different people explain what their session is about (I was afraid we might be asked to vote or something – not the case) the rhythm is pretty much established and you can pretty much know what to expect. Also I was always interested in at least one session per time slot (if not more which is the real problem). Also I found I had plenty to contribute since I went to session about topics I was interested in.
Now I could begin talking about the sessions I attended but I feel like each session could easily each be its own blog entry (so that would mean this blog entry would end up being way too long). I will list the sessions I attended and if you are interested in hearing more please say so in the comments and I’ll make it into a blog post for you! I attended sessions on personal digital archiving (focusing on a new app for it!), gaining that 2 years experience for jobs, marketing the library in modern times, making a digital creator space in Seattle, confessions of a marketing consultant, digital intellectual rights Northwest, and taxonomy madness. As you can see the variety of session topics is incredible and it reflects the variety of people attending so if you don’t think you are the target audience of Infocamp you might want to reconsider.
Now I want to highlight one of the most enjoyable parts of Infocamp that caught me by surprise – networking. I will admit I’m not one of the best networkers out there. I’ll chit chat with my neighbors at events, but I they always seem to be students or job seekers just like me. Probably good connections years down the line, but not those connections that will give me that “in” when I hit the job market. However I did not have that problem at Infocamp! I met some great people in different LIS fields in Seattle that I am interested in. A few even started following me on Twitter so hopefully I will even continue to stay on their radar even after the weekend is a distant memory.
So I hope next there are even MORE Infocamp newbies!