BarCamp Miami – Geeking out in the sun

BarCamp Miami Board
Sunday, February 21st, 2009 - In the early morning heat of Coconut Grove, Florida, developers and enthusiasts alike met at Anokha Bar on Virginia Street for BarCamp Miami. This was the first BarCamp that I have attended, and I must say that this type of event is true to its California roots, and was the best structured chaos I have seen in quite a long time. The venue was split up into a series of spaces with projectors, as well as two conference rooms at the hotel across the street. Upon entering the event, we were met with a large whiteboard split up into 30 minute time slots with a series of post-its all over it displaying the different talks you could attend.

I must say, this thing moved fast...I was jumping around from room to room all day to catch the different talks I was interested in. I decided to follow a track focusing on the social space...just because I'm such a social kind of guy. Let me tell you about some of my favorite talks:

Top 10 advanced strategies for social media for businesses
Right near the end of the day, this conversation took us through the top social media outlets available on the net and why you should care about them...let me show you my notes (and yes I know this is more than 10):

  • Twitter - Obama is the top twitterer with the largest following
  • Facebook - Use fan pages for business opportunities (Search engines capture this data)
  • YouTube for video content (creating channels for video groups)
  • Viddler
  • Tube Mogul - upload video and send out to ~ 20 video sites
  • LinkedIn for networking opportunities
  • Squidoo - creates a vertical for users to find your brand
  • Flickr for photo sharing
  • Tumblr
  • Ning for creating your own social network
  • Google Analytics for analytics tracking on your site
  • Firefox addon SEO Quake - How your site ranks throughout the world
  • Compete.com - tie in different sites and see how they compare
  • SpyFu - keywords, competitors, etc
  • SEODigger - how many results you're getting on search engines
  • Touchgraph - links to your site based on community
barcamp talk   barcamp talk

Jeff Sass (Myxer.com) - Turning your social media addiction into an asset
Anyone that says that I should be on Facebook & Twitter more while I work gets an A in my book. Seriously though, Jeff raised some very good points about social media tools and why employers shouldn't scold employees for using them. Instead, he said companies should empower their employees' social media activities to get a benefit from it. With the abundance of tools available to research anything on the net, employers are starting to realize that they need to start using more social media just to keep up with current trends and reach their core customer base. With this in mind, Jeff advocated that employers should use the assets they already have in their social employee base instead of hiring an expensive "social media consultant" for help. Jeff's persuasive argument convinced me to get back into my twitter account, so reach out to me for just about anything at https://twitter.com/jcleblanc.

Alex Housley (totalhotspots) - Agavi Framework
So here's one thing about Miami...the sun is really hot...and the sun fries projectors. Alex took on one of the hardest spots in the entire conference...right beside the main boards near all of the presenters, without a projector for his slides. I came into his talk a little after it had started but was very much intrigued with the conversation he was having on the Agavi PHP5 framework, running us through an excellent overview on some of the core features and uses. All while holding his laptop to display his deck for the audience.

And the moral of the story is...
I thought the BarCamp would turn out to be a set of unstructured casual talks. But I learned that if you want to present anything at the Miami BarCamp come prepared. There are great opportunities to have enriching conversations with a wide range of people. For an overview of the hot topics of the year, visit a BarCamp near you.

You can see what it was like by viewing my photo set: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jcleblanc/sets/72157614729140733/

Jonathan LeBlanc
Senior Software Engineer / Technology Evangelist
Yahoo! Developer Network: Partner Integrations