Put geeks and newbies together in a room and you'll get a good conversation (yes, you will) and you'll also catch someone taking a picture of someone taking a picture.
I have seen the unconference model work well for a large group (PodCamp Boston 1, 2, 3 and 4) and smaller groups (NewBCamp 1, 2, 3; PodCamp Western Mass, and HealthCamp Boston). Today's group was small (approx 30) and the schedule became flexible to meet the needs of the participants. During the first sessions, some stayed with me to discuss the basics of blogging and social media. Another group went to a room up stairs to get into an advanced discussion of Linux. The second session has some stay in the main room while others went upstairs for a discussion on cloud computing (yes, why not go up for that kind of discussion?). Even the speed mentoring session slowed down as the initial questions had follow up questions and then evolved on in different directions on their own.
Everyone who attended seemed to have some new learning to take away with them. I saw folks who one minute said they could do a session turn around and add some significant point to a discussion. Everyone does have their specialties and when we get together to share them, amazing things happen!
I can hardly wait for the LaidOff Camp Attleboro/Providence. We take the unconference model to the unemployed. That should be a good learning, sharing and networking experience!
Stay tuned here for more information on future NewBCamps.
Tune into the LaidOff Camp blog for updates as the time gets closer to Nov 7th.