Sunday, August 22, 2010

Public Media Camp - Boston - recap

I took the opportunity to participate in PubCamp Boston yesterday. It was held in the WGBH building in Brighton, a wonderful facility for this size of an unconference.

With the work I do for Franklin Matters, I wanted to meet new folks in the public and community media world and to learn from their efforts. I was also able to share some points from my own experiences. As an unconference, this was exactly what the event was meant to do!

The actual group was smaller than the 175 registered (a common issue with 'free' events). It was large enough to provide a good cross section of folks and small enough to really work in the unconference model.

NPR's Andy Carvin explained the process for determining the schedule of sessions. The microphone then was passed around the room to allow everyone to introduce themselves, where they are from, three words to describe them and if they wanted to facilitate a session, a very brief topic sentence.

My intro was:
Good morning, Steve Sherlock. I am the volunteer Community Information Director for Franklin, MA because "Franklin Matters. My three words are content, conversation and community.
I chose not to facilitate a session but as the sessions were proposed, I found enough opportunity to fill the day.

The session board filled up as the microphone went around the room. There was some juggling and combining of sessions, clarification of topics, shifting of topics/sessions from room to room to meet the session and schedule requirements. All important logistical details were covered and the final schedule looked something like this.

What did I take away from the day? 

I summarized the first session with a sherku:  the issue  that I tweeted as follows:
Channels, content 
creation, ownership
it comes down to
eyeballs and funding

The second session moved further along the lines of this discussion and summarized the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges/threats for Public Media (defined as one of the networks receiving funding - PBS, NPR, etc.).

The session summarized the same quadrant for Community Media (defined as the more local media makers including bloggers).

Lunch was a healthy choice of sandwiches, salad and cookies. The one drawback of lunch was that the group spread out amongst at least three areas of the WGBH building to find a spot (table, chair, space, etc). to eat. The conversation was good but separated by the locations.

I was able to provide feedback to the Boston Globe that their Information Graphics needed to be shareable. They did great work developing the graphics but if it was on the web it wasn't easily shareable. You couldn't link to it directly, or copy it and share it with appropriate credit. Even worse, sometimes the graphic only appeared in the print version. They welcomed the feedback so it will be good to see how it changes, if it changes.

Ellen Rossano had an interesting session on how the emergency responders and media makers could work better together.

Steve Garfield is exploring how to make real live TV more interactive.

There was a session on "Beyond Google Maps" that provided some good links and information on how to engage community (i.e. crowd source) to collaborate and share information.

Mapping Main Street is one I will look to explore. There are no entries for Franklin, MA currently posted there.

Andy Carvin mentioned that from his NPR experience:
People will retweet on Twitter, people will respond on Facebook per @acarvin at #pubcampbos
All in all, a good day. Plenty of food for thought. Some key connections made and conversations to follow up on.