Over the past month I have taken a break from blogging. There has been a lot going on as HealthCampDc approaches. The Camp takes place this Friday, September 12th at the CareFirst Offices in Washington DC.
HealthCampDc is being organized BarCamp style. Some of the attendees may never have been to a BarCamp before. That is great! It means the word about BarCamps must be spreading.
So for those new to BarCamps what can you expect?
The first thing to know is that a BarCamp is participatory. It is not a passive "sit back and listen" conference. Be prepared to get engaged in conversations.
You know how at traditional conferences you remember more about the conversations that happen in the corridor and outside the official sessions. Well BarCamp is about bringing those conversations in to the sessions.
As a participant you can set the agenda - literally! The first part of the day will require the active participation of everyone there to put forward session topics. What this means for everyone is that you can't really be disappointed by the event. If something wasn't covered at the event that you wanted to learn about or discuss then you probably didn't put it on the agenda!
"But I am not an expert!"
This is a typical fear. Set it aside. You do not have to be an expert on a topic in order to lead a discussion. In many cases the people with enquiring minds that don't know everything about a topic end up leading some of the best sessions - precisely because they are not the expert and so reach out to everyone attending the session to get their input. In the process they take the first step to becoming an expert in the topic they are interested in.
In many cases people find out that they know more than they realized!
Get the message out!
If you have a camera - bring it and post to flickr! If you blog, or twitter, or utterz, or pownce, or ping bring along your laptop, or phone and publish away! Many BarCamp sessions are streamed to the web using Stickam or ustream.tv. This communal publishing lets others participate after the fact.
The major thing to remember is to come along and have fun! Make new friends and enjoy an exciting learning experience.