Machines, media & miscellanea by Kevin Carmody
On Saturday 20th Nov I spent the best part of the day at Barcamp Non-Profits (NFP) at the Oxford University Club. This was my first Barcamp, so I was interested to see how the event and it's organisation was to unfold. For the uninitiated a Barcamp, often called an unconference, is as the name would suggest an ad hoc organised conference. A timetable of slots is offered and people simply add their name to a box in order to host a talk.
I went to four talks on four very topics, which is perhaps a little surprising considering the focus of the day: Non Profits and Tech engagement
This was a two part talk with the focus being on monitoring information within social media. This could take the form of following discussion on a topic relevant to a charity's engagement, or could equally be applied to monitoring a brand activity. I noted two tools in the first half which I thought could be of use. The first was Social Mention, which is best used for tracking social sentiment on the various social networks (Twitter, et al). The second was Board Tracker, which can be used for checking various forums for keyword mentions. There was also discussion of using the advanced mode of Google search. The second half was a brief discussion of a theoretical Twitter filter that would allow someone to summarise the important points of conversation using an quasi-AI approach. The interested parties of which broke of into a group to discuss the implementation of the project.
This was a talk given by my boss Dave Fletcher. I was involved in the projects inception at the Jailbrake weekend hosted by Social Innovation Camp, so I was very interested to see how the project had progressed. I was pleased to hear that even after talks with various authorities and forthcoming pilot runs, the project had retained its original good ideas; to get friends to help you identify your key skills in a structured and playful format which will hopefully aid you in gaining employment. This is such a promising project and I feel really proud for even the small part that I played in its creation.
Giving What We Can
Well this talk absolutely blew me away. It was one of those ones that starts interesting and makes you chuckle and finishes with you feeling shocked at what you've learnt. The presenter, Toby Ord, has actually appeared in various mainstream media publications discussing his project, but as he readily pointed out, it isn't a message designed for the 140char social conversation. I think it would be difficult for me to do him justice. This is a man who has such belief in the difference he can make to so many peoples lives that he is pledging to donate a significant portion of his income for the rest of his life. His argument is convincing and I sincerely hope you will visit his site, givingwhatwecan.org and take the time to read what he has to say.
Music, The Ultimate Non Profit
The last talk I went to was actually more for fun than engagement, but considering my rock background I really can't be blamed :) This was Ben Walker of Twitter song fame discussing his life as a niche geek semi-celebrity. Fun and quirky.
All in all, I had really fun and interesting time. I will certainly be going to another Barcamp at my next chance. Barcamp Non-Profits will be coming back, perhaps in spring and probably in London next time. You can find out more by going to barcampnonprofits.com or by following them on Twitter @barcampnfp. If you get the chance make sure you go.