Wikimania – Chris presents BarCamp

“BarCamp – the wiki of events”

Chris Messina is presenting. starts with some background about himself, and then how BarCamp got started.

First there was Foo Camp at O’Reilly’s campus in Sebastopol. Foo pioneered the ad hoc camp, but after a couple of iterations, not everyone could fit any more; O’Reilly’s space wasn’t infinite.

Tantek Çelik, Andy “Termie” Smith, Ryan King, Matt Mullenweg, Eris Stassi, and Chris wanted to have their own event, if they couldn’t make it to Foo Camp.

Tools: blogging; email & lists; IRC & IM; plazes; wiki

Plazes was where Ross and Andy bumped into each other, and Ross volunteered the Socialtext offices, so now they had a venue.

6 days

6 people

no experience

volunteers + $2500

= 300 people – $8.50/person!

= a really good time

Everything was documented on the wiki.

The rules of barcamp:

  • talk about it
  • blog about it
  • if you want to present, write your topic and name in a presentation slot
  • three word intros (
  • as many presentations at one time as the facilities (and even surroundings) allow for
  • no pre-scheduled presentations, no tourists, no PowerPoint
  • presentations go on as long as they have to, or until they run into another slot
  • if this is your first time at a BarCamp, you HAVE to present, or help someone else present

The Grid: a big, interactive sheet of paper with smaller pieces of paper taped on it

A culture of inclusivity – everyone participates, including remotely.

It spread from there — 30 or 35 barcamps in the last 11 months!

Future: BarCamp Earth on the 1 year anniversary — be there or be square.

I ask a question: how can you inject a little BarCampness into a staid, existing conference? Chris talks about BarCampSanFranciso, which was run right after Supernova. Kevin Werbach, the Supernova organizer, contacted Tantek and Chris to . Other examples: BarCamp Etech, OSCamp at Oscon, a pre-session at TED.

Chris says BarCamps end up being locally-focused and energize local communities.

Question: how well does BarCamp translate to other cultures (non-geek, for instance). Chris says it will translate well because it has already, and talks about a bunch of different kinds of camps that have happened (I didn’t type the list, darn). Event registration, Mollyguard, Wild Apricot.

Question: plazes? Chris gives a short demo.

We talk a little bit about wikis and camps. BarCamps feel a lot like a physical wiki; everyone gets involved in every part of the conference, including sessions, cleanup, etc. On the other hand, wikis have had trouble scaling, staying pertinent between events, etc. (there’s room for growth and innovation here).

BarCamp is a Community Mark. There’s no legal standing for this, but the community defends the mark. “Community response protects the mark.” “Sort of the Creative Commons of trademark.” There can be hacks of the mark, like BarCampTexas, which are okay if the community thinks they’re okay.

Question: how do you keep the local community energized after they get jazzed by a BarCamp? In 6 months, or a year? Chris and Tara talk about different local places where the community keeps it going, but it happens much more frequently, every week or every month, with dinners or other get-togethers.

Related: tequp, BrainJams, Coworking (getting it started so people can participate now, figuring out the way the expenses get paid, the “business model” if it could be called that for an open sort of org, later)