Last weekend, I awkwardly shirked my mother-in-law’s birthday to attend Barcamp Bournemouth 6. It was fun. These are some words about it.
I hadn’t intended on making it to the day at all but when I saw a few last minute tickets become available, I snapped 1 up, and I’m glad I did. Despite this being my first Barcamp, I had a good(ish) idea of what to expect thanks to the recaps on their site and the multitude of tweets I’ve seen during previous events. Or rather, I knew what type of thing to expect; but the fact that the schedule gets put together on the day itself, as and when people decide to put themselves down for a talk, meant that I didn’t actually know what I might get out of it. It also rather helpfully meant that I could put myself down to speak.
Regular Matt-fans will be aware of my little 7 Words project about swearing on twitter.. It’s something I’ve worked on for a while now but I’ve long since exhausted my skillset in terms of doing anything new with it. I also feel like I need more people to know about it, baring in mind quite how much effort I’ve found myself putting into what was supposed to be a quick side project. That dual incentive of a plea for help and self-promo is what spurred me on to put together a talk and indeed that’s what formed the content of my presentation.
For what it’s worth, the slides are available online but you had to be there really. On that note, I’m eternally grateful to the people that were there. I like to think I’m OK with the whole ‘speaking in public’ thing but it’s massively nerve-wracking waiting to see if anyone turns up to something that they don’t actually have to be at. Even better than just having people in the audience, most seemed to like it too. Few indulgent tweets below:
— Chris Sherry (@tweetingsherry) May 10, 2014
— Cleo Whelan (@CleoJM) May 10, 2014
— Tom Quay (@tomquay) May 10, 2014
— Marky P (@iMarkyP) May 10, 2014
I’m now adding ‘accomplished public speaker’ next to ‘thought leader’ on my CV.
Anyway, so I did my talk and people were nice, and I had the chance to speak to some people about where I could take the project next so all-in-all, mission successful. Beyond my selfish motivations though, there was a whole day of other talks that I managed to catch. Things like:
- this talk on bitcoin by Dave Hulbert which instantly made me regret not devoting my life to insane mining hardware
- an intro to the recently launched (and great looking) Bournemouth Data Stream by Tom Quay, a resource that I’ll definitely be using at some point
- Adam Burt‘s casual facilitation of an open discussion on why Web Design Sucks. I think it’s awesome personally, but whatevs :)
- a fascinating insight into the build of that Tinie Tempah rapping app by Adam Howard (i.e. the man who built it)
- and the highlight of the day – 9 year old Grace (she doesn’t have a twitter I can link to. She’s 9) giving a talk on how Maths is taught at Primary schools. When I was 9, I was still struggling to form cohesive sentences. There she was, doing live calculations in front of a packed room. Kids today eh(?) Loco.
The parallel sessions meant that I missed a few others that I’d like to have attended but that’s the nature of the beast. Still managed to fit in plenty of goodness. The lightening talks at the end of the day were also a source of inspiration, information and mirth. Phil Hazelton blew my tiny mind talking about De Bruijn Sequences. I also did a quick talk entitled ‘Life advice from gangsta rappers on twitter‘. Alas, I can’t share the slides as they contained images from the Gangsta Rap Coloring Book but I hope it gave people a different perspective on the types of things those pesky rappers come out with.
— Holly June Smith (@hollyjunesmith) May 10, 2014
Generally, kudos to the organisers (and all the speakers). I was slightly hesitant about going to my first Barcamp but those doubts were unnecessary.
I don’t really consider myself a particularly social person, and no-one that I work with goes to these types of things, so I sometimes think that it’s going to be awkward in some regard. Especially as it’s been going on for a while, and often the attendees are the same people who also go to other local events (obviously) so I have this perception that it’ll be really cliquey. I mean, of course it is in some respects, but not at all prohibitively so. If you’re considering attending in the future – this misanthropic social pariah says ‘do’. Great event, good food, good people, good times. And I even managed to get home in time to have a bit of cake.