This past weekend I went to my first Podcamp Boston. It was *my* fourth Podcamp, having to to NYC #1, Philly #1 & #2 before. I’ve been to many other conferences for technology, podcasting, blogging, and all around geekiness – but Podcamp always feels like home regardless of the city. It really is hard to sum up in writing the feeling I get from attending. Towards the end of the weekend I had just got done having an amazing ‘hallway conversation’ with someone and when I walked away, was seriously overcome with emotion, so I Twittered the quote that opens this story.
Conferences like these are actually very hard for me. It’s not just about the information I get out of the sessions, it’s about the people and the community encircling it. There is an emotional side – the HUMAN side – to Podcamps that charges me up. About three days before I go I get nervous that no one remembers me, that friends I’ve made online will pass me over, or that I won’t make a difference to someone. My worries never come to be, because as soon as I walk in the hotel (well after midnight), an old friend comes over, give me a hug, and somehow I know I’m fine. But I still worry.
The first day of the conference I walked into the main presentation room and immediately go to longtime friends like Chel and Whitney, but take longer to track down and talk to other people (like Doug, Phil, Bryan, & Laura to name a few!), and take the time to make new friends like Ron (whom I totally adore). Yet still there are other people – like Matthew Ebel – that I would consider it a sin if everyone in the room didn’t hear me preach about. As the weekend progresses I start up conversations with ease with a woman that has awesome purple eyeglass frames or someone that liked comments I made during a talk and wind up having amazing conversations. I see people that I’ve met in person a few times before and geek-crush on admire that I’m sure won’t remember me (but they say hello anyway, even though I’m sure they DON’T remember my name). I attend sessions on topics I know and understand like the back of my hand, and yet hear an amazing story and a million ideas of my own pour into my head. People I don’t know seek me out, wanting to meet me and have a conversation. My soul feels whole at Podcamp.
Yes, there are a lot of amazing sessions at Podcamp. Yes, there are some that suck. Yes there are some that happen that no one realized would happen that have strong and amazing consequences. Three years ago I did a session at Podcamp NYC on “Women in Podcasting” (I *really* need to dig up those slides!) but decided to pass by the opportunity to speak in Boston, mainly because it was a 5 hour each way drive for my husband and I and I wanted to spend my time learning and socializing. Podcamp Philly #3 is October 3-4, 2009 and I WILL be speaking there (check the site for the topic). I am volunteering again there and hope to make even MORE friends if it’s even possible.
The weekend goes by too quickly, my time in person with them too short and over too fast. Not enough pictures were taken by me, or with me and friends. Not enough sessions attended, not enough hugs given. Hello and goodbye happen too close together. A weekend isn’t enough, but it has to be, because I am lucky enough to be able to share my day and my life with these people, every day, online. People that aren’t as ‘wired’ as I am may not understand, but my friends do.
See you all at the next Podcamp! Thanks for the friendships – every single one of you shapes my life more than you could possibly know.
[tags]Podcamp, Podcamp Boston, pcb4, #pcb4[/tags]