The great East Bay Beast Bloggers Bar Camp
The happening was in Oakland at Tech Liminal. So — what is the nature of The Beast?
Photos: Wanda Hennig
Video: support Spot.Us
Beast: East Bay is Pig Latin for Beast.
Bar Camp: See this Wikipedia description (or improve upon it).
What is a blog? Read the Beast Bloggers Bar Camp Top 40 list here (Part 2 of this story) and start blogging!
On a Saturday morning in late July, just after a flock of white pelicans arrived for an extended stay at Lake Merritt, a group of activists, bloggers, would-be bloggers, vloggers, Twitter gurus, print journalists transitioning to the web in the age of social media, high-tech nerds, and others, gathered at Tech Liminal in Oakland for the East Bay’s first Beast Bloggers Bar Camp.
People at the event, hosted by journalism micro-funding project Spot.Us, Oakland technical hotspot and salon Tech Liminal (techliminal.com) and Oakland’s must-read independent politics and development blog A Better Oakland, had been advised to arrive:
With coffee mug and a laptop (or notebook and pen);
prepared to talk blogging;
to network with and learn from other bloggers;
to share knowledge, get ideas and explore blogging for activism;
and see blogging activism in action;
to learn more about citizen–based investigative reporting;
become part of a community of bloggers; and more.
Tech Liminal founder Anca Mosoiu outlined the bar camp format and principles for those who hadn’t been to one.
So what is a bar camp and how does it work?:
It’s a user-generated conference.
Based on the questions, you create an agenda for the day.
You start with a blank agenda wall — and fill it with the program that develops. (In preparation, a wall had been lined with blank bits of paper. Topics people wanted information on, or to teach, were noted on these sheets after introductions, and strategically grouped in response to enthusiastic participant directives.)
There were principles to be followed. For example, participants should treat each other with respect and kindness throughout the day and remember that:
The group that’s here is the right group to be here.
Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened.
Whenever (the workshop) starts is the right time.
When it’s over, it’s over.
And the “Law of Two Feet” (as in, don’t forget you have two feet). In this context, Mosoiu and the others noted that, in a group there are usually butterflies and bumble bees. That is, those who go round and pollinate, and those who like to stay in one place. And: “Neither is wrong. If you’re not contributing or getting anything, get up and move to another group.”
The first Beast Bloggers Bar Camp focused, among other things, on the effective use of social media, including blogs, for community activism and as public service: Several participants had independent neighborhood or city blogs. But blogging-newbie questions were welcomed — and topics covered ranged from how to vlog (video blog), Twitter and monetize blogs.
In this video, participant in a “Blogging 101” workshop brainstorm best practices for telling untold stories online.
Note: Saturday October 24, 2009, marks the Return of East Bay Bloggers.
Visit the Tech Liminal website to learn more about the second Beast Bloggers Bar Camp. Participants will include social media consultant Cathy Brooks, a group from the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, and social media trainers / educators / bloggers Susan Mernit and Amy Gahran. / The Public Media Collaborative is the event organizer.
[Nonprofit Note: Friday October 23 at Tech Liminal: Social Media for Social Action — A day of training and workshops for Oakland nonprofits and community organizations. More details here.]