Experimenting with Hashcamp

Hashtags are keywords on Twitter prefixed by the symbol #. They are often used by people attending conferences as a way of broadcasting presentation bullet points and extending the discussion beyond the corridors of the venue.

Joe Drumgoole, CEO and founder of CloudSplit.com used the power of this convention last week when covering the latest IGAP. IGAP is the Internet Growth and Acceleration Programme which was developed by Enterprise Ireland and the Internet Growth Alliance and is aimed exclusively at high potential internet companies. Using the #IGAP hashtag Joe broadcast dozens of bullet points from a number of talks. The positive feedback on Twitter demonstrated the value of these nuggets to other entrepreneurs.

Barcamps are open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants. There are a number of Barcamps held around Ireland each year and I've yet to hear of a bad one. The participatory format excels at delivering value to those attending in person and, through hashtagging, to those observing from afar. In fact I often notice as much discussion of talks among those not in attendance as those physically present.

After tuning into the #IGAP stream last week I wondered if it might be possible to use the same ideas to run a virtual Barcamp. 'Speakers' could make their presentation as a series of tweets and then participate in the discussion with other twitter 'attendees'. Let's say 10 minute 'talks' followed by 20 minutes of discussion. If you'd like to present follow @hashcamp and reply or DM with the title of your talk.

This is bedroom barcamp, or barcamp-lite and certainly not intended to replace the real thing. Perhaps to supplement it. You might ask what difference between this and a regular twitter based discussion. The key I believe lies in the power of concentrated attention. Having a large number of people focus on a single discussion at the same time
generates a momentum of debate, passion and insight that long-term conversations don't always yield. If it works it might be a way of extending the inter-discipline
cross-pollination and entrepreneurial energy of real-world events.

I joined the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland network in 2008 and continue to meet a few times a year with other members of the group. Every meet-up renews me with a boost of energy and motivation that I wish I could bottle and imbibe during the 'downtime' between. And it's a similar case with Barcamps.

So that's what this little experiment is about. I've no idea if it'll work but it's worth trying.

2 Responses to “Experimenting with Hashcamp”

  1. Paulmwatson Says:

    Grand idea and hopefully I can contribute.
    Will the hashcamp.org website present a live view of #hashcamp tagged tweets on the day? And will it provide an archive for the weeks and months after the day when Twitter becomes unreliable and starts losing tweets?

  2. James Corbett Says:

    Good idea Paul, we can do that.

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