Podcamp Singapore 2008
Two events in two days and both pretty good.
Podcamp Singapore held at SMU was an eye opener for me- in more ways than one- highlighted below. Met some great guys over the course of two days of mingling.
Events like these could be likened to small woodstocks- people don’t come here for the free food and beer- they come to be a part of it- as organizers. They collaborate and participate for the sheer passion and get thrills out of conversing and contributing. Of course there are a few that come because their profession demands it, or for some other motives-
but in Singapore if an audience turns up on a weekend with no free food and no celeb or no discounts, it can only be attributed to passion)
I attended a few sessions and though I believe that most conferences are not meant to be attended for content, rather for networking or feel good, this one was different. Podcamp 2008 was a very “on the ground” event- no jazz, no fancy speakers, less theories- just grassroots level bonding and exchange of ideas.
Reminded me of college fests (when I was in college- loooong time ago) where everyone was a part of the event, learnt and had fun alongside- just my type of stuff.
Probably the only thing I did not like was the fact that I wanted to be a part of all the discussions but since many were concurrent, had to miss a few. But guess the institute was not available for a longer time- and I understand funding is always a problem. (Hey- I found we have a great big meeting room in my condo in the east coast area- lemme know if some passionate peeps from the Singapore Marketing, media, social media, digital media, music, natural lifestyle- want to plan out something sometime)
So back to the discussion- I’m finding out if someone had the podcasts or vodcasts for the event- if you have a ready source- please let me know where to look. Meanwhile some photos from the session:
Things that stood out:
1) The fact that there were young industry professionals- confident and passionate about their fields- to me some content was ‘been there done that’ (I am always modest sometimes), but it sure did look like it suited the audience and everyone enjoyed. Joshua Nair stood out as a young student from SMU (right?) who took a session on Virtual worlds. I had to rush back home in the middle of the session but Joshua- it was not because your presentation was boring or *technical*. I *Loved* whatever I was able to attend- please send a link for me to take a look at the complete stuff.
2) Jonathan raising a pertinent question during Brian Koh’s session “Bloggers are being paid by advertisers- doesn’t that make this media like any other media and bloggers- like journalists.”
Online reviews no longer authentic- only paid for and feel good?
An example being- no one writes anything bad about an event that one is invited to, and blog reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Bloggers fear that they might not be invited to another event if they write negative remarks. Whereas in another scenario movie reviews are 50:50. So what in the name of holy jumping bananas is going on?
My 1 minute contribution to the discussion- we should not examine/scrutinize blogs in black and white- today, more often than not, conversation tracking by monitoring companies (!) happens in black and white- either through software or manually- offering limited dimension. Tracking should be done very objectively and with a lot of time, effort and expertise. More often than not, there will be grey elements in a post- some things are positive and yet others hinging on negative – some others are out-rightly bitchy. For the movie example, movies are extremely polarizing mediums- another example being political blogs- or certain software platforms- people become very passionate or take sides- and it is easier to filter the black and white.
3) Preetam Rai: Preetam – I told you to find a job like yours for me. Jus jokin- good presentation and great visuals- (aside-that reminds me- he also knows a secret place in Singapore selling some fishball type delicacy made out of saliva of some animal or bird- in case that interests you) This guy dates a Japanese girl and is armed with intellectual insights on getting a Jap girlfriend that he earned by apparently attending some seriosuly academic sessions on this topic. Just leg pulling- Preetam took us through some cool twitter-ers from across Asia- very useful for someone like me- who had managed the APAC region for a while and always had trouble finding on-ground insights that I am a fan of (more than the MNC research comapny reports)- that one session itself was worth coming over for me.
4) Coleman’s session: The topic was “Blogging, Podcasting, or Youtube? Choosing the right medium.” session was conducted in an interesting format- where he basically did not present anything but attempted a collaborative discussion- we all pitched in- and carried it forward. This kind of a thing does require practice to make organized chaos bring out the best of the wisdom of crowds- otherwise loose threads hang. But 100 marks-for the sheer thought of an innovative format. This is what I mean by a college like grassroots festival. It would have been difficult to pull through in a setting where the confidence of knowing the audience was minimal.
The points I collaborated on:
(a) All of these mediums are right mediums- and for the first time, I argued that maybe the strength of the producer might be more important than the consumer. It depends on your strengths in utilizing a medium-which medium can you tell your story in the best possible manner. As an example-If your strength is writing, you could do blogs- which are more text and if you have great audio skills you might do a podcast.
I also felt there could be a fourth medium in the list- photos/images (photoblogging or pictorial social networks like say flickr/piccassa etc)
(b) Which medium can convey the message most effectively? Anubha felt things like Tsunami or China earthquake left more lasting impressions when the story was in pictures or videos, and Preetam felt that many complex things that required demonstrations (like a product feature or software UI) are also better suited for video.
(c) The third point I contributed was “content dissemination”: If a producer (say a company with multiple talent pools) had good talent in all the mediums and assuming different mediums could convey messages equally well..then what? (say JK Rowling with a Harry Potter book/audio book and movie). In that case, given the paucity of resources, he could choose which medium gave them the best chance to market or reach out to the widest possible target audience. Text for example works well on today’s internet because of search engines’ text focus, and limitations on other multimedia searches.
I felt that a right strategy will emerge if these three points were kept in mind:
- Producer strength (takes care of even things like availability of resources/budget constraints/complexity of tools etc) in using a particular medium for storytelling
- Medium-Message cohesiveness (Do a subjective analysis- a consensus will emerge for sure)
- Content distribution expanse/competency
After all this theorizing, Preetam had the real insight and the most potent, simple truth of life- video works best with girls in skimpy attire. After this- I am ready for nirvana.