A BarCamp is where about 100 web geeks spend all weekend together discussing what’s hot and what’s not, and the latest one has just finished at Ebay’s very cool Richmond offices. The idea is to give a chat on any topic , for example I saw one was called “The Art of Stabbing People” - had I made a mistake in turning up in a Microsoft t-shirt, I wondered.
My personal favourite was by Tom Whitwell of the Times OnLine headline writing. He gave a number of top tips to get traffic and interest in what you are doing by being specific, and not being deliberately funny or clever.
My headline of “Ask Microsoft (no stabbing allowed) ” got a little interest but was up against “css3” and “Bring your own cool gadgets”. Other sessions where on web anonymity, sleeping with the enemy (given by a couple where each is a designer for a competing web company), and loads of web tech hack stuff..
The most controversial session for me was a discussion about pseudonymity i.e. anonymity on the web by improbulus. This person is working as hard as possible to remain invisible (except of course by going to BarCamps!). I can accept the need to be really careful about how much you reveal about yourself, to protect your identity from theft and because there trolls and stalkers out there. But if you are commenting on other peoples opinions or work then surely you should answerable and identifiable in some way. Finally, none of the measures discussed will protect you from any concerted attack on your identity whether lawful or otherwise.
So a really great weekend, I wonder if anyone would come if we did one at our office?
Hi, thanks for your mention of my session & the link. Nice to meet you at BarCamp.
I think you missed the start of my session, when I did emphasise the point that nothing I suggested would guarantee bulletproof anonymity, it would just make it a little bit harder to track you down, so that most people wouldn't bother if you didn't give them a reason to.
I'm still fully contactable by email, phone & post (and lynchable in person at geek events!), & people can respond by comments on my posts or on their own blogs etc if they disagree with something I've said. And I'm starting to drop the pseudonymity, gradually.
I'd certainly come to a BarCamp at MS by the way, as long as it was in the London Victoria premises (I like Windows Live Writer!)
Improbulus, agreed and thanks again for an excellent presentation, I look forward to not photographing you at the next one!
Of course we'd all come round and trash MSFT offices Andrew. Just kidding :-)