We’re fond of calling PodCamp Pittsburgh an “un-conference,” but that term only means something if you know what a conference is.  Most of us do.  They’re (usually) dull, dry, stuffy and bland, with dozens of strangers languishing in a hotel ballroom, trapped in their banquet chairs, desperately avoiding eye contact.

Not so at PodCamp Pittsburgh.  (Or, really, any PodCamp.)

Yes, that's Chris Brogan on guitar.
Yes, that's Chris Brogan on guitar.

It’s not just because PCPGH takes place at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, which naturally provides a dose of artistic flavor.

And it’s also not because the event is organized and managed by a part-time group of passionate renegades who believe in the experience of social media, rather than its formal, structured potential (although we believe in that, too).

What really makes PodCamp Pittsburgh an “un-conference” is you.

Or, more specifically, all of you.

Unlike traditional conferences, the speaking schedule for PCPGH is set by you, the attendees.  Want to speak?  Go for it. Want to round up your peers and create a panel?  Be our guest.

PCPGH is a “by the people, for the people” event, which means more “breakout rooms” and “lightning talks” and fewer hotel ballrooms and banquet chairs.  (Actually, none; AIP isn’t big on formality, either.)

Wondering what equipment you should bring to be best prepared for your uncamping experience?

Your mileage may vary, but over the past four years, we’ve used (and gotten a lot of use from) the following:

  • Business cards.  (Don’t have any?  Make some!  And include your email and Twitter.)
  • Notepads and audio recorders.  (Because you’ll hear some amazing ideas.)
  • A camera.  (Because you’ll want to tag all your new friends on Flickr.)
  • A memorable wardrobe item.  (Because we all forget names, but no one forgets that shirt.)
  • Stamina.  (After two full days of social media education and conversation, you’ll be punchy.)
  • Water.  (Because we always, always, always run out.)
  • Moderation.  (Because some of us go out drinking Saturday night, and it can get ugly.)
  • Your “elevator pitch.” (Note: You’re not actually “pitching” anybody business at a PodCamp; you just want them to understand who you are and what you’re about in 30 seconds or less.)

Are we missing anything?  Add your unconference “survival tips” to the comments!

Posted by Justin Kownacki, who blogs regularly and tweets a bit too often.

3 Replies to “What to Pack in Your Uncamping Bag”

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