Barcamp is about meeting interesting people, talking about what you want to talk about, and listening to what you're interested in. Subjects of discussion have ranged from web programming and digital photography to computer vision and turkey basting.
One of BarCamp's pivotal tenets is participation. We ask that all of our attendees participate in one way or another, even if you're a first timer. Read below to find out how you can take part in this year's event. Note, despite the 'bar' in Barcamp, the event doesn't take place in a bar, only the (optional) Friday afterparty does.
(No, there wasn't a talk on having a computer visually monitor your turkey, but if you've tried it, you're welcome to report on your experiences!)
What's the format?
Presentations are 25 minutes long, with 5 minutes in between. You're welcome to sit in on a presentation or hang around in the lounge and talk; it's all the same with us. If you run a presentation, we don't care how you run it--so long as you don't get us in trouble! Give a monologue, a Q&A or a round table; it's your topic, your presentation, your audience. If people didn't want to spend 25 minutes on your topic, they wouldn't be there.
Don't know what to talk about?
Certainly you have some relatively unique experiences. What do you do for a hobby? What's something you managed to fix that you're proud of? It doesn't matter if the height of your accomplishment is changing your car's oil or if you've wardriven half of the Grand Rapids area; if people aren't interested, they won't show up at your talk. If they are, they will.
But I'm not an expert!
Sure you are! If you know the first thing about a subject, you know more than people who don't. And, yes, people who know more than you will probably attend your presentation. Interact with them; you both have something to learn from each other. Chances are, if you're both really interested in a subject, you'll find yourselves looking for each other in the lounge, later.
But perhaps you're...
That's fine. Come on in, get a look around and a feel for things. It's a two-day event; come by on Friday, sit in on presentations which interest you or hang around in the lounge and network with other people. Perhaps you'll be inspired to talk about something later, or on Saturday. You never really know.
If you'd like to be able to listen, but don't know if you'll have anything to say, you can still...
On the days of the event itself, we typically need people to help at check-in, to clean up, to keep the food lines flowing, to babysit the facility overnight (some folks stay overnight), people to respond to technical issues such as "why won't the projector work with my laptop" and "could someone turn down the lights so we could see the screen?"