BCN13: Making a change

Change isn’t easy.

Change requires overcoming that response we all love to hate, “because we’ve always done it that way.” Change requires buy-in from everyone, and some uncomfortable moments. In fact, change is so difficult that I had an entire course in grad school dedicated to it and how to make it successful.

That’s why I’m incredibly proud of the BarCamp Nashville crew for having the courage and patience for making significant changes to this year’s event.

As an adviser to the crew, I know first-hand that it wasn’t an easy decision – and one that was several months in the making – but in the end, the energy around the event has never been higher.

BarCamp Nashville 2013First, there’s a new venue. And the venue is so awesome – and so un-traditional, which is appropriate for an un-conference – that we actually can’t publicize it. Only those who have registered to attend on the BarCamp Nashville website have access to the location and address.

But the biggest change is a new method for selecting sessions. Instead of having speakers submit their session topics, then leaving it up to a random draw to set the schedule, this year the sessions will be chosen in two separate voting sessions on the day of the event by attendees. It’s a dramatic change, but one that truly puts the content of the conference in the attendees’ hands.

Over the years that I’ve been involved in the BarCamp and PodCamp communities, both in Nashville and in Pittsburgh, it’s the spontaneity and energy and those little unexpected moments that have always had the most impact on me. This year’s event promises to have all of those things.

As a content strategist, I’ll be fully honest and admit that I’ve struggled at times to find a niche at BarCamp. PodCamp is easy for me – it’s all about content and marketing and social media, and I have lots in common with attendees and can contribute to conversations. But BarCamp, which focuses more on technology and development, was always a bit of a challenge. This year, however, I’m looking forward to learning more about development and how I can help as a content strategist make the lives of developers and designers that much easier. (If someone is interested in presenting that session, I’ll definitely vote for it!)

I’m also excited about the possibility of more “big idea” sessions … things that stretch my comfort zone in understanding but that have energy and excitement around the topic. Several of those ideas were brought up at Monday night’s SpeakerUp event … and if any of them come to fruition, I’ll be thrilled.

Yes, the new format is different and a little bit uncomfortable … but the excitement around the change is palpable. And couldn’t that be said for any change?

I look forward to seeing you on November 2!

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