Forget Barcamp, where's Ireland's SXSW?
BarCamp Dublin will be taking place in a couple of months and, despite the fact that it’s happening on my front door (I work in the Digital Depot), I probably won’t be attending. In short, this is mainly because I don’t think it has that much to offer to me. I have a blog, but I write mainly for my own enjoyment rather than as a means to rack up subscribers (you should see some of the some self-indulgent posts I have lined up for the next couple of weeks - wow). So with its heavy focus on blogging, search engine optimisation and unexciting technology which, frankly, was of no interest to me three years ago and is of even less interest to me now, BarCamp Dublin gives me no compelling reason to attend.
Now I’ve spent the day browsing through the SXSW website and drooling over the list of nerd-focused talks they will be giving, I can’t help but wish that Ireland had something similar. What attracts me to the SXSW stuff is the completely open nature of the festival. Rather than limiting themselves to a few topics, they’ve made sure there’s something for all types of nerd: movies, music, games, design, blogging, programming are all on the agenda. And because of this, it seems to be completely open, no sense of exclusion because of a lack of interest in a particular topic.
Panels that really caught my eye were:
Worldchanging 2.0 - common-sense geek solutions for a more sustainable future
Convergence Culture: A Conversation with Henry Jenkins - Henry Jenkins should get a medal or something. That is one smart cat.
Making Your Short Attention-Span Pay Big Dividends - man, if I could harness my short att- Hey look! A shiny thing!
Design Aesthetic of the Indie Developer - Just look at the panel! Jesus! The room will throb with Mac geniusery.
Why hasn’t Ireland seen a similar event? It’s not for lack of talent. We have an abundance of talented, charming and articulate nerds that could give similarly interesting talks on a similarly diverse range of topics (although there’s also an abundance of ‘squeaky wheels’). Perhaps it’s because the geek community is so fragmented that it’s hard to rally them all together. The bloggers converse with other bloggers, the designers converse with other designers and so on. Perhaps rallying them together for a truly welcoming unconference with something for everyone would be too much effort.
But it would be a thing of beauty.
Then again, what do I care? I’m out of here soon.