BeeBCamp, Media Village, W12

Today at work I attended BeeBCamp, a cheerfully titled unconference. I’ve been to quite a few BarCamps in the past, which are similar in principle, but not at work so this was going to be a special experience. It wasn’t arranged by manglement, but by a few interested bods around the BBC.

If you’re not familiar with unconferences, they work by getting everyone to participate, usually by speaking on a favourite subject or taking charge of one aspect or generally helping with the running of the event.

I guess the impedus for having this was to get people together to share ideas, especially those who don’t meet and who work in different departments around the country.

Anyway, in the usual style, BeebCamp started with a welcome and an invitation (by Philip Trippenbach of News) to add talks to a schedule, split into time slots and various areas, so people could chose from up to 6 talks going on at the same time. Before I could think of my 3 word sum-up [this is BarCamp-ism where you go round the room and introduce yourself with 3 terms that sum you up - last time mine were: games, geeking and cats - which I didn't need today, but maybe something to add to BeeBCamp2?] everyone was off and looking tentatively at the schedule boards.

Some people were more familiar than others with how unconferences work and also were more used to speaking on their favourite or expertise subjects, so they were first to fill in the gaps on the schedule. Talks were varied ranged from blogging, to gaming and ‘how to make awesome video’!

Anyway, you get the idea, so here’s a few rough notes from the talks I attended. I should add that these are my interpretations and simple overviews of discussions and definately not direct quotes, some talks I missed & these are not the views of the general BBC – or about to be made policy, strategy or turned into the moon on a stick (afaik)!

* Dave Anderson talked about his experience of MMOGs
– beta testing
– editorial policy
– partnerships
– issues to consider
– what’s a MMOG?

* I chaired a discussion about women in tech at the BBC – this was really interesting and became more about how people get into tech, for example:
– how career stereotypes at school shape who goes on to study / work in tech
– the rise of women only tech meets – is this a good thing?
– gender aptitudes for careers – are women better in ‘caring’ professions eg teachers, medicine, childcare? Devils advocate stuff!
– why would women want to code / get out of coding, isn’t it boring?
– how women find working in tech, attending conferences and meets generally – attitudes, moving up the career ladder, glass ceiling anyone?
It was quite passionate and I need to write some of this up properly when I have time!

* Jasper from Children’s led a discussion about games at the BBC
– cataloging and evaluating existing games (maybe!)
– the importance of games
– how we could use MMOGs for innovative content
– our favourite games, which turned out to be a good way of finding out about someone ;-)

* Tristan Ferne of A&Mi lead a discussion on ‘what should we build next?’
– future apps
– tech shaping the future of training
– being more open / sharing
– accessibility

* Roo Reynolds, Social Media Exec chaired a discussion on ‘External blogging: can I – should I?’
– different approaches to blogging
– value of blogging
– how many people know about the different subjects / areas covered by blogs?
– role of guest bloggers
– responsibility of taking on / starting a blog
– types of blogs: team / genre / personal
– barriers to blogging eg time, self-censoring, dilemma between work / personal blogs
– prioritising time for blogging
– rules for personal blogs: disclaimers, not giving anything confidential away (notice how vague I am ;-))!

* Daniel Bennett(?) talked about News blogs
– using blogs in the news
– storytelling: linking up, weaving narrative
– reportage & citizen journalism
– barriers to blogs in the news: trust, getting things right, not being mundane
– time consuming: fact finding, moderation, checking
– microblogging
– liveblogging
– ambient intimacy
– ambient journalism

Finally, I attended a round up discussion on where to go next, facilitated by Tom van Aardt - we were overunning and about to be booted out of the conference area as the facilities team were setting up for another function!
– ‘i want my commissioner to understand…’
– finding colleagues have similar ideas and needs
– what can be done to get things done?
– be good to have a toolkit for getting things done
– a good opportunity to find out more about each other: twitter, blogs, wiki, keep in contact
– Backstage internal mailing list is a good way of keeping up with ideas
– meet again in the spring to discuss what we’ve been up to!

All in all it was a good day, lots of positive discussion from very passionate and informed people. Nobody hogged the discussions and nobody felt that they couldn’t ask a question or admit they needed something explaining.

Gosh, it’s 2 am and I need to go to bed now – I need to be up in 4.5 hours for a trip to Kingswood Warren – wish me luck getting up! What an amazing day – we even had snow in Central London in October, how bizarre is that?!

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