Barcamp North East

I went to my first Barcamp which was held in the North East in Newcastle on Saturday 24th to Sunday 25th May. A bit of a cheat really, because I live in Newcastle – so that made it ridiculously easy to go to. I guess I didn’t get the full barcamp experience because I didn’t sleep over at the venue, nor stay up ’till 4.30am. However, I would imagine that each person has a different Barcamp experience based on their expectations, effort at participation and personality type.

I’m going to focus on personality type for a moment. The ‘rules of barcamp’ states that participation is the key – no tourists. Which makes it much more difficult for the more reserved types to actually attend – even to making the decision to attend the event in the first place! I’m a “quieter type” and certainly the idea of ‘enforced’ participation nearly put me off attending. You might think that strange and if you do then you are not one of the reserved types.

However, sometimes participation is not necessarily presenting a talk or leading a discussion, but simply taking part in the event in the first place. And as roughly 25-40% of people fall into the more reserved camp, that’s potentially quite a few exclusions from things like Barcamp. Most of the personality types that seemed to attend are strong, extrovert types that like to get their point across and are quite happy to vigorously discuss and defend those ideas. I like a damn good discussion too, but I’m always a little apprehensive about standing up in front of groups of people discussing things that the potentially have zero interest in!

Having said that, the event is great fun. I would recommend to all wall flowers that they should try and attend something like this and not feel like they have to present something; you can leave that to the more extrovert types. For an INTP like me, trying to make the perfect decision on what to present, and thinking that anybody will be the slightest bit interested in it, makes it a bit stressful just turning up each day.

The talks were excellent and varied and there was also some very tasty banana bread made by Kate. The talks, presentations and discussions that I attended were (in no particular order):

… and probably other stuff I can’t remember.

It was great fun and I hope to go to another one fairly soon!