[LINK] Participation Camp Webcasts - Live this Sat and Sun

Tom Worthington Tom.Worthington at tomw.net.au
Sat Jun 27 10:50:03 EST 2009

At 12:30 AM 27/06/2009, Steven Clift wrote:
>It is great to see a barcamp/unconference event make a real attempt at
>virtual participation.  ...

Unfortunately the barcamp/unconference 
announcements tend to be in a language which is 
unfathomable to the uninitiated, even to 
net-literate people. I attended one event in 
Canberra and after some culture shock, started to 
understand what it was about 

These events are similar in concept to academic 
symposia, with very short presentations and less 
structure than a formal conference. An event has 
a theme and some speakers volunteer on the day. 
They make use of Internet based tools to organize 
the live events, for feedback using instant 
messaging and to stream the video, audio and slides online.

After an hour or so at one of these events it 
starts to make sense. Unfortunately, it can be 
very difficult to discover what a particular 
event is about, or any of the details of it, due 
to the cryptic announcements and chaotic web 
sites. The events also seem to depend on 
personalities and if you have never heard of any 
of them, or what their claim to fame is, then it 
can all sound like a parody of Wired magazine (which may be a tautology).

In the case of "Participation Camp" 
<http://mudball.net/pcamp09/schedule/>, Steven 
Clift is the only presenter I have heard of. I 
assume the event is to do with online 
participation in democracy, as that is what he does (and does it very well).

Senator Lundy's "Public Sphere #2 – Government 
2.0: Policy and Practice", held in Parliament 
House Canberra last week, is an example of a more 
conventional conference with some Internet 
enhancements. The presentations and video from 
that event are now available: 
The Public Sphere series is perhaps a little too 
scripted and could adopt some more of the more 
free flowing style of the barcamp events.

There is a need for the development of better 
online tools for such events. At present it is a 
bit like having a long conversation in a bar: at 
the time it all seems to make sense, but later on 
when you try to recall what people said, it sounds like gibberish. ;-)

Tom Worthington FACS HLM tom.worthington at tomw.net.au Ph: 0419 496150
Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd            ABN: 17 088 714 309
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617                      http://www.tomw.net.au/
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Australian National University  

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