Unconference Explained

Lately, I’ve been into haikus, and part of that is that I feel that bloggers talk to much and say too little. It’s been my attempt at try to create a social object. Although a haiku is actually text and not really a shareable object, per se, there’s something to be said for its brevity — specifically, how that brevity makes it somewhat tangible.

Unlike Hugh McLeod, I can’t draw worth s**t. But what I can do is use Photoshop and download stock imagery, and that’s precisely what I decided to do to explain just what an “unconference” is. This is what an unconference is like:

You see, I was nominated (along with 60 other dudes) as one of Canada’s most influential men in social media (you can VOTE FOR ME HERE), and part of what I have to do to compete is educate the marketplace about social media. And when I saw this stock image, I thought I’d touch upon part of the social media culture that relies less on media, and more on being social: the unconference.

Now, someone else who’s in the running for Canada’s most influential man in social media (and will probably end up ranking a lot higher than me) is Mitch Joel, and he not only sees the unconference differently, but as something that’s going to change business:

No one ever just “attends” an unconference. The spirit of it is that we are all equal, able to share our knowledge or help in any which way we feel will best serve the community.

You might be shaking your head at this point thinking this is all a little too much “kumbaya” for your liking, but trust me: unconferences will change the way you think about business.
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Unconferences work because everyone attending wants the same outcome: to learn more and share with their peers.

Now, I’m not sure how much I disagree with Mitch, but I do to some extent. That being said, unconference can be a lot of fun, giving like minded people a chance to let it all hang out.

At the end of the day, though, there’s something to be said for the perceived value of a conference ticket that costs you a grand and requires that you catch a 6 hour flight to attend the shindig. It causes everyone to actually listen to those speaking, and I think part of that is that not everyone gets to speak.

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