I am just reflecting on day one of PodCamp Boston 2. I had a lot of fun presenting. I had a great time seeing a lot of familiar faces. I've even done way more audio recording with my M-Audio MicroTrack than I ever expected (you'll get to grab most of it over at the Six Pixels of Separation - The Twist Image Podcast). But, when communities like this do get together, some thoughts (and ideas) start digging at you down deep.
At the end of day one I attended a session called, PodCamp Retrospective/Perspective - Where Do We Go From Here? It was unique in that the people who organize PodCamp wanted to hear from the community in terms of how they feel about the size, content, sponsorship, and development of what PodCamp is (and where it's going).
I think these are the wrong questions, because the answers are (to me) obvious: Podcasting (for most people, including me) is a hobby. It's not clear where the money is (or if there ever will be any). It is clear that those who are Podcasting are quickly being acknowledged as recognized authorities. That Podcasting is a great Marketing channel to start relationships, to start helping people by clarifying ideas, and a great way to get your name out there to a select group.
Going back to the questions: PodCamp should (and will) grow as the demands of the market requests. I think PodCamp should be as big as it can be. I think that the more passionate people who come to these events, the better the content will be. If you did not attend PodCamp Boston 2, I think you should go and check out the schedule. It will melt your brain. The content is so good, it's almost hard to believe that everyone is here, presenting, for free. As for the sponsorship and money issue (the event is free and corporate sponsors underwrite the event), there seems to be some discussion about when is it too much corporate sponsorship and will that soil the spirit of community. I'm thankful that there are companies who are willing to pony up the cash so that we can all attend this amazing two-day event (and even get a free t-shirt). I also think that the organizers of PodCamp need to embrace this, get as much sponsorship as possible, and build a war chest of cash so that it can grow, be advertised and to connect to more and more people.
Granted, all great questions lead to more great questions: questions about monetization. Questions about when Podcasting will be accepted by the mainstream (whatever that means), and how do we get more and more people into Podcasting as a media channel.
Thankfully, I have a full weekend here in Boston to not just think about it, but hang out with nearly one thousand people who are passionate about Podcasting, Blogging and Social Media. Beyond the content of what I'm getting in sessions, the high value proposition of PodCamp is happening in the hallways, the dinners, the cocktails and the random meet-ups.
It's always a pleasure to see Social Media and social graphs live.