10 Reasons Why You Need to Attend PodCamp

So what exactly is PodCamp anyway?

If you’re a geek like me, you’re always trying to find out what’s hot and seeking opportunities to network with people that share the same interests as you. If your job involves social media, podcasting, blogging or any other sort of “new media,” PodCamp is something you should definitely check out.

My first PodCamp was last year and it totally changed the way I thought about podcasting, blogging and social media. I learned so much from so many experts and realized that I had a passion that I needed to pursue.

Arriving at PodCamp was a little unnerving at first. I didn’t know a single person who was attending the conference. I did my homework and followed a few of the people that were speaking and tried to get a better idea of what I was getting into. My attempt at preparing myself was pointless though, because the experience I had was absolutely amazing.

There are so many interesting people to hear speak, there are so many great people to meet and there is an extremely deep well of knowledge that you are encouraged to drink from. Bring a bucket, because there is so much to learn.

PodCamps happen all over the world. There are notable ones in Toronto, Montreal, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Boston and a list of other cities across the globe. Fortunate enough for us, there is one right in our own back yard.

So what are 10 reason why you should attend PodCamp?

  1. Learning more about what’s trending. There is no better place than PodCamp to meet the people in your area that are pioneering the industries of new media. They take a day of their time to offer their thoughts, insights and everything they have learned at no cost to you.
  2. Meeting new people. They call them social networks for a reason. The whole point of a conference is to network with the people you already know and people you’ve never heard of.
  3. There is always something that interests you. Unlike most conferences, PodCamps don’t necessarily have a central theme. They are not put on by a single business and they are not held within the bounds of a single topic. Sessions at PodCamp can range from how to use Pinterest to adding video to your website. No matter how you–or your business–use the web, there is surely something there for you.
  4. You can start your own discussion. That’s right. Whether or not you’re speaking at PodCamp, you can always start your own conversation. Tables are provided with cards to indicate your topic as you invite other attendees to sit down and talk about whatever interests you.
  5. Social lubricant is abundant. Did I mention they have beer at PodCamp? That’s right, you can throw back a cold one during the sessions to better enjoy the experience. Shy about meeting people? Nothing a lager can’t solve. Don’t drink? Don’t worry, other refreshments are available, and there is no one there to judge.
  6. You can tweet the whole time. Normally when you attend a conference, people ask you to silence your phones and devote all of your attention to the topic at hand. PodCamp? No way! In fact, most speakers designate a Twitter hashtag to their session just to keep track of what everyone is saying.
  7. You will learn something you didn’t know. No matter how much of an expert you think you are or how much you think you know about any given topic, it is inevitable that you will take something away from your day at PodCamp.
  8. You can build your business from attending. I know I talked about the opportunity to meet new people, but above that, you can meet people that can help you grow your business. Not everyone can be an expert at everything and people in new media are always looking for other experts to collaborate and share leads with.
  9. There’s tons of swag. Free stuff? Giveaways? Yes. It’s here, too. Plenty of companies help recover the cost of executing PodCamp each year and in return, they like to remind attendees of their business by giving away promotional items bearing their insignia. Yes, you two, might score a nifty thumb drive, coffee travel mug or t-shirt.
  10. Did I mention its free? I challenge you to find another new media conference as enriching, entertaining and fun as PodCamp that doesn’t charge you a dime to walk through the door.

There you go, ten reasons why you should attend PodCamp this year. Still not convinced? Check out the video below that I made based on my interactions with people at last year’s PodCamp. Oh, and one more thing, be sure to check out my session, “Google +: Ghost Town or Game Changer?” at PodCamp this year. If you’re interested in learning more about Google’s social platform, it’s a session you won’t want to miss.

You're Doing It Wrong and That's Okay

Different Colored Trees - Image Credit Mike Pennington used under Creative Commons Licence.
Dare to be Different.

Being different is something that doesn’t come easy to many. Stepping outside of social norms and doing things unexpected creates a very uncomfortable feeling for most people. Ironically, when you step outside of what people consider “normal” you start to get noticed.

Last night I shared a post on a social network about why I thought people were leaving. I didn’t specify that people were leaving faster than they were arriving, because that’s simply not true. What I was suggesting, however, is that certain improvements need to be made in order to regain the attention of the people that have turned their backs.

Immediately, after posting my thoughts, I was criticized for suggesting things that I wasn’t suggesting at all. The post ballooned into a thread of over 150 comments within two hours. People were clearly upset with the message I was conveying and wanted me to know why.

On the contrary, had I written a post about why so many people are coming, and why the network is the bees knees, I don’t feel that the level of interaction would have been nearly as high. In fact, I don’t think posting something that everyone agreed with would garner much interaction at all.

Within the thread of comments, someone suggested something that has had me thinking all day, the Abilene Paradox.

The Abilene Paradox basically suggests that people will always agree with the feelings of a group, regardless if they agree or disagree with the feelings themselves. People want to be accepted, they want to be cool like everyone else. Well, the problem with the Abilene Paradox happens when you’re trying to get noticed.

The Abilene paradox is a paradox in which a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of any of the individuals in the group. It involves a common breakdown of group communication in which each member mistakenly believes that their own preferences are counter to the group’s and, therefore, does not raise objections. A common phrase relating to the Abilene paradox is a desire to not “rock the boat”.

If you want to stand out in a crowd, you simply can’t do what everyone else is doing. Sometimes you need to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. Try something different.

When you first do this, you are going to notice resistance. People are going to wonder why you are diverging from your normal course. You will likely get some negative feedback and an occasional splash of “Hatorade.” Don’t worry. This is normal.

The fact is, when you step outside of your norm and do something contrary to what people expect, it catches there attention. As long as you are doing this with good intentions, and occasionally, if warranted, an explanation, you’re doing alright.

Different Colored Trees - Image Credit Mike Pennington used under Creative Commons Licence.
Image Credit Mike Pennington used under Creative Commons Licence.

Don’t let any group of people tell you you’re doing it wrong, because what proof do they have that they’re doing it right? If you’re trying to blend in and stand out at the same time, you might need to address your priorities. Becoming relevant, authoritative or considered an expert in any field means that you need to explore all angles. Never leave a rock unturned.

In the end, when you challenge your own thoughts, your own ideas, your own course of action, you can learn a lot. If not from yourself, then definitely from the feedback you receive in doing so. Remember though, be receptive. You should listen to what people are saying and invest in a fresh perspective.

“If people aren’t making fun of you, you’re doing something wrong.” – My High School Band Director

Then again, you can always do what everyone else is doing in fear of hearing “You’re doing it wrong.” Let me know how that works out for you…

Image Credit Mike Pennington used under Creative Commons Licence.

Your Social Media Strategy

I’m not a Social Media Expert. 

But, I have learned a few things that could help you, your business and your brand in creating a successful online engagement experience for your customers.

One of the things I keep on my business card is “Experiencial Design” because I think something that customers of this age look for is not only a good product or service, but a great customer experience.

Take a look at what you’re doing with your current strategy and ask yourself if you are really engaging your customers or just pushing things out there without paying attention to what they’re saying. To find out more, watch my latest episode.

How to Make It Work is also available on Tivo, Roku and Blip.tv

How to Create Engaging Content

Recently I spoke with +Derek Ross about some of his posts about #Android and why they weren’t getting the type of interaction he was looking for. +Derek is an original content creator and a great resource for all things related to #Android.

After taking a look at some of his posts at the time, I noticed that a lot of things he was posting were unembellished hyperlinks–simply a link to a website and the default snippet without any sort of summary or call to action.

Continue reading How to Create Engaging Content

Have You Ever Crawled Through the Mud In the Rain?

Why I am teaming up with +KOMU 8 News +Sarah Hill.

Lady with child in PET
Lady with child in PET

Person Energy Transportation (or P.E.T. for short) gives the gift of mobility to people all around the world that suffer from paralysis, disease and other circumstances which have caused them to lose their ability to walk. Each of these hand-cranked carts allows these individuals to use their own energy to power themselves through third world countries which lack the infrastructure that you and I take for granted every day.

For a mere $250, the P.E.T. organization can gather materials needed to construct a hand-powered cart that allows people lacking mobility to commute through their communities, find work and restore their personal freedom. No longer will they have to crawl on the ground or depend upon the support of others to get from point A to point B.

If you live in a metropolitan area like I do, you might take the infrastructure around you for granted. Most modern suburbs in the United States even boast sidewalks on every street. However, in countries like Honduras and Vietnam, accessibility is a major problem for most people. Especially those with mobility issues.

+Sarah Hill is undertaking a project to raise One Million Dollars which would fund the construction of over 4,000 P.E.T. carts and restore mobility, freedom and jobs to 4,000 people in third world countries who suffer at no fault of their own.

How +Sarah Hill Plans to Do It

Sarah will be using +Google+ Hangouts to her advantage. As she has integrated the technology into her +KOMU 8 News U_Newscasts, she will be offering people the opportunity to “sponsor” segments and get their name out in exchange for their donation to her project. With over 600,000 followers on +Google+ and the ability to touch people with her stories, I have no doubt that +Sarah Hill will be successful with her endeavors.

How You and +Peter G McDermott Plan to Help

Now, this is where it gets interesting. Since I don’t have 600,000 followers and don’t appear daily on an NBC affiliate, I’m going to depend on +The Internet to help me get the message out and show +Sarah Hill that the little guys can make a difference too.

Since my following count is about 5% of Sarah’s, I’m going to recruit you and all of your friends, family members and colleagues to help me raise $50,000 towards Sarah’s goal of $1 Million.

What’s In it For You?

If you have seen my YouTube videos or read my blog, you know that I am a fairly competent speaker, engager and story teller. I like sharing new ideas and innovation (you would know that if you ever read my profile). So, if you want to help me with this project of raising money, I want to help you with getting the word out about your product or service. I will be offering my consulting services and audience reach at no cost to those that help me raise funds and meet my modest goal of $50,000.

So what are you waiting for? If you want to join in, be sure to join my team on Crowd Rise: http://www.crowdrise.com/mcdermott/

Only $50,000 to Go!

Top Ten Mistakes Bloggers Make

Stop Sign
Image Source: FreeFoto.com

If you’re just starting a blog or trying to learn how to be a successful blogger on the Internet you have probably read a lot about what you should be doing. Have you considered thinking about what you shouldn’t be doing?

I polled my network of experts on Google+ and got some great responses on this topic. I wanted to feature +C Bret Campbell‘s thoughts as a guest post. Here’s his top ten list of mistakes that bloggers commonly make:

Top 10 No-No’s:

Continue reading Top Ten Mistakes Bloggers Make

Does Teamwork Work in Social Media?

Have We Forgotten Teamwork?

So, tonight, after attending a meeting for speakers interested in +PodCamp Nashville, I went out to dinner with the lovely +D’nelle Throneberry and talked about teamwork and how it relates to social media as a business strategy.

The first thing we talked about is something that “social media experts” are afraid to admit. Social media has grown so much that it is no longer under one umbrella. There are so many aspects of new media that one person can not simply master them all.

Currently the game is being played on a no-frills referral basis in this market. If you’re looking for WordPress, there’s someone for that. If you want to do a Twitter campaign, I can point you in the right direction. Looking for Drupal? There’s a couple of guys in town that do that…

Clearly, what I learned from our conversation and observing the relationships and businesses in this market, I know that everyone is really excited about social media. Especially the people that do it for a living. They are all working independently and love itWhy?

I can understand leaving your M-F 9-5 to become an independent entrepreneur and do what you love, but why do it alone when there is a team of people there all passionate about the same thing?

As this space continues to evolve, more technologies and networks start popping up, we are going to need more than just a few experts. Regardless, though, of how much it grows and changes, all of these things that propagate are all related. There is no reason we should work in silos. That’s why we left Corporate America in the first place, right?

I think that if a group of people with a diversified range of talents band together they will be much more successful than a bunch of people all out doing it on their own.

I don’t care how wide or great your referral network is, there is strength in numbers and if you band together, you can do amazing things. Teamwork is where it’s at.

How Two Nights in New York Changed Our World

My Window's Vista

We just finished our last night of the #NYCHIRL and all I can say is…WOW! That was one of the most incredible experiences I have had in my life.
If you are new to G+ or trying to get people interested in joining, just tell them to search for hastag NYCHIRL and see the ridiculous amount of fun that a bunch of people that met over the Internet were able to have over one weekend in New York City.

Continue reading How Two Nights in New York Changed Our World

My Reaction to +The White House Google+ Hangout with President Barack Obama

Over the last several months, Google has been pushing its new technology hard. They have been holding concerts in New York City, spending time with the Dalai Lama and hosting celebrities like David Beckham.

Initially these hangouts seemed extremely organic. Such as the one with +will.i.am, where I got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hangout with him virtually one-on-one and ask him about social media and where music is going with this new technology. That happened purely by coincidence, I was in the right place at the right time.

That’s how this network works and that’s how a lot of opportunities work. You have to be at the right place at the right time. Continue reading My Reaction to +The White House Google+ Hangout with President Barack Obama

The Misinformation Age

Do you remember 10 years ago when people said, “don’t trust everything you read on the Internet?” It seems that statement has almost come full circle as uninformed politicians and news commentators tackle subjects like SOPA and Google’s new consolidated privacy policy.

We now live in an age where our country’s (and world’s) economic engine runs on the ability for people to easily connect around the globe. This is not done with wireless telegraph, overseas phone transmissions or airmail, but by a network of computers connected through a series of switches, routers and other transmission devices.

Continue reading The Misinformation Age