BeeBCamp 3 – the Wrap-Up

(This entry is cross-posted from the BeeBCamp blog)

the London schedule board – image by Roo Reynolds

It is done. BeeBCamp 3 has come and gone, leaving a trail of tweets, photos and blog posts strewn in its wake.

With a total of 11 tables spread across 2 cities having simultaneous sessions, I can’t hope to give an authoritative summary of the whole day. An unconference like this tends to be a different experience for every person, as few people will attend all the same discussions throughout the day.

Roo Reynolds, Andrew Bowden, Charlie Beckett, and Paul Murphy of the BBC Internet Blog have already written up some of their impressions of the day. There are a lot of photos on Flickr already, and more will come.

One big new thing this time around was holding the conference in two places, with one table at each location  video-linked to the other instance.

Here’s what it looked like at the London end:

image by Roo Reynolds on Flickr

And, in Manchester:

image by cubicgarden on Flickr

We ran morning sessions from London, with Manchester attending, and afternoon sessions at the linked table were run from Manchester. It was the first time a lot of delegates, including myself, got to work with this kind of videoconferencing set-up, and it really worked surprisingly well. The image and sound quality is very high, with none of the lagginess and digital image artefacting you can get with something like Skype. As long as the session leaders remembered to make a point of including people on the other side of the screen, there was a real sense of presence. Definitely something to repeat.

What next?

It’s becoming normal at the end of a BeeBCamp to get people together and talk about what to do next with the energy and connections the day has mobilized. This time we had a joint discussion about this, across both instances.

One of the good ideas from this discussion was to keep the BeeBCamp vibe going by having more sessions spread throughout the UK – Glasgow, Cardiff, important regional centres. They could be smaller or shorter events, even just a lunchtime meetup. But they’d keep the open exchange of ideas and initiative flowing. It might even be an idea to hold a whole bunch of events simultaneously in various BBC locations across the country. They wouldn’t even need to be linked live; as long as the sessions had a way to report back – such as this blog – they’d all be part of the same general event. Annual or semi-annual BeeBCamps could then be the plenary session that brings it all together.

If you were at BeeBCamp 3 and want to take the day’s connections further, get in touch. If you couldn’t come, but think there’s something happening here you’d like to find out more about, get in touch! We want to do everything we can to find better ways of working together.

Huge thanks to everyone who helped make the day a success: to Ian Forrester and Simon Lumb for hosting the Manchester instance, to David Hayward for all his help, to Adrian Woolard, who was our captain and held all the threads together across the UK, to Angelique Halliburton for her help on the day, to Andy Wilson, Erik Huggers and Peter Salmon for supporting BeeBCamp.

And a really big thank you to everyone who came and everyone who pitched in. You’re the reason BeeBCamp works. I’ve noted down a few things about how we thought we could make BeeBCamp better. But hindsight is always 20/20, and good ideas can come with time. So if you’ve got any thoughts on how we could make BeeBCamp better – let’s hear ’em! The comments field awaits.

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