Always, the build-up to commscamp has been exciting and this year is no different.
At commscamp, there is no agenda. This gets set on the day and it is always fun to see the ideas emerge.
Of course, what gets kicked around ahead of time is not always what appears on the day but it can be a good indicator.
When commscamp first started in 2012, the focus was on platforms and tools. As time has gone on, this has shifted.
What types of session are there? Here’s my take.
The channel session
These focus on a particular channel and trying to understand how to use it better. Home to the old favourite: ‘Is anyone using Snapchat? Because I don’t even begin to understand it.’
The channel sub-genre session
Not content just to be using a rarely used platform this session fits around a real desire to see how a particular platform can be used for a particular audience.
Like: ‘Can we work out how to use Instagram for dog walkers who don’t pick up after themselves?’.
Or ‘Can we use Twitch for realtime CCTV monitoring.’ (Answer: probably not).
But I always think the four people who congregate around a particular topic are among the happiest of campers. They’ve found their tribe. It may only be four. But they have a love that endures and we will never understand.
The therapy session
This one is a belter. It is the AOB of commscamp and exists to be a safe space for venting your chest. Chatham House rule applies. If you are in it, it feels so much better to unload about an issue that’s bothering you and know that others have been in the same boat too.
The horizon scanning post
This session sees a discussion around something new and different. Most people won’t be up to speed on the topic but it deserves some of your attention as you’ll find out about something. Going back a few years, I first heard about WordPress as a website and infographics at one of these sessions. We did virtual reality last year. I try and go to at least one of these to expand my knowledge.
The sharing the sweets post
This session sees someone do something quite well and share how they did it. It’s rarely a 45 minute spell of someone holding court. It often starts in one direction and moves somewhere entirely unexpected.
Some of the best sessions I’ve ever been to have involved borderline raised voices and tempers. It’s never quite spilled over into a discussion on the car park, I have to say. The session about press releases being over from one of the early commscamps was a thing of beauty.
The specialist session
These sessions are run by experts in their field and can cut through months of anguish. I’m thinking here of David Banks, the media law expert. Or Andy Mabbett on wikipedia.
The plea for help session
These ones start with a request for all hands to the pump. The session proposer is bailing out in a sinking boat and wouldn’t mind a hand. These can bring surprisingly good results as people rally round. In the early days of social media, the plea was often to try and understand it, which feels slightly archaic.
The non-digital session
While the focus for commscamp has been digital we’re not against the idea of people talking about some good old fashioned analogue issues. Like should we have a council newspaper. Or whether posters are always a good idea (A: not always, but they can be.)
The corridor session
These are gems. These are what makes commscamp beautiful. The chance conversation that leads to a wider discussion with someone you may or may not have met. They can take place in the corridor, during a lunch break or sat by the pool (actually, the canal).
Qualifications you need to pitch for a session yourself at commscamp
You need a ticket and a pulse.
We find that anything more just complicates things.
You can see the ideas emerge for sessions for commscamp in our Facebook group here.
Picture credit: Nigel Bishop.