Post Barcamp Charleston 3

Another successful Barcamp Charleston is over and done with.

Feeling somewhat emboldened after this year's Dragon*Con I decided to wear my Star Trek robe to BarcampCHS this year. I figured it would be a fun thing to do, and if nothing else would probably make everybody's Barcamp experience just a little more memorable. I think that mission was accomplished.

My friend and fellow photographer Joe Nienstedt took this photo of me in my robe yesterday. The toque (hat) I'm wearing is an awesome Barcamp hat that Vera knitted for the organizers.
BarCampCHS

Joe also did a great job of people wrangling and got a cool group photo after lunch yesterday.
BarCampCHS Group Photo

BFS made it out for its third Barcamp and survived another event
BFS

There were a pretty good number of sessions pitched, although not as many as last year. Voting was done using stickers although there was plenty of room for sessions.
Session voting

Everywhere I went, there were groups of people chatting, networking, sharing tidbits of information and getting to know other people they might not otherwise have met. It's what Barcamp is all about.
Hanging out between sessions

I think this year's Barcamp was a little bit smaller than the last couple, although I haven't seen any attendance numbers yet. There were definitely fewer sessions this year, and a lot of techie/programming related topics this year. It was still a pretty good time. I offered up a couple of session this year, CT Scanners: How do they work and an Ask a Medical Physicist Q&A type session. They went well, but didn't get as many people as I expected. The Google Q&A (which has a tendency to suck people away from all the other sessions) was at the same time as my CT talk and my Q&A session was in the last time slot of the day. Still had a few people come by for that and had a nice little discussion about the kinds of things that I do for my real job.

Heading up the stairs to the after party on the outside patio at Mellow Mushroom, I heard a bunch of people yelling and shouting. I was wondering what the heck everybody was yelling about, and as I got closer I realized they were shouting "ROBE GUY!" at me.

Epic. Yep, definitely made Barcamp more memorable for people. Unfortunately I had forgotten to put my robe back on before heading out to the party. Having my robe would have made for more epicness.

Thoughts for next year:
- try to get more of the creative community out. Even though they already have a lot of other outlets (like Pecha Kucha and other similar events) I think there can be a lot of potential for collaboration between the two
- Bacon camp and last year's Homebrew 101 were pretty popular sessions in previous Barcamps. It might be cool to to have food related sessions.
- Maybe Google Q&A needs to be given its own dedicated time slot. The involvement by the local Google data center staff is great and BarcampCHS is very lucky to have their support. Even though they end up getting a lot of questions that can't be answered (either because it's not in their area or they're just not allowed to say), it always seems to be a popular session and it gives people a chance to find out a little bit about the facility. It does tend to drain people away from other sessions though.
- although I was only watching the planning from the sidelines this time, it seemed a lot of effort was spent trying to get around the requirement of having lunch provided by the company that provides CofC's food services. Maybe it would be better to do away with providing lunch and direct people over to some of the many nearby restaurants instead. It would also remove a large expense from the budget.
- Registration seemed to flow much better using the classroom rather than having it out in the lobby of Maybank.
- The first session of the day offered up to user groups as a meet-and-greet/meeting type thing was a good idea. I got to find out about Makelab Charleston and find out the kinds of things they have and are planning on.

Overall, BarcampCHS was still a great time and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year. Maybe this year's robe wearing will start a trend and other people will do something costume-y next year. I certainly had a lot of fun with it.

Check out the rest of my photos in my gallery.