October 25th, 2007

Last Saturday I attended MediaCamp at BCUC in High Wycombe and after the last couple of busy days I’ve only now finally found the time to blog about it. On it’s website, MediaCamp is described as this:

It’s an UnConference with a strong educational flavour for gamers, bloggers, casts, and new media professionals & amateurs for one day to share, explore, challenge, and grow our abilities in new media. Learn about audio and video podcasting, blogging, photography, Second Life, Twitter, and all kinds of other new and social media tools.

I’ll highlight the stuff that I liked and also dwell on some of things that in my eyes could have made it better.

The Good Interesting

In total I went to six different sessions, three in the morning and three in the afternoon after lunch. The first was an introduction to Second Life by Chris Hambly. I’ve never used/experienced/tried out Second Life before, so it was great to see what all the fuss is about. To be honest, though, I personally still don’t see the “use” of SL; why would I want to hang around all day in a virtual world with a virtual life? My real (First) life is interesting and busy enough as it is and if I want to escape it, I’ll play a real game (like FF or WoW).


Another great session was Eaon Pritchard‘s talk about Interactive advertising and TV 2.0. (I didn’t take any notes so excuse me if I get my facts wrong, I’m writing this purely on memory) He talked about an tv advertisement his company did for the Xbox 360 using the interactive Red Button. During the ad the word EGG appeared at a certain fragment and three small eggs were visible at the bottom of the screen with one egg coloured green (indicating Level 1). By typing the word ‘egg’ in with the remote control, you unlocked the second level: two sheep saying ‘ofni’ (info backwards). After you filled ‘info’ in, there was a third level, but I don’t remember exactly what that was. Once you finished all three levels, you had conquered the game and could leave your name behind. The interesting thing was that for weeks nobody had discovered the hidden levels, but the instant 1 person figured it out it spread rapidly. Within a couple of hours of that first person, 25 more finished the game; a couple of hours after that, 1000 people. After a couple of days 1.9 million people had completed the hidden levels. This whole story led to a great discussion on viral marketing and what techniques had been used with other advertisements.


For lunch I went to The Noodle Bar with Twain, Improbulus, Sarah Blow and Steve Lamb. I loved the noodles and it was great to talk with the more tech savvy people instead of the media/marketing-oriented people (who were clearly in the majority at MediaCamp).

After lunch there was a talk I was looking forward to called Job Hunting for Grads 2.0. Being almost finished with my studies (3, 4 months) and having no experience whatsoever with finding a job, I really need some help/info/tips on this all. The session, however, was more focused on finding a job within the advertisement world and wasn’t really helpful for me. It was an interesting story though; Sam Ismail told us about the “stunts” he and a friend did to get scholarships at Saatchi & Saatchi.

Once all the sessions were done (and we were kicked out of politely asked to leave the building) there was a fun jam session in the pub. I surprisingly don’t know as many lyrics as I thought :D.


The Bad Not So Good

Although there were interesting moments and a great atmosphere, there were a couple of things that could have made the whole experience better.

A hungry stomach cannot hear.
For starters, the event wasn’t sponsored, so there wasn’t anything to eat or drink. In itself that wouldn’t have been so bad, but the closest coffee place was 10 minutes away. If I had known that, I would have brought some snacks and drinks along (it didn’t help that I skipped breakfast, but that’s my own stupid mistake). I do understand though, how difficult it is to find sponsors for these type of events, especially for the first time around.


Strength lies in numbers.
One problem was about only 30 people showed up and with such a small group the topics that will be discussed are kind of limited. For instance, there wasn’t anything about games (sidenote: I don’t see Second Life as a game; it’s a procrastination technique). While there was the space and opportunity to do something spontaneous on the spot, it was tricky to figure out if there was any interest for it. I think with a larger group of people there is more room for different types of sessions. At BarCamp Brighton we were with “only” 100 people (I say “only”, because so many more signed up, but only 100 were allowed) and the diversity of the topics was excellent.


All in all, it was an interesting event and I met a whole bunch of great people! MediaCamp has the potential to be a very engaging event, even though it’s not quite there yet. With more attendees and sponsors this could be a great get-together to talk about all things media.