Podcamp 2010

podcampI made my annual pilgrimage to “PodCamp Nashville” this past Saturday. This is one of two big “New Media” events I really look forward to, because New Media – meaning blogging, podcasting, and web video is still in its infancy and it’s exciting to be a part of its “coming of age”. Considering the search engine giant Google was incorporated only 11 years ago, there’s really no telling where the web (and web content) might be in another 10 years.

So what is PodCamp? Here’s how the promoters put it. “If digital content is truly king, then PodCamp Nashville is a royal playpen for digital enthusiasts all unto its own. It’s Nashville’s top event for sharing expertise about new media creation, distribution and promotion-an opportunity to find your digital voice.”

Considering the reference to “Pod” in the name, one might infer that the event is dedicated to the art of Podcasting, which means creating web content as a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and downloaded through web syndication. A few years ago, when PodCamp was introduced to the Nashville area, that was true. The event has begun a transformation of late, and podcasting, while still a relevant part of the all-day event, has been largely de-emphasized in favor of a more social media promotion-based syllabus.

PodCamp is billed as an “un-conference” in that it’s more interactive than a traditional seminar. I often find I learn more from the audience questions than from the speakers presentation. Being immersed in social media, an integral part of web design and online marketing (my profession), I find myself thinking that everyone knows what it’s all about, like how to use Facebook or Twitter to build business or create loyal clients – even in a down economy. But this is not the case.

PodCamp is attended by all sorts of folks – many geeks like me, but I’ve also noticed an influx of music industry executives (and their minions) all hoping to take advantage of the popularity of social media – and the power it wields to take a virtual unknown to star status.

I was approached by a promoter whose client took an unusual approach to musical stardom (you’d recognize his music if you watched the soaps – which I don’t). He’s marketed himself to television producers, writing music for TV, and is now shooting music videos for an upcoming album. His producer was well versed in traditional promotion, but was unsure how to engage his clients growing fan-base in the social media arena. I was able to point him in the right direction, and I’m sure we’ll have fun with this part of his new promotion strategy.

Social media – like any effective promotional effort – needs to be planned, implemented and managed. Many of the questions I heard revealed a void between what Facebook or Twitter fans would tell you – and the reality of marketing in the digital age. “Build it – and They Will Come” just doesn’t fly any longer.

About the Author:

Ken Ivey, aka “the Web Czar” – wants to help you leverage social media to reach your goals. His website www.midtntechnology.com

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