1. Fear of not being “Tech-savvy” enough.
BarcampLA is not just for coders. Though the focus is on technology, we gather people of all disciplines, philosophies and skillsets for the purpose of knowledge sharing and community building. The use of technology to connect people and improve lives is a shared goal and passion of most Barcampers. You will not be ridiculed or diminished if you don’t speak in binary, or if you have no idea who Ruby is, or why she’s on Rails, or why people would be talking about the cleaning product AJAX. People who come to Barcamp are programmers as well as users, and if you don’t understand something, someone there will be kind enough to explain it to you. Isn’t that beautiful?
2. Fear of socializing in Meatspace
Coming out from behind the screen can be daunting. Our online avatars do so much of our socializing for us. BarcampLA has a host of other things to do besides attending seminars. Food, drinks, games, engineering challenges, jell-o shots, networking for collaborative projects and jobs, free schwag. Like a trade show, but more fun, and most importantly – FREE. And you can camp overnight if you want. Or you can be like me, show up, do a presentation and lurk in the back talking to other fellow lurkers. It’s just like being online!
3. Fear of participating as a presenter
You’re not required to get up in front of people and do a presentation if you don’t want to. Participation means attendance, helping out to set up, clean up, showing up, taking photos you can upload to Flickr, liveblogging and generally being a decent, not-obnoxious attendee. Previous presentations have focused on new applications and best practices, and have included sessions as diverse as “How to Make a Digital Camera for $35″, “3D Metaverse Roadmap” , “Coder Yoga” , “XML-RPC APIs” , “GTD with Google Tools” and “Web 2.0, the pain, problems and paradoxes”.
4. Fear of “L.A. People”
No glam, fancy cars, or press passes are required, and paparazzi are absolutely invited to capture photographic evidence of technophiles in a collaboratively created weekend terrarium. And while you may fear “L.A.” people, rest assured that the Barcamp in LA is not a clusterfuck of incestuous blogerati bending over to kiss each other’s asses like the Oscars or some ____Camp up in NorCal (who are just trying to get mentioned in Valleywag anyway). (just kidding, i’m a born San Franciscan. I’m not hating. Maybe trolling. A little. Teeny bit. Skosh.)
For the uninitiated who don’t really know what the hell an “ad-hoc unconference” means – BarcampLA is a biannual weekend-long event hosted, created, facilitated and populated by people seeking to build community, share knowledge, meet, greet and make friends/strategic alliances with other motivated individuals who want to learn and get involved with using technology to connect and share personal experiences and other data sets. Organizers are unpaid. Registration is free. Sponsors who want to reach out to this “wired” demographic help pay for the event location, food, drinks, schwag, and bring info, product demos and opportunities. It’s an “open and collaborative” environment rather than a competitive one.
C’mon down. Don’ be skeered.