On Friday after speaking at an event built around marketing for village halls I headed off, on what seemed like a titanic journey, to Belfast to their Barcamp.
I have to say I was a little reluctant about the trip, the barcamp Belfast website, told me who was going and towards the end of last week was updated with some of the confirmed speakers. The only thing was I couldn’t find any conversations on-line about it, I tweeted a few times to see if anyone would be around on the Friday and got no response. But being the intrepid explorer off I went anyway. After 3 trains and a delayed flight I finally made it to my hotel about 9PM.
I thought the best thing to do would be to have a quick walk around, find where the barcamp was being held and see a bit of the city. I was quite impressed with the bits that I saw, bits of it are very modern with lots of new money and development going on and bits of it were just like Stoke-on-Trent, derelict buildings or fenced off plots of land with rubble giving barely an indication of what used to be there. I found this really strange garden while I was walking around.
Whoever keeps this has planted stuff in old prams, chairs, bins, buckets and general stuff you find lying around. I carried on found where I needed to be on Saturday morning and headed back to the hotel for a well deserved pint and some sleep.
On Saturday after an excellent breakfast, I headed out in to the sunshine and over to the University of Ulster to register.
I did the obligatory registration (wrote my name & twitter ID on a sticky label), grabbed a drink, had a chat to a few people who were there early and went off to find the schedule. As it was so early there was quite a lot of blank space in the schedule, but this was to be filled in quite quickly as more people arrived.
The sessions I wanted to attend were all after lunch in the same room and ran one after another, which left the morning for me to have a look in at some of the other sessions.
The first session was SEO for web developers, I’m always sceptical about people talking about SEO but Barry Adams, (a Dutchman with an English name living in Northern Ireland!) provided a very interesting session, just explaining in very simple terms, what is good and more importantly, what is bad, when it comes to SEO for you sites.
I dipped out of the next session as I need to find power for my laptop.
My second session of the day was Davy MacDonald talking about how to get the most out of your iPhone camera, as a keen semi pro photographer I was interested in what he had to say. I even learnt a few things to boot! Davy obviously passionate about his photography and that came through in his presentation.
My final session before lunch was Paul Evans, of Slugger O’Toole fame, talking about the problems and barriers that people in large organisations face when trying to use social media. His 50 small barriers made for an interesting discussion, we all agreed that we shouldn’t blame the IT manager for all the barriers, but in some cases there should be exceptions.