By Ben Boudreau
Before it even began, Podcamp Halifax was ready to launch the social media scene of Atlantic Canada into orbit with the help of keynote speaker and founder of Rocketboom.com, Andrew Baron. For most of us, the thought of sustaining a daily international news program online may sound daunting enough but for Andrew and his team it's just another day in the life of the people behind the podcast featured in The New York Times, Rolling Stone and even CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Andrew's keynote, delivered to a diverse crowd spanning all ages, industries and levels of expertise, covered a lot of ground but one of the biggest takeaways was his analogy of social media immersion. He suggested quite eloquently that learning how to use social media is like adjusting to a new city and culture. If you were to move to North Korea, you would adapt and get your footing faster by leaving the house, eating at local restaurants, talking to people and exploring surroundings. If you were to just sit inside your house and peek out the window, you wouldn't get the same level of understanding.
To understand social media, you have to be a citizen of the internet both taking information from the community and contributing to it. Read more blogs, get a Twitter account and follow people, participate, comment, and push yourself past being an observer to truly witness the value of social media today.
Oh – and don't claim to be a social media expert. Andrew will make fun of you and you will deserve it.
Here's a brief interview with Andrew before his keynote at the first ever Podcamp Halifax:
1) What are the major factors that contributed to Rocketboom's fan following?
Being one of the "first" is always helpful. It gives anyone a
frontrunner advantage. Also, we have been very transparent and do not
try to be objective. People gravitate towards what feels more real and
truthful, I think. A lot of people like our creative ways of presenting
the news compared to other, traditional sources.
2) How are things different for bloggers and podcasters today versus when you started?
The space is much more saturated now, of course, but the great thing is
that a marketplace is developing and thats positive for people who want
to pursue these activities out of passion. Independent Media is
3) If you were to do it all again, what would you do differently?
Its hard to image what I could of done differently. I think I pushed
the limits of all the tools I had available to me and I could not have
put in more time, care or effort into it. Whatever negatives were
likely a result of my own personal limitations and weaknesses, but not
4) What's your absolute favourite site/video/blog/podcast/anything on the internet these days?
5) What's the one thing, person, company, tool, or movement to watch in social media for 2009?
Predictions: 2009 is about Facebook and Twitter which will grow to
daunting proportions as people share and publish twice as much data
about themselves this year as last year. A rise of semantic web
applications will run in the background automatically pulling in data
sources from content platforms, dynamically presenting the data in
relevant ways that appeal to niche user interests.
http://podcamphalifax.ca for online video of the event's presentations.
They will be uploaded as soon as they become available!