» This weekend Mandi and I went to KennedyKamp ’09. That should read: Podcamp Toronto 2009. It was supposedly a podcasting (un)convention but really it was a “media studies poser douche” conference. Which, really, I knew it would be just from the term “un-convention”—a term meaning the ‘organizers” had applied wiki-theory to the organizatiom of a conference. It was prosumerism in effect as the attendees organically created the event online. A neat idea, but the execution was a rambling shambles of an event. Also fine in itself, but perhaps more aesthetically suited to zinesters or crafters than uber-techy bloggers. It seemed unfocused amidst the veritable sea of cutting-edge iPhones, laptops and gadgets I’d never seen before.
The focus of the event was also not geared towards my interests. I’m pretty realistic about blogging (technically I don’t blog anyway, this is an online diary) and podcasting. Podcamp was full of men and women who were clearly either attempting to make a living in new media or, more likely, dreaming about it. These are the same marketing oriented weasels you’d see at web-design events ten years ago. Now you can find enough open source tools out there you don’t need to be a designer to blog and podcast, so this sm-army of smooth talking nerds has migrated over to “social media” enterprises (in better economic times many of them could have looked forward to careers in publishing and TV). They all enough had dollar signs in their eyes to fill up the terabytes of storage space they carried on their person in several devices.
I speak somewhat hypocritically. I would love for Ampersand Publishing / Podcasts to sustain itself (and me) financially. But ultimately, I don’t think it’s going to happen the way people at Podcamp seemed believe it’s possible it can happen. I’ve never be struck with so many people being so earnestly (and arrogantly) enamoured with a pipedream since getting involved with the music business.
But all that is beside the point. Mandi and I didn’t go to hand out Nerd Hurdles business cards (which I had printed), we went to meet up with fellow podcaster Kennedy. I’ve “known” him online for about a year (Mandi about four months) and he’s one of the people I’ve been most excited about meeting. Not only because his podcasts and blog are pretty impressive, but he’s always seemed like a genuine person, if not rather surly. I have to admit I was actually somewhat concerned about meeting him. I wasn’t sure if he’d be even more grumpy than he sometimes comes off as online, or if he’d be a massive new media weasel douchebag like most of the podcampers and, ultimately, if we’d just not hit it off and thing’s would be weird on the forum we frequent and Twitter from then on.
Within seconds, my fears were put to rest. Kennedy is a warm, funny, wry (not surly) and, indeed, genuine guy. Neither weasel, nor douchebag, it was like meeting an old friend from university, not a complete stranger. Though not a tall as I’d expected. You can hear his take on Podcamp (he was more positive about it) and our meeting by clicking the words Weather Station 3.