awesome.

Since I’ve had a few days to digest my PodCamp Pittsburgh 3 experience last weekend, I’ve come up with a single word to reflect what I’m feeling — frustration.

I’m not frustrated because I didn’t learn anything — I did.

I’m not frustrated because we failed to embark upon an effort that I think could turn out to be important — we did.

And I’m definitely not frustrated because I didn’t have any fun — oh boy, I did.

With this turning out to be one of the busiest weeks of my life, I haven’t had the time to sit down here and do much of what I was inspired to do as a result of PodCamp. And that’s frustrating.

I’ve been meaning to move this over to a WordPress.org account for weeks; over the weekend, I watched John Carman walk a group through the process and I got some tips from Cindy about organizing a WordPress blog to maximize its search results. I would have done that Monday night if I hadn’t been busy with, uh, something else.

I also haven’t yet posted to omgpittsburgh.com, a group blog we founded to give Pittsburghers a place to tell everyone else about their town. I think omgpittsburgh.com could really turn into something big — and I’m proud to have been part of its creation.

I also need to follow up on a hallway conversation I had with Father Spoon about a Rust Belt beer tour — what would be our part of an exchange of information and ideas with our neighboring industrial cities.

I haven’t had time to do any of this. But it’s coming. Soon.

That’s what PodCamp is about — information and inspiration. As I did a year ago, I came away with both. There are people who visit here regularly who need to attend next year’s event, because the stuff we cover would be helpful in their personal and professional lives.

And next year, you’ll have a reserved room at Hotel Crappy. We’ll be in touch.

What have I had time for since PodCamp wrapped up on Sunday? I did manage to finish this:

And this:

We still have about a week’s worth of work before things calm down a bit — and even then I’m not sure when we’re going to have Internet access in the new place — but once that stuff is taken care of, I’m going to be rolling, with memories of PodCamp Pittsburgh 3 pushing me along.

podcamping.

We’re just a few hours away from the start of the third edition of PodCamp Pittsburgh3. This time, I know what to expect. And that makes the anticipation even better.

Social media was a pretty big deal to me even before I walked through the doors of the Art Institute last summer for what would be my first full PodCamp. When I left, I took along some knowledge of several new platforms, a bunch of new ideas and what turned out to be more than a dozen good friends.

That’s worth a weekend, right?

Even with what I learned last time — and what I’ve learned since — there’s still plenty of stuff out there for me this time around. Sessions about maximizing your returns on search engines? More audio stuff than I can handle? I’m going to have a full weekend once again.

You should give it a try too. Did you go last year? You’ll find you’re in the same boat as me — there’s still lots more to discover. Are you a complete newbie, like I was a year ago? This is perfect for you — there are no attitudes, just lots of people who will be interested in what you hope to do and willing to help you get started.

It’s petty simple kids — if you can get to the Art Institute this weekend, you should be there. Do what I did — register at podcamppittsburgh.com, show up and see what there is for you.

Me? I’m hoping I can find someone to show me how to type.

Uncle Crappy’s going to be at PodCamp Pittsburgh this weekend. Are you?

See you there.

friday five (minus two): podcamp pittsburgh 3

You may recall that I tried my hand at a Friday Five entry back in July, when that week’s theme matched with the NaBloPoMo theme for the month. Since then, my Friday Five participation has been, uh, a bit lax — as in, I haven’t done any.

Whoops.

But my friend Dawn has challenged the Pittsburgh group to answer a series of questions surrounding next month’s PodCamp Pittsbugh. She said we should do it on Friday, as in today. This one I think I’ll try.

1.  What brought you to Social Media and what keeps you hanging around?

I was doing this stuff before I knew it was called social media. The online version of my life will celebrate its fifth anniversary in November, but for the first few years I was writing Uncle Crappy, I wasn’t really aware of the broader scope of what was out there, what other people were doing. I was simply interacting with my friends who were scattered around the country, and I was keeping up with some new friends — some of which I still haven’t met — by reading and commenting on their blogs, as they did with mine.

I attended just a few sessions of the first PodCamp Pittsburgh. I remember being terrified; my technical knowledge was eons behind that of my fellow podcampers — and it still is, by the way — so those sessions were at once intimidating and enlightening. That Saturday gave me just a glimpse of the possibilities of social media, but that was enough to keep me looking for more.

By the time last year’s PodCamp Pittsburgh was ready to go, I was ready, for two reasons — my personal involvement in social media and the notion that I could bring back some things that could help my newspaper take a few steps towards online relevance. The latter goal is only partially successful; I still struggle to convince my editors that we should be doing much more than we do. But on a personal level, I’ve found new ways of connecting with the people around me. I’ve built new friendships. And although I still struggle with some aspects of the technology behind the tools we use, I’ve opened a door that I don’t intend to close.

2.  Which social networking tool gives you the shakes when it’s not updated or is experiencing down time?  (Podcasts, Blogs, Micro-blogging, etc)

I’ve been irritated when Twitter takes one of its frequent vacations. I check Plurk almost to the point of obsession. But this here is the one, my primary tool. The free service at WordPress has never given me any trouble — in fact, I’m the only cause of downtime at Uncle Crappy. But even on those days when I open up the admin side and then slink away because I have nothing to offer, I still feel guilty.

3.   What kind of insight could you offer to others on a topic at PCPGH3?  If none, then what do you most want to hear more about?

As I noted before, I’m not sure I have the technical knowledge to present something in a PodCamp kind of setting, but I can — and happily will — offer this to anyone who asks:

You can do this.

Technical knowledge and experience is nice, and certainly helpful — but it’s not necessary. If you have something to say, say it. Visit Blogger or WordPress.com if writing is what you want to do. Open an account on Twitter or Plurk. If you want to get in deeper, there are tons of easy ways to start audio or video podcasting. In the last year, I’ve taught myself audio and video editing, and I’m an acknowledged idiot.

You can do this.

I can’t speak for social media communities in other towns, but if you’re in Pittsburgh, you’ll find plenty of people who are willing to offer help, advice, expertise — and you might even find yourself on a softball team. There’s help out there — all you have to do is ask. PodCamp Pittsburgh 3 would be the perfect place to start, too. Everyone I read, watch and listen to will be there — and they’ll be just as willing to help you as they did with me.

You can do this. And next month would be the perfect time to start.