I don’t know if you’ve heard of South By South West Interactive (oft. shortened to SXSWi)?
It’s an annual ‘emerging technologies’ conference held in Austin, Texas and is by all accounts a pretty mind-blowing event. A fair few locals have gone along to it this year, leaving some of us folk left behind feeling a bit left out of all the excitement.
So, Shona suggested via Twitter that maybe it’d be good if we had our own, local version? And we could even hook up with the folks in Texas via the power of the interwebs?!
The idea stuck and within a week, Shona and others had sorted the date for WXWM (West By West Midlands), I’d put together a little logo (‘cos that’s what I do!), a room at The Kitchen Garden Cafe was booked and the delegate list was filled. Wow!
The main thrust of the event was that anyone who wanted to do a 5 minute panel about anything to do with webby, social media type-things could present to the rest of us.
WXWM took place last Saturday and was fantastic. It was organised enough to run smoothly but not so much as to feel starchy or uptight. And the talks were all so different but, without exception, interesting and thought-provoking. I learned a huge amount, so thanks to everyone who took the time to put a panel together.
What turns out to be Birmingham’s first ever Barcamp was truly a great event and I really hope there’ll be a repeat next year, if not before. If you’re curious about what went on, the WXWM blog has video, photos and some additional background to the event.
I’m really pleased to live in a place where something like this can happen – and be such a success. Go Birmingham!