Unconferencing the Conference

Our unconference coordinator, Cami Kaos, explains:

This year’s WordCamp Portland has two unconference times in addition to the speakers we’ve chosen in advance.

What’s that? “Unconference, what?” you say? I suppose for some of you an unconference explanation may be in order, after all the first time I saw the term I was in bed browsing twitter on my laptop and thought, “An unconference? That could be anything. I’m unconferencing right now.”

But I was unconferencing by myself. It’s an entirely different experience when you’re surrounded by a couple hundred other conference-goers with interests that align with your own. So what exactly is an unconference?

It’s a meeting or conference driven by its participants. That means the conference organizers have to let go on the reins a bit so the attendees can decide what the sessions will be. For two of the time blocks (and in all of our available rooms) we’ll have unconference sessions instead of preordained speakers. What will the sessions be about? Anything. As long as it’s WordPress or blogging related. Development, design, content creation? It’s up to you because…

You give the talk. Or lead the discussion group. Or the workshop. Have something to say at WordCamp but didn’t get your talk submitted in time? It wasn’t selected? Just realized you have a burning WordPress idea you want to share with others? Well then you’re just the person to lead an unconference talk. Show up early with your talk or discussion in mind because…

An unconference isn’t unscheduled. By the time you arrive at WordCamp we’ll have an unconference board ready to go. First thing in the morning attendees will propose and select the sessions, with a little help from the unconference coordinator where needed. By the time the first talk of the day starts we’ll have everything arranged so attendees can keep all the sessions in mind while planning out their schedules for the day.

Between the carefully selected speakers, unconference sessions, and the camaraderie that always comes with WordCamp, I’m sure this year’s event will be one to remember. See you all soon!

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