I am writing this post because I promised I would, and dammit, I keep my word!
But seriously, go read what Crystal has to say in her post: Ten Steps to Organizing a BarCamp. Below are just my own notes from helping to organize BarCampMilwaukee2. (Please note I said helping to organizing. It’s definitely a team effort, and none of us could have done it alone, so build a good team!)
We found a mailing list essential. This was the way ideas got out there and discussed. We wanted to keep things in the open, so almost all conversation through email was public, and anyone could join the list. If someone had something to offer, we wanted them to be able to without feeling like they had to join some secret club.
We met in person a number of times. Typically we’d do in-person discussions and try to make decisions. Again, these meeting were public and announced on the mailing list. Afterwards, we posted the results to the mailing list and web site for people to comment on. Through this process we hoped no one was feeling left out due to missing meetings. We felt that if you made the effort to make your voice be heard, someone would listen.
We had a great core group for BarCampMilwaukee2, so tasks got broken up pretty well. Shirt art and ordering, table-renting, projector-finding, mailing list managing, web site building, food/beverage shopping, meal planning, sponsor-wrangling, money co-ordinating… Luckily no single person got stuck doing all of those things. In some cases people did more than one task, but they usually had help, or backup as well.
Community building is a big part of BarCamp, and we definitely did that this time around, through the process of planning, as well as the event itself. Personally, this is one of the main reasons I am involved with BarCamp, to build community, meet new people, make connections – even if they are not directly involving me – I find it amazing that Person X and Person Y, whom I both knew prior to BarCamp, now seem to be great friends and hang out together, that’s the coolest part. Robots and promoting technology are cool, but for me it’s all about community.