By Zoe Yve
The eighth annual PodCamp Toronto unconference was held at the Rogers Communications Centre on Feb. 22 and 23. Over two days, fifty-four sessions took place covering topics from social media and podcasting to transhumanism and body hacking.
At Podcamp Toronto, attendees are called participants rather than audience members. Unconferences are meant to encourage interaction between the speaker and attendees. “It’s a community-focused event. You come and make your own event out of it,” said Rayanne Langdon, the content director and member of the organizing team for PodCamp Toronto.
Unconferences started to gain popularity after Tim O’Reilly, an open source and free software advocate, hosted Foo Camp which allowed attendees to change the itinerary on a whiteboard, essentially shaping the content and flow of the event.
Nikola Danaylov, known for his work on a podcast called Singularity 1 on 1 presented on the first day of PodCamp Toronto 2014. He was speaking at PodCamp Toronto for the third time and wanted to attend the sessions after his own, to network, to promote his podcast and practice public speaking.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for anyone,” he said of the unconference.
Langdon said that some people have expressed concerns about the authenticity and content of some presentations, but nothing will be done to change that.
“We have the Law of Two Feet, if what you hear is bullshit, you get up to leave. People would find that rude in formal conferences but that’s not what this is. Everyone’s supposed to learn something,” Langdon said.
Feedback was very positive during Town Hall, the end-of-the-unconference survey, she said. “They really enjoyed the experience and the speakers felt everyone was really grateful. They feel appreciated.”
This article was edited after its original publication.