Maybe it’s time to rethink the word “Podcamp”

This post is meant to start a discussion. I have a deep respect for everyone that put work into organizing Podcamp Boston 3. I’m sure it’s difficult to organize a conference the size of the one this past weekend and I appreciate everyone who contributed to getting it together.

My impression of Podcamp Boston 3 is that it’s time to rethink the word of Podcamp as a name for these parties we throw for ourselves. This year the direction of Podcamp Boston 3 shifted away from podcasting. This isn’t just the opinion of one person, but an opinion that I know is shared by other people that attended. Not podcasting, but “Social media” dominated the discussion. With each discussion that I overheard, no one could define what social media is. I refuse to get sucked into this lunacy. The term social media is just a way to sex up the Internet once more.

Social media as defined by wikipedia:

Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, message boards, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few. Examples of social media applications are Google Groups (reference, social networking), Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), Facebook (social networking), (personal music), YouTube (social networking and video sharing), Avatars United (social networking), Second Life (virtual reality), Flickr (photo sharing), Twitter (social networking and microblogging) and other microblogs such as Jaiku and Pownce. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms like Mybloglog and Plaxo.

Dan Patterson put up a post reflecting back on Podcamp Boston 3. I suggest that you read it: Dan Patterson on Podcamp Boston. His thoughts are close to my own.

Perhaps Michael Geohagan was right. Maybe Podcasting is Dead and Podcamps should go the way of the Podcast and New Media Expo. The term “Social Media Camp” fits what just happened in Boston better than Podcamp does, and it hops on the bandwagon of a buzzword, just like Podcamp did back in 2006.

I have a lot to say about Podcamp, and I’ll be saying it on the blog and across the internet on other blog’s comments, my Twitter, 12Seconds, Seesmic and other accounts. I’m not offering non-constructive criticism here. I think it’s time to change the name of the conference for the sake of clarity.

Let me very clear about this. I am not saying the conference was a failure, nor am I saying that I did not have a great time there. I am saying that it is time to seriously consider retiring the word Pocamp and moving forward as a community if Podcamp Boston 3 is an indication of the direction that we are headed in. Despite how we define Podcamp (the definition changes regularly), perhaps “pod” is getting in the way of public perception. The public will always hear “pod” and associate that with the iPod.

Am I off base? I think that it is it time to change the name and follow the example set by the New Media Expo and move on from “pod” and podcasting if this is our focus? Let me know with a text or video comment. Seesmic comments are new to the blog as of this post.

Update #1: There’s some conversation going on at David Fisher’s blog What is Noise as well as at Dan’s previously mentioned blog.