ALONG WITH NINE SOCIAL MEDIA students from Tipperary Institute, I spent a few hours at Barcamp Cork today. I had a hidden agenda--to meet up with Eimear (at left, snapped by Donncha with All Rights Reserved) so I could introduce her to our little barcamper (at right, snapped by my S7000). Thanks to the fine planning by Conor O'Neill (with Damien Mulley the communicator, Pat Phelan the entrepreneur and Kay Wright the receptionist), we got to hang out with Eimear, listen to Sabrina Dent and chat with Pat Phelan. I tried to chat with people I'd never met before and think I was successful in that regard because I left the Cork Webworks with no more than a head nod in the direction of the regulars who come to many of these Irish tech meet-ups. The point of spending a day in Cork was to expose a group of third level students to the pulse point of Irish entrepreneurship. I wanted them to return to the classroom, energised with a clear focus related to how they were going to sustain an online presence of their group identity. As I discovered during the visit of Newshour.org to the Webworks a few weeks ago, there's a special flavour of Irish energy that needs to be recognised and freeze-dried for consideration by all college students who plan to work for themselves or who intend to earn a degree in business. What's happening around Irish Barcamps is special. It's not in any textbooks that I have seen and it's currently undocumented in case studies--so a whole swath of academia remains ignorant about it. Instead, Irish third levels run after the money fenced off for incubation centres or they help sponsor week-long events that showcase work of new businesses. Those kinds of things are worthwhile but in an era of reduced funding, the Barcamp model provides more value for money than most of the showcases I've visited. There needs to be a formal working connection between the two, starting first with attendance at the Barcamp events by members of the Enterprise Ireland, County Enterprise Board, and business faculty members. But seeing how most of the unconferences in Ireland happen on weekends, there's hardly any hope of connecting the week-day practitioners with the weekend Barcamp buzz.
In the future, we're going to come home with video clips and then use that collateral alongside our audio and still photo collections to share the Barcamp buzz with a larger cross-section of people--starting with the staff of our own third level institution in County Tipperary. This is no small thing--look at the number of cross-references Google finds to Barcamp Cork before relegating it to the geeks-only side of the map. And make sure you look at the Faces of Barcamp video.
Sabrina Dent -- "Barcamp: Part the Second"
Donncha O Caoimh snapped the photo of Eimear, the brave. Visit his Barcampcork collection on Flickr.
Krishna De -- "Barcamp Cork II"
Walter Higgins talked about CodeRamble.
You could listen to the Barcampcork buzz on Twitter or Jaiku. Or watch a few video clips on Qik. Better still--watch the Faces of Barcamp Video.
Barcamp Cork was held in the Enterprise Ireland Webworks Building, Eglinton Street, Cork, Ireland. 51.8971, -8.4642