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PodCamp returns to Western Mass.

WESTFIELD Back by popular demand less than a year after its debut, PodCamp Western Mass. will return on Feb. 6 at Westfield State College (WSC). A podcamp is one example of an "unconference" at which participants choose the topics they'd like to discuss. Podcamps aim to promote education, innovation and collaboration between new media enthusiasts and professionals of all types, including bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, social networkers as well as the people who read, watch and listen to them. On Feb. 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., members of the Western Massachusetts community are invited to gather at the Horace Mann Center on Western Avenue in Westfield. WSC is serving as the lead sponsor of PodCamp, and additional sponsorship support has been provided by Winstanley Partners, an advertising and marketing firm based in Lenox. Morriss Partee, owner of EverythingCU.com in Holyoke and co-coordinator of the event, said PodCamp has resonated well within the Western Massachusetts community because the region has a very active new and social media community. "We have a thriving community here of some truly amazing people," he said. "This is a chance for Western Mass. bloggers, business people, artists and academics to get together and make connections, and for everyone to learn how social media can enhance their business, cause or organization." There is no agenda at an unconference, and the list of potential topics is virtually endless. However, sessions often include a "social media 101" and an overview of current and emerging new media tools. Attendees are encouraged to bring laptops, power strips and cameras, and can come and go as their schedules allow. The cost of the program is $20, which includes a box lunch and morning refreshments, or $5 for students. Participants may register on the day of the event or pre-register via EventBrite at http://pcwm2.eventbrite.com ; attendance is limited to the first 100 people to register. The first PodCamp took place in September 2006 in Boston, and the trend is now spreading across the world due to the spreading preponderance of social media. PodCamp Western Mass is designed for anyone interested in the online world to share ideas, hear from industry experts and participate in discussions. New media marketing experts predict that businesses can thrive if they embrace social media and conversational marketing meth-odologies. To learn more or to register, visit PodCamp Western Mass at http://podcamp.pbwiki.com/PodCampWesternMass or keep track of PodCamp Western Mass tweets on Twitter by searching for the keyword #PCWM.

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