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PodCamps designed to unconference otherwise boring business collaborations

HOLYOKE " By now, we ve all heard of iPods and podcasts. But what s a PodCamp? A PodCamp is one example of an unconference, or unorganized conference, at which participants choose the topics they d like to discuss. It s geared toward 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. This month, PodCamp will come to Western Massachusetts for the first time. On March 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., members of the marketing, business, design, technology and music industries will gather on the second floor of the mixed-use, retrofitted mill building Open Square in Holyoke for an unconference that aims to promote education, innovation and collaboration between technology and media professionals. Morriss Partee, owner of EverythingCU.com in Holyoke and a coordinator of the event, said Western Massachusetts has a very active new and social media community, and as such is primed and ready for a successful PodCamp. We have a thriving community here of some truly amazing people, he said. This is a chance for Western Massachusetts 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. Additionally, co-coordinator Tish Grier, chief community officer of Placeblogger.com, said that the PodCamp concept is also well-suited to the region due to the myriad issues, especially economic concerns, that face the area and the entire country. It s easy to think that issues going on in the big city don't have much of an impact on Western Massachusetts, but those issues, like the loss of the daily newspaper, impact us as well, she said. 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, and attendance is limited to the first 60 people to register at http://podcampwesternmass.eventbrite.com .

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