Saturday, June 27, 2009

Barcamp Seattle Tomfoolery

A few weekends ago, I attended BarCamp Seattle. It's an unconference, which is basically a conference with a very ad-hoc plan. Last year I was mostly a lurker -- I didn't present anything and my only contribution was in a few of the group discussions. I had a blast and decided I really needed to do something this year. So I gave a talk.

Social Microgames
I like beer. And I like being social in unconventional ways. Originally, I wanted to talk about how this sparked the Friday Unwind social events, and a generally awesome peer atmosphere at my old team. The idea being I would tell people this kind of thing was a Good IdeaTM and they should do it too. But it felt like bragging. And was kinda boring. In the end, I cut a lot of stuff and decided just to focus on what made the Friday Unwind fun: the odd little games we played during it.

"Social Microgames" was the awkward phrase I coined for those games. Jinx and Rock/Paper/Scissors were my two common examples. Both have well understood rules, take about 5 seconds to play, and make interacting with other people a bit more fun. It went really well, and I was pleased to find out everyone else did something similar among their friends. I learned a handful of new games, and it was a good time all around. I also mentioned my success in playing the Dollar Game, where entertaining stuff happens for money. My slides are here and a video of it is here forthcoming as soon as Brian puts it up.

Jay's Webcock
@strutting did a great talk on things you should not do on Twitter, presented by facetiously recommending bad things to do. It was pretty funny. Unfortunately, the room we were in didn't have a projector, so all the work that Jay had put into his slides had been for his eyes only. Despite that, it was enjoyable talk that highlighted great ways to make a mess of twitter, including retweeting inane tweets.

We joked around for a bit afterward. Jay retweeted himself, making him a webcock. I retweeted his tweet about himself, making myself a webcock. It was good times.

Our ideas had a baby
I took it one step further by combining the webcockery of retweeting, the fun of my microgames, and the spirit of getting folks to talk with this tweet. Essentially, I challenged someone to re-talk the webcock talk.

Fortunately, there were some good folks in the crowd. @dyanw had missed the webcock session, but stepped up and decided to gave Jay's talk again. It was a train wreck from the start, with technical issues forcing Dylan to talk for a good 10 minutes about Webcocks without any guide whatsoever. To both their credits, Jay's slides were really nice and once they were up Dylan did a great job of presenting them as their own. I'm still not sure how many folks there got the whole in-joke, but Jay & I were laughing all the way through. Dylan clarified afterward to those who might've been confused..

The Epilogue
As a side note, it turns out that my Dollar Game has actually been made into a website. Well done, interwebs.