Geek Week AZ, What I learned.

Geek Week AZI went to four events that were a part of Geek Week here in and around Phoenix, AZ.

It started early with Ignite Phoenix 5 on Tuesday, November 3rd. I learned there that I can’t really listen and read and tweet all at the same time. I also learned that without bats, Arizona wouldn’t have the saguaro cactus. I also learned that I missed out on a great socializing opportunity. When it came to the twitter feed, I was sharing and following like crazy, yet when it came time to go out in the crowd and talk to people, I stuck with the familiar faces. I think that was when I decided to make use of twitter’s new list feature. I went through all the people I follow and put them in one of two lists, @sbowerman/hasmet and @sbowerman/hasnotmet. (Note: business and event accounts are listed differently for me). From doing this, I learned that people do want to connect offline.

That brings me to Phoenix WordCamp which happened on Friday, November 13th. During the first break of the day, I found a spot closer to the front of the venue with power and a few familiar faces. Just a few seats to the right of me was Chris Lee who I had seen around Gangplank, where I co-work often, and most recently as a presenter at Ignite but had never officially “met.” (I’m a bit old fashioned and consider a meeting an introduction and handshake, a real handshake.) He came over to me during the lunch break and said, “Hey, I saw your list.” We talked a bit about being familiar and his presentation the previous Tuesday, but I explained to him my definition of “has met.” At that point, I shook his hand and introduced myself. Of course, I learned a lot about WordPress from ways to write good content to SEO tips to muti-media blogging and much more. I also learned that it takes time for people to experiment with a new technology or application in order to understand what it does and why it’s useful. I’m referring to Google Wave. I honestly wasn’t very interested at first because my work doesn’t exactly involve a lot of collaboration, and as I understood it that was the main purpose of Wave. I had seen a blog post about Wave being used as a back channel at a conference and that it went over very well. I also saw in my twitter feed that there were Waves set up for another geek week event coming up the next two days. One more very lucky and very timely tweet got me an invite and access to Google Wave in time for my busy “camp” filled weekend.

By Saturday, I was very excited to see what a new group of people would do with Google Wave. It was time for PodCamp AZ which unlike WordCamp has many different talks going on at the same time throughout the day. While WordCamp’s Wave* was basically a chat room with a few notes and pictures, I was hoping that PodCamp’s Waves* would be more notes from different presentations from many different people. I was not disappointed. Not only did I learn how to make sure my blog is a good one, I learned about how technology is used in a certain high school classroom to increase learning and communication between that teacher, his students, and their parents thanks to the Wave and the lady that took notes.

On Sunday, I was pretty tired from the virtual non-stop of activity but interested to learn more and learn different things. I learned good ways to have Online Video Conversations, how to comment, and how to maintain personal relationships when everything is online. In this last presentation (which also happened to be the last of the day/weekend), my list idea came up again. Katie Charland was one of those people listed as “has not met” and she wanted to change that. She tweeted that she wanted to meet me so I found her early in the day and introduced myself. She liked my idea so much that she included it in her presentation. It was mentioned as a great way to move relationships offline, which I’m happy to say was my intention when I made the lists. I hate to admit that only a handful of people made the move from “has not met” to “has met,” but now it’s out there and a public reminder to stand up or reach out and introduce myself.

The most important lesson from geek week: connections are key.

Like what you see? You should follow me on twitter here.

*To find these waves search “wordcamp” or “podcampaz”


Comments: 7

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Love it. Great to be able to meet so many people with similar interests, yet different work climates and living arrangements, at these type of events. Very cool to connect!


I agree that face-to-face connections are key. Social media is a good way to carry on conversations across geographic boundaries, but meeting in person can’t be replaced.

Also, it was good to meet you at PodCamp!


Your blog post captures perfectly what I’ve been feeling as of late. I love going to all these events, but I feel as though I keep turning to familiar faces. I think your list idea is a great motivating tool for you and potentially some of those on the list. The problem I face now is, once they’ve made it to the met-IRL list, what next?


Love your list idea. I want to make one of those now too!

As far as Google Wave, I need to search for more Podcampaz waves I guess. I think I only knew of the daily ones, and at least the Sunday one seemed really sparse.

I may be to hard on Wave because I want it to be a wiki text entry system, and it may instead be another thing that does good things and I just haven’t figured it out yet.


Katie, to me the only thing that can be next is deeper connection. They can be romantic, platonic, or you can remain acquaintances. It’s up to you where they go and how quickly. You can continue to frequent the same events for random conversations or you can make an effort to send a message and say, “Hey, let’s meet up.”

Kilo, there are only two waves for PodCampAZ, one for each day. I’m not sure why Sunday’s is sparse but there are some good notes and links to presentations. It’ll be interesting to see how people use it in the future.


Definitely think the list idea is cool. Great to see you posting and creating content.


Nice job! I just committed myself to the task of creating a has-met and has-not-met list (btw, I’m on your has not met list, let’s move that!) and decided that adding a goal of reaching out to a few of those not yet met folks a month would further inspire me to actually do it.

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