This post was originally published on the BlueLightCamp web site.
Planning for BlueLight Camp 2013 is well under way, and more information will be published about the event on the BlueLightCamp site shortly.
In the meantime, I thought it worth highlighting some of the articles written about the first BlueLight Camp, held in April 2012. I’ve included a short extract from each post.
We’ll be drawing on these experiences – and comments made subsequently about other camps, and unconferences in general – to try and make BlueLightCamp 2013 as valuable as possible for those who attend (whether in-person or from afar).
in a fascinating and wide ranging series of conversations about some of the darker forces and concerns about the use of social media as well as drawing and sharing experiences of the benefits.
BlueLightCamp was Rowena Farr’s second unconference, and she wrote: A mini unconference – some thoughts from the first BlueLightCamp which she posted on the Delib web site. Rowena took away 4 pointers from the event and says:
the prospect of attending a smaller, emergency services focused event seemed exciting and timely. The day proved interesting and varied, with 5 different sessions and a lengthy lunch to discuss ideas further
my aim of attending this event was to listen, learn and meet some passionate and enthusiastic “blue lights”. The discussion was interesting because we really covered a lot of ground; privacy online, uses of social media and website’s being taken down/defaced.
Jon Harvey gives his personal perspective on the Blue Light Camp in: the Blue Light Camp
I was at the Blue Light Camp in Manchester yesterday with a bunch of very interesting folks exploring the application of Social Media to policing (etc.) – lots of useful comments and links to be found using #blcamp
In closing, the inaugural #BlueLightCamp of 2012 appears to have gone off without a hitch – and, in addition to the great sessions, it was good to meet so many new people and to put names, voices and more to so many tweeters. It was also really great to catch up with some familiar faces
My personal unconference rule of attending one session which I have no knowledge of (or prior interest in) and letting serendipity take over, worked well (as it usually does). I went to a great session by a design student who was working on a better bag for Paramedics. Did you know that the average paramedic bag weighs 60kg?
Howiet on Microsoft UK Government blog followed the buzz online and wrote: Highlights from #bluelightcamp, observing that BlueLightCamp:
provided a fantastic networking opportunity for those interested in the use of social media and technology in Blue Light services.
The topics discussed ranged from how social media is used in a crisis situation, the role of low cost video streaming tools such as Bambuser, to how to support inter-agency working using social media and a team-based, interactive simulation of how a fictitious crisis might play out in social media.
Had there been a crisis, I couldn’t have wished for a better bunch of people to be with
Paul Coxon – who helped organise BlueLight Camp in 2012 – wrote a thought-provoking piece: Introducing Camp Camp (Or shit just got Meta, but I’d still like to see your ROI) in which he challenges unconferences to show a return on investment. It’s provocative stuff, and well-worth reading, as are the comments.
Don’t let my words put you off. If you are planning to attend your first Camp, I hope you enjoy it and find it useful. Broadly-speaking, I believe Unconferences are a valuable tool, I just don’t see them as an end in themselves. Always ask yourself this though: what has the event changed for me?
Ben Proctor takes an idea born at UKGovCamp 2012 which was explored further at Bluelightcamp 2012. Could volunteers help out online in an emergency in the UK?:
Online communication tools play an important role in civil emergencies.
They can be used for warning and informing, for mobilisation of resources, as a source of intelligence around developing situations, as a collaboration tool between citizens and to coordinate actions between citizens, responders and other stakeholders.
Don’t wait for the emergency to happen to start using social media – you need to have an audience who knows you are there
Social media is a powerful way of empowering a community – engage with them rather than just push your messages
Take a leap of faith – try different things and see what works
That’s it for now – more about BlueLight Camp 2013 to follow.