I'm lending a hand at Open Data Camp (#ODCamp) this weekend by helping people Network while at the event.
The goal of this Network, or Speed-dating as some of the #ODCamp crew have called it - to help people coming to the event to get the most from it, not only in the sessions, but by having fruitful conversations between sessions that will serve to stimulate, or perhaps grow into collaborations. This could be swapping ideas, have questions answered, building collaborations.
There's 130 people going to the event, so there's no real way of me getting to know them all, no matter how much research I carry out in advance.
It got me thinking about ways/systems to help people self-network - Peer-to-Peer networking, if you like (Ah, P2P, that takes you back doesn't it?).
Easy discovery of people's interests
In last night's organisers' Hangout, it popped into my mind about how coloured stickers were fantastically effective at the late-90s First Tuesday networking events for joining mutual interests. There it was a simple two colours - One for I have money to invest, the other, I have an idea looking for investment.
Chatting the initial idea over with the others, it wasn't quite right. Having applied more thought to it, Open Data Camp isn't that simple, there's a lot more areas/interests. Given that you'd end up needing a look-up chart for what each colour meant, defeating the point.
During a phone call with Chris Gutterdige today we kicked the idea around and I think have formed the start of an interesting idea.
Self-declaring your #Intro via Twitter
Before the event, on the way there, or during the event, if #ODCamp attendees Tweet out one/a few Tweets about themselves, How they're connected to Open Data and what their looking for, the P2P networking can start online and hope fully flourish at the event when they meeting in person.
Essentially you're creating a bit of data about yourself.
Examples are often the best way - So I might Tweet
#Intro your interest
Another might be the equivalent of the colours badge stickers, but much more flexible a mix of the things that you do and your interests.
#AskMeAbout - What your interested in sharing
Chris suggested #AskMeAbout - if there's an area of Open Data that you've got a strong knowledge about and are willing/keen to share.
#WLTM - People you'd like to meet/chat with
The last idea was for people that you know that you like to meet up with. This one is lifted from dating/small ads - #WLTM - Would Like To Meet.
Of course this all bring the advantages of search-ability. If you want to meet up with people at #ODCamp who work in a particular field, they'd be easy to find and therefore connect to at the event.
Let's give it a go!
I don't know - this all might be a complete daft idea, or it might be something quite useful. Either way, let's have a play at ODCamp - if it's doing to work anywhere, this is a good place to start.
Of course, if you have any thoughts on this, want to meet anyone at #ODCamp, or just want a general chat about Open Data, just come and say hello.