Today's BookCamp Vancouver 2009 Unconference brought 250 keen, mostly young, people together to talk about books, new approaches to publishing, and their own work. Attendees included publishers, writers and early to mid-career people working in publishing, software design and new media production.
The organizers were bold and imaginative in their choices of topics and speakers. Most of the sessions succeeded in terms of generating discussion and stimulating thought. Facilitators, organizers and audiences share responsibility for unconference sessions that succeed or fail: but unlike many regular conferences the communication that begins at unique gatherings like this can have long term effects.
The best evidence that the unconference succeeded may be found in the abundant messages on Twitter (see #bcvan09). Messages were being sent during the sessions, during breaks and after the event. I expect that they will continue to be written for days or weeks to come.
Publishing needs new people, new ideas and new approaches. Innovative events like BookCamp Vancouver and the excited people, young and old, who participated today are good evidence that this important activity is in good hands.