I remember a few years back hosting my very first IndieWebCamp in Los Angeles. I had only done a small handful of HomeBrew Website Club meetups up to that point, so I was excited that the community rallied around the camp to help make it what it was particularly since I didn’t have half a clue. At the time, I remember being excited that one of the co-founders of the BarCamp concept was attending not only the first BarCamp I had ever hosted, but had ever attended–sure, no pressure there, right?!. While there, I was also floored to see one of the most experienced web designers in the world ever-so-patiently sit down with several people on a volunteer basis and help them learn to write raw HTML for the first time to make their very first websites. The entire thing was a mix of kindness, excitement, and exhilaration I’ve only ever seen and experienced at IndieWebCamps.
This past weekend was not very different from that first camp. Over the weekend, however, I did hear from a few folks who said that they had issues finding and accessing resources to make their camp experiences like the ones I’ve experienced. Sadly, some of them gave up altogether. It’s often the case that the old hands and organizers, even with the best intentions, can’t think of everything or remember what it was like before they knew what they know now. In searching through the IndieWeb wiki, I noticed that there were few resources directed specifically towards first time campers. While there’s a LOT there for newcomers (maybe even too much), all of it is very spread out and takes too much time and effort to sift through quickly, so I spent some time at the end of camp to put together a quick overview of what to expect at an IndieWebCamp as well as some technology basics for campers and people new to the IndieWeb. Naturally there are links to other resources for those who want more, but hopefully it’s got the immediate resources that many will be looking for.
If you’re an “old hand” I’d ask you to read over the page and add anything I may have missed or which could assuredly be improved, clarified, or even shortened.
If you’re new to the game, I’d welcome you to let us know what other things might worry you, you’re unsure of, or don’t get going into such a camp or which might not be clear on that page or any of the other pages one might access when first approaching any of the camps and their resources. (You can give me your feedback directly in the comments below or via your favorite mode of communication. I’ll add them and answers to the wiki on yours and others’ behalf.)
Hopefully over time, we’ll have some better resources for first time campers to have the same sort of first time camp experiences I managed to get lucky enough to stumble into myself that first time and had yet again this weekend.
See you at the next camp!
3 thoughts on “IndieWebCamp Online 2019 and What to Expect at Camps”
Chris, thanks for writing the wikipage. There is a lot to digest there ( I had no understanding on etherpads for example) and I’m still not clear on how I could have had a better my experience. I was one of those who gave up in frustration.
Compared to the sorts of events I attend online (or offline), the organization of the IndieWebCamp seemed “chaotic”. I’m not sure how to explain what I don’t understand or what I need.
One video session I tried to attend wasn’t possible in Safari. I had to install Firefox, a browser I never use. Even then, after that the audio was intermittent and the video non-existent. Given what you’ve written about last minute changes and refreshing the browser, it was a frustrating experience.
For the next online IndieWebCamp perhaps someone can be designated for technology support; i.e. someone to choose and test an audio/video platform end-to-end. And it should work in ALL major browsers on macOS, Windows, and Linux.
But most of my frustration was in know what link to use at what time to get to what. Truthfully, if the next experience is like the most recent one, which you admit was like the previous ones you’ve experienced, then I may always be the person outside wondering what is happening inside the room.