Podcasters Across Borders: Bad Conference Experience

So I recently went to PAB2008, better known as Podcasters Across Borders, and my experience was less than stellar.

The sessions I went to didn’t teach me anything new, and the whole conference seemed centered around the emotional side of podcasting rather than the business or technical side of podcasting. I think an equal mix of these three important facets should have been included.

I also felt like the conference was really geared towards a group of people that all know each other with newcomers feeling like outsiders.

Try as I did to get noticed, and use my connections with the few people I knew to meet more people, I felt getting inside the circle was a fight, rather than being a welcome addition.

The biggest issue is that the conference doesn’t pull in the outside world. Most of the sessions that did try to teach something seemed to be geared towards people just starting out, and there weren’t many people that fit that description. It was a weird event to be certain.

I do have to give a shout out to Tim Coyne and Dave Brodbeck for their sessions. While I didn’t learn anything new about podcasting from either of them, I think that they would be great at inspiring people to get into podcasting. After listening to them, and feeling their passion for the medium and its diversity, I wanted to record a podcast, right then!

I think that the Friday afternoon would be better spent with a Podcasters 101 style line-up which could hopefully bring in a larger group of people and get them interested in podcasting, or for those that are interested, help them understand how it all comes together. These conferences should be about expanding the community and teaching, not giving an update about what we did in the last year so we can get our pats on the back.

I was very sad to see that there were no sessions that covered tricks and tips to editing a good podcast from a technical side. What software should I be using? Should I put audio between topics to break things up or not? What is a good mic, and does anyone have tricks to make it sound even better? Where should I be hosting my podcast files? What’s the best way to make show notes? Where is Digg just for podcasters? There were so many very important things that weren’t brought up, and maybe because those in attendance already knew it all, but not covering the how’s and why’s made me not want to attend again next year.

I was also annoyed at how monetization was seen as a negative thing with the mention of it bringing on a massive wave of sighs and groans from the audience.

If it wasn’t for proper monetization, I wouldn’t have had the great jobs I have been able to have over the last three years. I really didn’t understand their apprehension, and I think they are all doing themselves a great disservice by not finding a way to build a business around their passion.

It was really great to see Bill Deys, John Wiseman, Chris Brogan, and Jeff Parks because otherwise the conference would have been a waste for me. Get it together Podcasters Across Borders as being an echo chamber is no way to build a community. What I experienced was a Podcasting Club, not a Podcasting Conference.