Contrasting Communities…

barcamp_jonesboro This past weekend I had the pleasure of presenting and being a part of the core conversation during Barcamp Jonesboro.  These Barcamp events have really taken off across the country, in fact we recently had Barcamp Conway here in Central Arkansas and it was a huge success.  Barcamp Jonesboro was no different, I have heard that there were approximately 130+ people in attendance for this all day event.

Fellow Pleth team members Steven Trotter and Craig McCoy along with several members of the Jonesboro Coworking group were the organizers of this event that saw people from several states and 2 countries flock to the campus of Arkansas State University to discuss a wide variety of tech related topics.  In addition to being part of the panel for the core conversation I also presented on Geosocial Networking, there were also presentations on social media, mobile development, churches and non-profits, and a wide variety of other topics.

One thing that I did notice during this event in comparison to similar events that I have attended was the lack of media representation.  In fact, during the event my wife even asked me where the newspapers and television stations were at, I shrugged my shoulders and told her that I didn’t know but felt that surely they would be there, but they didn’t show…  Also absent from the event, much to our surprise, was the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce, who I felt really missed out on a golden opportunity to be a part of such an awesome event.

Coming from Conway, where the Conway Chamber of Commerce bends over backwards to support events like Barcamp Conway and even the Conway Coworking, I guess I just assumed that this type of thing was something that a Chamber of Commerce would jump at the opportunity to be a part of.  I guess I was wrong because I don’t think I saw a single representative from the Chamber of Commerce at the event.  But they weren’t alone, as I mentioned earlier, the newspaper in Jonesboro, The Jonesboro Sun, didn’t bother to show up either.  In addition to that, I learned through a series of Blog Posts from Abbi Siler, they really didn’t even offer to lend a hand in promoting the event or posting a post event article.  You should definitely check out these blog posts from Abbi: Why Can’t We Work Together? and More than Just a News Story… (be sure to read the email exchanges between Abbi and David Mosesso, the editor for the Jonesboro Sun).

I think you will find after reading these email exchanges that our friends at the Jonesboro Sun might not get social media at all.  This is a shame, especially given the downward spiral that the hometown newspaper industry has seen the past years.  I have formally invited Abbi and David Mossesso to appear on The Cotton Club to put this discussion on the table and hopefully find some common ground on the issue. Honestly it’s troubling to me that a community like Jonesboro has such division going on within the community.  This event, while huge and widely successful already, could have potentially been a lot bigger and could have had a wide reaching impact on the economic development and growth of the entire region.  It’s a shame that we will never know.  Gauging the success of Barcamp Jonesboro 2010 I think it’s safe to say that there will be a Barcamp 2011 next year, I sure hope the media jumps on board and helps out…

If you attended the event, I would love to hear from you.  If you would also like to weigh in on the discussion regarding the lack of media representation during the event, please feel free to leave a comment below…


  1. says

    What is so disconcerting about how some traditional media outlets view these events & communities is they fail to realize this is a revival of local communities.

    In this specific example this is a group of local people built a 5-star educational and networking event in their hometown. I'm not sure what the philosophy or focus of a local newspaper is precisely but I'd think that Barcamp would be news worthy.

    The thinking that advocates of social networking are somehow at odds with traditional media is complete misunderstanding. This is not a zero sum situation but rather an expanding of the overall pie. Radio didn't kill newspapers, TV didn't kill radio, and social media isn't going to kill any of them. There is room for all of us and the more we see ourselves in complimentary roles the more we will be able to create connected, informed, and growing communities.

    Things are changing and yes certain models are having to adapt but the potential is unbelievable.

  2. Craig says

    Someone I admire uses the tagline “Connecting people and ideas through technology” We are trying to make our community better. We all benefit from each other the same way that traditional media can benefit from embracing social media. To quote a great man “…the potential is unbelievable.”

  3. says

    That is unbelievable! Wow, I'm speechless, and am grateful to live in Conway. I still love to read the newspaper, but I believe many are not helping themselves in several different ways including embracing social media. Local papers also have to do more to fill the paper with local news. Wire services are supposed to supplement, not be the core of the paper.

Leave a Reply