Congregating in Cong with CongRegation

CongRegation is a social media conference taking place in Cong, County Mayo this Saturday. It has the novel attendance requirement that entrance to the event can only be had by the prior submitting of a blog post.

The net effect of this strategy is to recreate the online level playing field that you find on services such as Twitter and Facebook on the ground, in real life, with real people.

It is a safe assumption that anyone reading this would be using social media for a number of purposes, probably on a daily basis.

We know it is not a perfect medium. There are concerns with privacy issues, intrusive advertising, control over how far and how fast a post can propagate, and so on.

But there are also tremendous benefits of the sort that often lead me to reflect on how I ever got by without the life enhancing ability to share a passing thought or a fleeting experience with friends and strangers as I go about my day.

On top of that is the killer plus of being able to easily and cheaply stay in touch with loved ones and old friends who are distant in time and space but not in my heart.

To help assemble your thoughts there are four general themes:

Research Stream: For those into analysis
How to Stream: For the sharing of tools and techniques
Social Stories: Share your edifying tales of derring do
Social Media Rants: Who doesn’t have one of those to share?

Eoin Kennedy instigated CongRegation as a response to two specific challenges.

The first one is that at many conferences and seminars when it comes to consider the material presented in conversation with others and discuss any gleaned insights it is time for everyone to go home. A vital opportunity to share information is missed.

“By creating a structure where people can share what they are going to talk about [beforehand] they can use the blog as a catalyst to share insights. People would learn from each other rather than from the ‘experts’.”

His second challenge was to prove that rural locations in Ireland could host and support activities such as this. “If they coordinate everything effectively and are creative about it, they can run these type of events.”

The cost of entry is simply to take half an hour or so to jot down a few words on a service that, very likely, you use daily and, equally likely, have an opinion that is just calling out to be shared. Plus, I can personally vouch that Cong is one one the nicer places to spend a day out in Ireland.

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