Over 1,000 people converged on the American University of Armenia from June 9-10, 2012 for the 4th Annual BarCamp Yerevan. This year’s event was the largest ever, with more than 1,300 IT specialists, software developers, bloggers, civic activists, and curious newbies attending.
The BarCamp format, pioneered in Silicon Valley in 2005, consists of a series of informal sessions focused on what’s new and interesting in the field of Internet and technology. The schedule is not announced in advance; participants who want to deliver presentations slot themselves into a timetable after they arrive at the event, with some sessions evolving spontaneously out of ideas sparked by on-site discussions. Popular topics include civic applications for social media, applied programming problems, and various online and mobile tools.
In addition to over 70 participant-led sessions, the camp also featured a job fair and workshops by respected trainers on guarding against DDoS attacks, protecting sensitive files on your computer, and safer internet browsing and social networking.
This year, BarCamp Yerevan organizers deviated from the typical unstructured format to invite several international guest speakers, which included media marketing consultant and trainer Mike Villers-Stuart on creating engaging online content and distribution methods, MN-RU editor-in-chief Aleksandr Bogomolov on covering the recent protests in Moscow, prominent Russian blogger and photographer Petr Lovigin on his latest creative projects, and Lana Pinayeva, head of marketing at the major Russian news agency RIA Novosti, on convergent media and the future of media consumption.
Funding for the event was provided by Internews’ “Alternative Resources in Media” project through USAID, as well as companies Orange, AtTask, BetConstruct, and Be2 and the Russian RIA Novosti news agency.