Seems like Barcamps, REBarcamps, Wordcamps, RainCamps, and WhateverCamps are spouting up all over the place! Don't get me wrong, I think it's great! Lots of information is being exchanged and given by the very people who create and use it, not the marketing talking-heads who are just trying to sell us stuff. It seems to be an information explosion of sorts. I never really expected to see many real estate agents chatting about widgets on their blogs or SEO strategies at cocktail parties. But that's what's happening.
I think we are witnessing a shift in how companies reach out to consumers to educate us on their products and services. There is definitely still a need for face-to-face meetups and get togethers. But in these days of downsizing and cost-cutting, traveling to Vegas or New York to attend an expo or convention is quickly being supplanted by local low-or-no cost xxxxCamps. I can learn as much or more by attending these local events and get to meet and network with the people who are at the heart of the process and technology at a fraction of the cost or time commitment.
More power to the Campers!