Did you ever have one of those moments in life when you realize that you just may be at a turning point? That's how I've felt the last two days, attending PAB 2007.
I will confess that there's a part of me that feels a little bit like a fraud, like I don't belong here with all of these incredibly smart, talented, creative, generous people. They are involved in a wired world in a way that is almost completely beyond my comprehension. I don't Twitter. I don't do Facebook (frankly, it creeps me out a little).
But let me state what an absolute pleasure it has been to meet, firstly, some of the folks whose podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. They are even nicer in person than they seemed on their 'casts or in emails, something I didn't think could be possible. It was interesting to note that almost none of them corresponded to any idea of how I thought they looked, of the image I'd created of them listening to their voices. I had some idea of what to expect when I met Bruce Murray (whose photo is on his show page), and I had some inkling of what Sage Tyrtle of Quirky Nomads would be like. But everyone else -- nope. Either they were taller or thinner than I'd expected, or younger (or occasionally older) than I'd imagined.
I mention this only because it's fascinating to me, the conceptions we form about others and their appearance based only on their voices. There's probably some profound sociological theory to be expounded on there, but it's beyond me.
But I've had a blast talking to people about my podcast, and other ideas I have, and getting feedback and ideas of how to go about achieving what I'd like to in the future. And I've been blown away by the talent and generosity of the folks who presented at PAB, who weren't paid to do this, but shared their expertise and knowledge and ideas with us all.
I hope to talk more about the sessions that particularly inspired me, but I think I'll wait for that until the recordings are put up on the Canadian Podcast Buffet show site. But what I'm coming away with this weekend, in addition to ideas and inspiration and much food for thought, is this overwhelming and overarching sense of community. There are folks here with whom, on some levels, I have very little in common -- yet we are finding common ground by sharing our experiences of what is, in my mind, a very powerful form of storytelling -- the podcast. I've met some folks whose podcasts I'd heard of, but hadn't had a chance to download yet, and went right back to the hotel room and fired up the computer (the joys of fast internet!) and subscribed right then and there. There were folks whose podcasts I wasn't familiar with, and I went looking for them, too.
Frankly, I don't think I'll have enough hours in the day for all this inspiration, but I'm so grateful it's out there and being shared.