By Ryan Singel
PALO ALTO, California — For the last three years, the A-list of the internet world has gathered at technology publisher Tim O’Reilly’s campus in Sebastopol, California, to brainstorm, drink beers, network and camp out.
About 90 miles south, the uninvited got their revenge this year. Called at the last minute by instant messenger, internet relay chat and wiki boards, nerds showed up in force at 655 High Street for Bar Camp — an open-to-all gathering billed at least in part as an antidote to O’Reilly’s exclusive Foo Camp 2005.
“We set out to prove that what the good folks at O’Reilly could pull off in a year, with a couple years’ experience and tens of thousands of dollars, could be cobbled together in a week by a crazy gaggle of savvy geeks, leveraging only the web and … our reach into our social networks,” co-organizer Chris Messina wrote in a post on his weblog.
Prove it, they did.
Here, in the Palo Alto offices of wiki software developer Socialtext, hallways were a thicket of geek jokes, cases of Red Bull, crumpled sleeping bags and impromptu business plan critiques. Inside conference rooms, attendees and their ubiquitous PowerBooks lined the walls, blogging their way through conversations on tagging, user-generated content and AJAX. (more…)