Point Absolutely Number One: When they say presentation at barcamp, they actually mean facilitation.

Number Two: 30 minutes does not allow enough time for 10-20 people in a room to discuss material.

My first "presentation" at barcamp seattle talked about re-evaluating our information consumption. I thought using a photo-essay format would be light and lively, however some people in the audience wanted less slides and more discussion. I ditched my slides and switched into discussion mode. Only downside was that several participants apparently didn't understand my argument and by the time that became apparent, we'd run out of time.

The talk centered around the observation that news media bombard us with information that actually looks more like data.

E.g. I'm not actually interested in knowing that Darfur or any other remote place has conflict issues, I want to know whether we have more wars now than last year, if so, I should contribute to UNHCR. So periodically parse a current list of wars and keep a history.
Instead of reading news, identify what you care about, and find a way to automatically get that data, and hack some code together to turn that data into usable information. People worry about losing serendipity, but you get serendipity when you ask google for something, as your idea does not exactly match google's algorithmic output. People worry about losing small talk tidbits; discuss your news instead or work out to sportscenter, npr, or something. People worry about keeping abreast of trends; that's illusory, as you know oil's at ~140, can you predict the price of oil just two months out? Better to build a model and automatically retrieve the data necessary.

Well after the start of barcamp, several slots remained open, so I penciled in a Productivity Hacks Roundtable. The salient ideas that arose:

  1. Make a list of 5 or 10 year goals, sketch out a rough plan to get to them, and annually evaluate progress
  2. Stop interrupting yourself; kill twitter, im, etc. maximize your window to focus on one thing.
  3. Queue tasks up so you can batch process; this reduces the amount of context switching
After the session, someone asked me if I learned any new hacks. I conjectured that most people who want productivity hacks are trying to solve the wrong problem. I think they haven't aligned their goals and what they want to do, i.e. they're doing what they think they want to do, but that's not actually what they want to do. Otherwise, they would experience flow while doing what they like, and would view interruptions quite negatively.

Talking with another barcamper, we were both into Economics, so we started a roundtable on that which covered economic topics, however in a non economic analytic fashion. Conjecturing again, analytic topics require a certain ratio of expert to non-expert to keep the discussion worthwhile for the experts.

On the second day, I wanted to talk about Psychology and Social Networks, so I posted that after Xianhang Zhang's discussion of sociology and social networks (he had a great link in showing drawball, check out the movie of it over time) and Anders Conbere's discussion of privacy and social media (I think sites either choose a data-sharing benchmark like MPAA's G, PG, R, or they commit to completely mapping out someone's privacy preferences in relation to every other entity). I started off by quickly analyzing Twitter according to Cialdini's Influences, and we quickly covered a great deal, fun ideas were that sites absolutely need reputation systems (use quick ups by verifying identity on another site) and that for a lot of content, web search is broken (say you want an invite to a good torrent pool, you can't google for that; instead use 6-degrees-of-separation: send an email to 10 friends asking for an invite and if they don't have one, please forward on to someone that has the best odds of having one)

The last day ran for only a half day unfortunately, with no after-party, wtf? So we went to persimmon and had a great late brunch; the chefs apparently will try anything after rushtime, as we challenged them to make a crepe reuben and they pulled it off. Brilliant.

Since you mentioned UNHCR, you might appreciate the documentary on Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars. Good film. http://www.netflix.com/Movie/Sierra_Leone_s_Refugee_All_Stars/70061584?lnkctr=srchrd-sr&strkid=531111848_0_0 Dave C.
Yeah, I can understand their reluctance to return to Sierra Leone; I wouldn't return either. Just peruse the first results from a google image search for Sierra Leone -- http://images.google.com/images?q=sierra+leone