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VOL. 127 | NO. 86 | Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Conference Aims to Lift City’s Tech Tide

By Andy Meek

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The Macon campus of Southwest Tennessee Community College is about to become tech central.

Doors will open at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, May 12, for TechCamp Memphis, a daylong conference that will feature educational presentations in the campus’ Bornblum Library. The event will focus primarily on three areas – application development, content creation and Internet/social media marketing.

The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. It’s the inaugural event under the banner of GeekMemphis, a new group that’s been established with the mission of helping to raise the “awareness, adoption and advancement” of technology among citizens and businesses throughout Memphis.

Memphis entrepreneur Dave Barger, citing the old wisdom of how a rising tide lifts all boats, said the goal here is to “raise the ‘Tech Tide’” in Memphis.

Barger, founder of the tech company LunaWeb and co-founder of LaunchMemphis, citied a series of conferences he attended over the last several years, including several treks to Austin, Texas, for the annual South by Southwest festival, that inspired him to be part of something similar in Memphis.

GeekMemphis, which he helped launch, is an outgrowth of that. It’s a still relatively new umbrella entity that will promote tech causes through a variety of means – forums, workshops and the like.

To that end, GeekMemphis is planning to introduce something called Memphis GeekWeek in November. It will encompass a week’s worth of tech-themed events, including a fall edition of TechCamp.

Meanwhile, presenters at next week’s TechCamp Memphis range from consultants to business executives from firms like LunaWeb, Message Factors, the University of Memphis and ALSAC/St. Jude.

“Anyone who attends should be able to find several sessions that interest them, because it really spans a broad array of topics around being online,” said Liz Jostes, marketing/PR chair of TechCamp Memphis and GeekMemphis cofounder.

Presentations will generally last about half an hour, followed by 15 minutes of question-and-answer time.

To get an idea of what’s on the agenda – a full list of topics is available at http://techcampmemphis.com/topics – LunaWeb director of client experience Steve Phipps’ presentation “It’s the people, stupid,” will look at how to make the story for a business or other entity relevant to the people who matter most to them.

Jostes and Beth Sanders, a Web and social media strategist and consultant, will lead a panel discussion about social media strategy, which, among other things, will help attendees walk through how to determine which platform is best for their brand.

Other sessions include “Content is (still) king,” “Ways of the Ninja Geek,” “Open Source: What’s this all about?” and “How to effectively engage your audience on Twitter and Facebook.”

The conference’s online presence can be found across multiple social media platforms. It’s at twitter.com/TechCampMemphis, Facebook.com/TechCampMemphis, and TechCamp Memphis also can be circled on Google+.

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