Barcamp Miami

User-generated content has taken virtual venues by storm. So it follows that user-generated conferences are gathering steam in real-life circuits as well. To see just how popular these “unconferences” are getting, check out Barcamp Miami this Sunday, February 22nd in Coconut Grove.

You’re probably scratching your head at “unconference.” I did too… You’re thinking “So, it’s like an organized, impromptu event?” Exactly! “Then where do all the participants come from?” Great question! I hate to use the expression, since Barcamp really has a life of its own, but it got started by riding off the coattails of another major event – it was spun off of a participant-driven conference that was invitation only.

Held the day before the Future of Web Apps (FOWA) conference, Barcamp Miami will draw largely from that crowd. In addition to FOWA, this year’s explosion in social media and group communication services has, without a doubt, helped to make Barcamp Miami a major event in and of itself. In fact, this once-spinoff now has mini events being organized around it!

A quick search for #barcamp, #geekdinner, #fowa (tagged conversations on Twitter) will give you an idea of how many people are chatting (enthusiastically with an exclamation point) about next week’s tech events in South Florida. Perhaps this is why Barcamp Miami’s registration numbers for 2009 are nearly double that of 2008. Oh, and did I mention it’s free?