Monday, July 19, 2010

To call it a Camp or NOT to call it a Camp, That is the Question

At the recent Community Leadership Summit in Portland, Dave Nielsen proposed that regional unconferences be called Community Leadership Camps rather than Community Leadership Summits. The rationale being that the unconference format we use is closely aligned with the "Camp" brand (FooCamp, BarCamp, CloudCamp, etc...). In practice, I don't think people would spell it all out. So, we are really talking about the term CLCamp. This would then lead to qualification of the regional events by geography appended to that. At least, that is how it tends to work for the other branded camps. In our case, that would mean CLCamp West.

My first reaction was a very strong one against this proposal. However, I have since realized that Dave's proposal only pertains to the unconference events and not all the other activities associated with the existing CLS West brand: Ignites, First Fridays, Special Events, etc...

You see, CLS West is not just an unconference. CLS West is a "community" of community leaders here in the bay area that come together in many different ways. This led to the realization that CLS West needs to live on as the umbrella entity associated with our Ignite events, our First Friday dinner gatherings, and special events like the CLS West Karaoke Holiday Party in the works for December of 2010. =)

So, what we are really talking about is the event name for our next unconference gathering here in the bay area. Regardless of the name, the sponsoring entity/organization will be CLS West. With that in mind, the possibilities that I see for the event name are:
  • CLS West

  • CLSCamp West

  • CLCamp West
Personally, I don't have a strong need to associate our unconference event with the "Camp" brand. I believe the advantages of that association are outweighed by the weakening of the association with the "CLS" brand. Which is why my first choice would be to leave it alone and have our main event simply use our umbrella title of CLS West. However, I could live with incorporating the "Camp" brand into the name as long as the "CLS" brand is kept intact. This means I would be okay with CLSCamp West.

What I am strongly opposed to is calling it a CLCamp. This completely removes the "CLS" brand association. For me, the "CLS" brand represents the concept of bringing community builders together in a vendor-neutral environment. It just so happens that the first ever CLS event was an unconference. Through the activities of CLS West over the past 6 months, we have demonstrated that the "CLS" brand as described here can be effectively applied to other event formats too.

So, now you know my opinions on the matter. Although I spearheaded the formation of CLS West and continue to take a leadership role in the community, I realize that I am here to serve the community. The best way to serve the community in this situation is to solicit your input into the final decision. To that end, I have created this simple online poll where everyone that is a member of CLS West can vote and be counted. We will implement the community's decision whatever it may be.

That's All Folks!