Congregation a Social Hub
Congregation 2015 is all about huddles and conversations set in the remote village of Cong. For three days, Cong will be a social hub for those who have insights into social media they would like to share. And a curious mind to learn more is essential.
It is small, remote and set on the Wild Atlantic Way in Mayo the West of Ireland. And it is not the average conference set up either. To attend you need to submit a blog post. That is your ticket to entry. The blog post is about something that you think will interest people. A new insight, something that you are curious about and want to explore more with others.
Village of Cong
The village of Cong is one of the most beautiful and picturesque villages in Ireland. And is famous for being surrounded by the Quiet Man film locations. This setting is what is so unique about Congregation. The relaxed village atmosphere and the use of the different buildings in the village.
Tech people from all parts of the country and some from Europe take part in this great event. This year Congregation has become a three day event. It is all starting on the Friday evening in Ashford Castle with an evening of talks, movies and exhibitions. Augmented and Virtual Reality are on the agenda along with a demo of Oculus Rift.
The unConference on the Saturday is central to what Congregation is all about. Throughout the day intimate huddles take place in social venues around Cong village. All are within walking distance of each other. Each huddle has about 10 people in them and every one gets a chance to present at one of the huddles. The different venues include the local bookshop (my favourite), giftshops and a few pubs.
On Sunday we are all off on a guided cycle tour for 3 hours. It will be a easy trip along forest paths stopping at historical sites such as Ballykine Castle and natural wonders such as the Pigeon Hole Cavern.
Blog Post Entries
To give you a flavour of what the talks are about here are some of my favourite blog posts for #Cong2015. Kieran has some fascinating points about disability in his post Everyone Has Impairments. And how "the un-built environment holds far greater potential. The un-built environment, that Interweb thingy, that is where the action is at!"
There is an interesting post by Ciaran Cannon a TD for Galway East and former Minister of State at the Department of Education in Ireland. This is what makes unConferences special. You have people from all walks of life coming together to exchange thoughts and ideas. Ciaran's talk is about our education system. DisconnectEd – How do we fix an education system that is rapidly losing touch with reality? As a lecturer in Dublin Business School I am particular interested in Digital Marketing and how students and lecturers can learn from each other.
And being a hyperlocal nut I am interest in talking to Cladagh Barry again and hearing more about her post Work Local. Deliver Global.
And last but not least you can check out my post which is all about using your apps for better life management. I talk about AnyList, Bullet and My Fitness Pal.
It is because of these people and so many more that makes Congregation to unique and inspiring. And that is why it is my third year going. I savour the calmness and stillness of Cong. It is a much welcome time out both physically and mentally from a busy life.
It time to reflect and think about what we are doing with social technologies. Are we doing right with them? What impact will they have on the next generation? Can we keep some of our old ways of communicating. Being human. Being real. Enjoying the emotions and expressions of face to face meetings. Will our children loose the art of talking around the fire sharing stories, telling jokes and singing songs. I hope not. And that is why events like Congregation are essential. Huddles in villages to warm the soul and feed the mind.