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Columbus Social Media Cafe – Central Ohio Bloggers, Podcasters and Social Networking

Anyone in the Central Ohio area who is a blogger, podcaster or social networking enthusiast/expert should be aware that there is a potential meetup group organizing called the Columbus Social Media Cafe. Yesterday was the 4th SMC meetup and I gathered that they are just now working on defining what the goals are of the group and plan on forming a mission statement. You can read more about the last meetup at Elephants on Bicycles and This Woman’s Work blogs.

When I arrived, I found myself briefly explaining what PodCamp and PodCamp Ohio is. I was not prepared to make any sort of presentation at the meetup but I did my best. This was a learning experience for myself, as I found myself speaking to a crowd of bloggers who are aware that podcasting should be included in their space but don’t exactly have a grasp on what exactly podcasting is. I also mentioned briefly some of the viral networking techniques that PodCamp Ohio is using in order to market the event to bloggers, podcasters and social networking enthusiasts.

I learned a lot from the meetup. What I found the most interesting was what they are envisioning; a social networking web site that pulls in feeds of blogs and podcasts and provides social networking features such as tags and comments. The group would be the perfect customer for the RawVoice Generator, which does pretty much what they want. One of the organizers mentioned someone who is in the process of developing such a tool that the group could use, so I didn’t quite feel comfortable mentioning that my company already has such a product on the market for more than 2 years now. The process they are undertaking made me feel vindicated that the past 3 years of my life that I’ve spent developing such tools is of real importance, not just globally but also for the local community. There is real potential for blogging and podcasting to connect with its local communities, and I for sure want to be involved in helping that happen here in Central Ohio.

I hope they can create a brand/logo soon and put in place a scheduled meeting time using not just meeting spaces in the public but also utilizing those social media tools that are so important such as TalkShoe/BlogTalkRadio for on-line recorded phone meetings and Google Group public mailing lists. At the moment the only way anyone can participate is by attending the public meetings, which may limit the audience size of participants. The more opportunity to let someone be herd, the more opportunities that will be used by those with the means. I’m pretty confident they will pick up on these other tools soon.

I am a little concerned that some of the founders organizing the Columbus SMC group found PodCamp Ohio somewhat threatening. I hope they did not get that impression cause it is definitely not something meant to compete with other groups with similar goals. PodCamp is a social event with the primary goal to bring bloggers and podcasters together to share knowledge and network with each other. I hope the Columbus SMC organizers don’t feel threatened by the event, that’s certainly not the events goal and I am confident that’s not what Chris Brogan or Christopher Penn intended when they created PodCamp.

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News PHP Podcasting

PHP code to format Program Name for 1-click zune subscription

I added the Zune 1-click subscription option to Blubrry Podcasting and Tech Podcasts. I ran into an issue where show titles that contain special characters, such as quotes, would break the rest of the web page.

Below is the solution I implemented for the problem.

Fix

<a href=”< ?php
$title_for_zune = ereg_replace(‘[^A-Za-z0-9 ]’, ”, $show_title);
$title_for_zune = str_replace(‘ ‘, ‘_’, $title_for_zune);
echo ‘zune://subscribe/?’.$title_for_zune.’=’.$feed;
?>” title=”Add to Zune”>Add to Zune</a>

Having spaces in the URL does not validate, so I replace spaces with the _ character. If you are not worried about HTML validation, you can remove the str_replace function call.

I am not sure who came up with this protocol for the add to Zune 1-click subscription, as it does not appear to be very well thought out. Most other sites like Digg only require the feed url, which will never contain characters that could break your web pages.  As Jason Van Orden points out, the format is more complex than it needs to be.

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PodCamp Ohio

I recently started organizing and planning an event called PodCamp Ohio for 2008. So far everything is coming together, I couldn’t be more pleased with the progress.

The week before Thanksgiving, I started a Google Group and invited some podcasters who were previously interested in a PodCamp Ohio for 2008. Within a week the Google Group lit up with lots of participation. We’re having our first on-line meeting tomorrow night (Thursday) and our first meet-up this Saturday.

For those who are curious, PodCamp is an event for podcasters and bloggers to meet and learn from each other. Each PodCamp varies but typically they include tables for sponsors to hand out swag, a commons area for socializing throughout the day and plenty of 1 hour sessions where bloggers and podcasters talk about specific topics.

Web Site: www.podcampohio.com

The tentative date for PodCamp Ohio is Saturday, June 28, 2008. If you’re a podcaster/blogger or interested in either, please come. The PodCamp should be very educational.