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Posted Sunday, August 19, 2007, at 12:54 PM

Ivy Hogan and Katherine Coble talk about "Music City Bloggers," their blog aggregator, during one of the informal sessions at Cafe Coco.
I had a terrific time in Nashville on Saturday at something called "BarCamp." There's a story behind the name, but I don't know it well enough to tell it completely -- if I recall correctly, the original event was organized as an informal alternative, held in a nearby bar, to a stuffy conference taking place in hotel meeting rooms. Now, BarCamps are held everyhwere, it's a tradition to hold them at a nightclub or similar venue.

Anyway, there are now BarCamps held all over the country on technology and new media issues, including the on Saturday at the Exit/In on Elliston Place in Nashville. It was a free conference, with speakers on a variety of topics from blogging to careers to online advertising to software development and database administration (the last two of which were over my head). There were structured programs at the Exit/In, and then at Cafe Coco nearby there were less structured programs, reminiscent of the original BarCamp -- virtually anyone who wanted to could sign up to speak at Cafe Coco.

I enjoyed meeting, or in some cases re-connecting with, some of the Nashville and other Middle Tennessee bloggers I've corresponded with or read in the past. I'll probably do a story for the newspaper this week, based on a couple of the presentations, about how companies can use blogs to connect with their customers.

If they do another one of these in Nashville, and if you're at all interested in new media, it would be well worth your time.

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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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