What’s a NetHui or: how can I learn to stop worrying and do NetHui well?
Nethui isn’t a conference. It’s not even a barcamp. Participants aren’t passive – we don’t just sit and listen to speakers and experts, we participate. NetHui is a collaborative meeting of anyone and everyone interested in the Internet– how it works, how it could work, and what we can do because it works.
NetHui involves a range of different formats. There are workshops, keynotes and plenary panels. At the heart of NetHui are 1-hour discussion sessions on topics and issues suggested by the NetHui community. There are also evening side events where we try to have some fun as well, with networking drinks and a movie night.
NetHui is a community event where everyone’s opinions and ideas are equally valued. The event is open to all people regardless of age, background, gender or ethnicity. A respectful, open attitude towards others is expected from all participants, speakers, exhibitors and volunteers. Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated and may result in your removal from the event.
So how do you ‘NetHui’?
1. Engage in NetHui programme planning
Share your ideas and thoughts for the programme:
- suggest a discussion sessions topic
- offer ideas for panels, keynotes or side events.
Offer your thoughts by:
Become a part of NetHui. If you’re interested, you can offer to be a:
- session facilitator or contributor
- collaborative note-taking coordinator
- side event host
- Day 1 workshop host
- event volunteer
- mic runner.
The community’s programme suggestions often have elements of crossover and we receive more suggestions than we have rooms to present them in. This means that once you’ve sent us your suggestions for the programme, we call everyone who’s interested together for a meeting. There, we review the programme suggestions and themes. This meeting is an opportunity to give feedback on and input into the NetHui programme. Community input on the programme helps create balance, fill any gaps and bring together everyone interested in making sessions happen.
People can come to these meetings in-person and via technology like video-conferencing, to make sure the most people possible can attend.
After this programme meeting, NetHui organisers will confirm sessions which are going into the programme. Each session has two facilitators – they are asked to decide on the session’s name, brief description, and twitter hashtag. They are also asked to drum up contributors and interested people to join the session. Don’t panic about being left to sort a session on your own – we’ll try and group like-minded volunteers and provide support. The outcome will be a draft program with speakers/session facilitators who can fill in detail.
As well as making a draft programme of sessions, there will be empty barcamp sessions on Days 1 and 2 – an important part of NetHui’s spontaneity.
About 10 days before NetHui, we’ll hold a facilitators’ training and meet-up session. This will be an opportunity to learn about and share techniques and experiences for making the most of the sessions. It was a popular event last year for meeting other members of the NetHui community and getting ready for the event. Again, people can attend in person or via conference call.
2. Get involved during the event
- Speak up in sessions – there’ll be a microphone, to make sure live-streaming participants can join in.
- Everyone has an equal voice at NetHui – use yours.
- Attend Jumpstart on Day 0 and help shape the barcamp sessions.
- Follow, and contribute to, @NetHuiNZ or #NetHui on Twitter.
- Follow sessions online and get involved with remote participation and collaborative notes.
- Try attending sessions outside your direct interests.
- Enjoy the conversation, make connections and build on them after Nethui.
Day 0 of NetHui is a bit different. It’s a workshop day where separate one day people hold separate, one-day sessions on a range of interest areas. If none of the focused workshops appeal to you, the main workshop is called Jumpstart and is the place to be – it’s a great way to meet people and get your ideas flowing for the rest of NetHui.
For Days 1 and 2 (the main event), NetHui starts with everyone coming together for a keynote or panel to get things started. Then, the event splits into a number of sessions that run concurrently. You are welcome and encouraged to choose individual sessions and move freely between them. The only stipulation is that sessions start on time – please be prompt! Some sessions are more popular than others, be prepared to stand.
All the sessions are recorded and streamed live. To facilitate this there are runners with mics in each room – please wait for a microphone to make sure everyone can hear your point of view.
The facilitator’s job isn’t to lead the conversation but to set the scene, keep things flowing and sum up at the end. While they will try to prevent things getting bogged down, they are primarily there to make sure that the conversation belongs to everyone in the session. This way of working can take some getting used to, but it’s a powerful way to bring out themes that the facilitator isn’t aware of and to build new networks.
At key points during the day we’ll come together again for a speaker or to drink coffee and eat an excellent meal. You’re not required to eat or drink, but it’s high-quality networking time – we encourage you to take up that option when you register, or make lunchtime plans with others attending.
In the evenings, there are a number of side events – some will be formally organised, while others will form around an issue or group on the day. NetHui provides space for these to happen.
Sponsors & Community Supporters
NetHui wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of a large number of community partners and sponsors. If you would like to be a community support organisation and help us make NetHui 2015 the best one yet, please contact [email protected].