Take 6,500 people, age 22 plus or minus 4, and with a great passion for information technology. Mix these folks with 10,000 computing devices, random mass chanting, oodles of applications, 10 simultaneous sessions, flashy vendor booths, 5,000 tents, all within a large warehouse-like structure? Add to this a massive thunderstorm and temporary power outage. It’s called “Campus Party” – Brazil 2011. A fantastic event.
I had the pleasure of accompanying Web Foundation Directors Tim Berners-Lee and Rosemary Leith to experience Campus Party 2011 in São Paulo yesterday and today. Tim and Al Gore did a keynote discussion, and were surprised to be joined briefly via video by Vint Cerf. Several common themes emerged during their discussion: We all must work to keep the Web free and open. Decentralization of power is important — too much control in too few hands is dangerous. Privacy and transparency are both important. The Web is about connections of people, not machines. The potential of the Web is far from met. The potential of the Web to serve people in developing countries is particularly high.
Campus Party Brazil 2011 is the latest in an expanding and evolving movement under the direction of founder Paco Regageles. What started as a “LAN Party” of 50 gamers in Málaga, Spain in 1997, has grown to embrace a wider agenda, including the application of technologies to address social challenges around the world. Look for Campus Party events and their energetic and skill participants, called “campuseros”, to come to a country near you in the not too distant future.
I’m off the São Paulo airport now. Will post more photos and some interesting video clips later.