A Swedish experiment, 400 web geeks on an island

August 17th, 2010 by Mattias Tyrberg

This post will describe what Sweden Social Web Camp (SSWC) is and why Sweden’s social media geeks meet on an island far far away without Internet connection.

Think of a small island far away from large cities or other signs of civizilation. Imagaine a life without cellular reception, only a few power supplies and most of the time no Internet connection. This is what hundreds of Swedish people have been looking forward all summer and finally this weekend 400 happy and enthusiastic Swedish web geeks have experienced this together.
Sweden Social Web Camp (#SSWC) is an unconferance for people interested in social media. Me (Mattias Tyrberg) and Fredrik Hörte joined SSWC to get feedback from developers regarding their need of text analysis such as tagging and related texts. So what is SSWC?

The history – SSWC 2009
400 social media geeks on an island outside of nowhere, how did this happened?
The (un)conference started by chance last year by Tomas Wennström & Kristin Heinonen. Tomas thought it would be fun to meet some guys in a country house and talk about social media. A couple of tweets later (and a lot of re-tweets) hundreds of people had shown interest in a meetup. Since Tomas didn’t have that a big country house he needed to find a bigger place and in August 2009 the first SSWC with 280 participants toke place on the island Tjärö.

SSWC 2010
SSWC 2009 was nothing but a success. Thanks to all swedish twitter users SSWC got a lot of media coverage and the interest for SSWC-2010 grew bigger.

Tjärö is a small island and the number of rooms for rent is limited. Those who are not as lucky as others need to spend the nights sleeping in tent. Despite the risk of being without proper shelter it only took 40 minutes before the (un)conference was sold out.

So why this hype of going to an island with almost no similarities to the world that we are so used to?
Maybe because we love the idea of being different? Maybe we want to live offline and talk to people in the real world? Maybe we are tired of tweeting about what we had for breakfast?

For us it was all about meeting inspiring people and getting feedback from people using our text analysis services. For others it might be just getting some fresh air and leave the stressful city. Anyhow SSWC 2010 was a success with a lot of good sessions and meetings.

After SSWC 2009 people said that the Swedish Twitter stream died during that weekend since those tweeting the most was trapped on an island without any Internet connection. This year was no different so in our next post we will share what happend during this weekend when Twitter in Sweden was dead.