I’m very excited to see how fast PodCamp Boston 4 is growing, particularly under new leadership as someone takes PodCamp Boston in new directions this year as lead organizer. One of the most interesting aspects of PCB4 is the refocus on shared community knowledge through Questions.

How many times have you been to a conference and seen the same session descriptions over and over again, fully laden with jargon and as generic as toothpaste? “Industry leading best practices session given by noted thought leader…” Will the session even be what you want it to be about? You don’t know, and you roll the dice and hope the session isn’t going to bore you to tears or be one long product pitch.

Chris Brogan wondering, from his Flickr setPodCamp Questions are a different take on the conference. We all have piles of video of top speakers doing their talking head thing. You can, as Mitch Joel pointed out, attend the best conference in the world from your desk. Why would you spend the time and money to travel across town, across country, across the world to have the same experience, or even a lesser experience, since TED Talks are probably the best video sessions available to you?

You wouldn’t. I wouldn’t.

What you would do, what I would do as an explorer, as a person on a mission to get my questions answered, is trek all over the place to get real answers to my questions.

That’s why PodCamp Boston 4 is asking people to sign up not as speakers, not as presenters, but as Questioners to lead a Question discussion. What burning question do you have about new media, podcasting, blogging, social media, etc. that you just don’t have the answer to?

Think about that for a second. The “speaker” doesn’t know the answers to their “session”? Yes. That’s the whole point. It’s reversing the speaker/audience model completely, because for every person with the courage to ask a question, there are a dozen people with the exact same question that aren’t as eager to give voice to it and another dozen who never thought to ask the question but deeply want to hear the answer now that they’ve heard the question. Instead, you’ll ask the question and be in a room with dozens of like minded people, putting together the answer you could never get from a talking head speech. Chris Brogan started this at PodCamp Toronto 2007, leading a session called, “Somebody Teach Me Final Cut Pro”.

Think about how much easier it will be to decide where you want to spend your time at PodCamp Boston 4. Rather than wade through senseless, jargon laden session descriptions, you’ll just take a look at the questions and decide which ones you want the answers to as well.

– What’s next in social media?
– How do I get more viewers for my podcast?
– What’s the ROI of Facebook?
– How do I write an application against Twitter’s Social Graph API?

If you’re not registered for PodCamp Boston 4, you’re going to miss out on some great questions and answers – including yours.

Register today to attend PodCamp Boston 4, then sign up to ask a question and lead a discussion to the answers you want.

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