1st April 2008

WordCamp Dallas 2008 – the AfterCamp Report

WordCamp Dallas 2008What a weekend this has been! If you read my last post, you’ll know I was in Frisco, TX attending WordCamp Dallas 2008 on Saturday and Sunday. I’ve absorbed so much new information about WordPress that I’m afraid my brain is spilling over a bit, like when you pour a beer into a cold glass and it foams more than you expected – stick your finger in it quick unless you want a mess!

I’m still amazed at how much value was packed into this terrific conference. And as a bonus I got to meet some of the people whose blogs and podcasts I subscribe to and read frequently……like Charles Stricklin and Jonathan Bailey of The WordPress Podcast, Mark Ghosh of Weblog Tools Collection, and Jeff Chandler from Jeffro2pt0, the inimitable firecracker Lorelle Van Fossen (from whom I have learned much thru her Blog, Lorelle On WordPress and who is one of the nicest, warmest people you’ll ever meet!), and of course the one and only “Mr. WordPress”, Matt Mullenweg (a founding developer of WordPress and the President of Automattic, the company responsible for both WordPress and Akismet. All of them were very approachable, warm, friendly, and very generous with their time and expertise.

I’ve no doubt that if you do a search on “WordCamp Dallas” over the next few days you’ll find tons of blog postings from other attendees, filled with reviews of the sessions and accompanied by the numerous photos and videos that were taken during the last two days. One site, Mashable.com, even streamed much of it live.

If you’re a WordPress fan, then no doubt you’re already aware that the long-awaited and much touted version 2.5 was released on Saturday (the 29th), and the first hour of the program on Saturday was devoted to a presentation by Matt Mullenweg on the new version and it’s many nifty new features and improvements. I’ll be upgrading this week, and will post a followup on my experience of it sometime next week. I have a number of blogs I manage for others that I’ll be upgrading as well, so it’s going to be a busy week – and that’s in addition to my “day job”.

If you’re not currently using WordPress, as either a blog or a CMS/site building tool, I highly recommend that you check it out. Personally I think it’s the greatest thing to come along since, well since the internet. Highly flexible and customizable, it allows novices to quickly construct their own home on the ‘net, and still allows advanced users to add as much sophistication as they wish.

Other standout presentations (that had me taking copious notes as fast as my fingers could type) were John Pozadzides’s45 Ways to Power Up Your Blog“, Jonathan Bailey’s excellent discourse on “How to Prevent, Detect, and Stop Content Theft” (something I have been a victim of so I plan to implement a number of his suggestions), Lorelle’s meaty lecture on “WordPress Power Tips” (she had her book “Blogging Tips: What bloggers won’t tell you about blogging” there too – they were going fast but I managed to get a copy and devoured most of it in my spare time and on the flight home – well worth the price!) And of course Charles and Jonathan’s live recording of the WordPress Podcast – very fun to watch.

One other notable item of interest – I was really struck by how many Mac users were in attendance – at most conferences I attend I generally only see around 10% to 15% of the laptop bearers holding Macs – at WordCamp Dallas 2008 this number was north of 50% from what I could see, and I would guess that nearly 90% of the audience had their laptops out during the entire event – most were taking notes, some were doing “live blogging” and chats to report on the event, many were participating in the live group Twitter. It was, in short, a blast. An educational blast.

If you didn’t make it there this year, I encourage you to consider going next year – I learned a lot and met so many nice people this year that I know I won’t miss the next one!

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6 Responses to “WordCamp Dallas 2008 – the AfterCamp Report”

  1. On April 1st, 2008,Jonathan Bailey Says:

    Thank you for coming and help to make the event such a success! I had a great time and enjoyed meeting everyone, including yourself. I can’t wait for next year already!

  2. 1 On April 1st, 2008,Kitten Says:

    Thanks Jonathan – I can’t wait as well! As soon as Charles picks a date I’m blocking it out on my calendar!

  3. 2 On April 2nd, 2008,Jeffro2pt0 Says:

    Hey Kitten, it was awesome meeting you and all of the other WordPressers out there. It is definitely a different experience getting to meet the blogger behind the blog versus reading text all the time. Hope to see you at another WordPress event sometime in the future!

  4. 3 On April 2nd, 2008,Kitten Says:

    Hey Jeff – thanks! It was a great experience for me – I’m a huge fan of yours and many of the others who were there. i’ll definitely plan to be at future WordPress events!

  5. 4 On April 3rd, 2008,Spamboy Says:

    I guess the ratio of Mac to PC isn’t too surprising at a conference such as WordCamp — people who use platforms such as Mac are often interested in the same design principles that go into things like WordPress, such as collaboration, elegance, and usability.

  6. 5 On April 3rd, 2008,Kitten Says:

    So right, Spamboy – WordPress transcends other tools requiring high level technical skills, bringing it to the masses, and allowing everyday folks to have a professional looking site. This is very appealing to designers who don’t necessarily want to be coders also. The Mac fits right in with that – it’s an elegant tool that just works without requiring a lot from it’s users.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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