Tag Archives: Wordcamp

Atlanta’s First Wordcamp was hot (and cold)

WCATL was held on a brutally cold winter day during the coldest stretch of weather in Atlanta for the past 25 years.  Start of the event had to be postponed for one hour due to weather. But even so approximately 400 wordpress developers, designers, bloggers, and other wordpress enthusiasts turned out.  I arrived on time which meant being an hour early due to the schedule change. Luckily I fell into an impromptu one hour tour of the venue (Savannah College of Art and Design) by the SCAD director of social media, Jason Parker(@jasonaut), who gave us a great tour of this fantastic facility.

The keynote by Jane Wells covered upcoming changes in WordPress 3.0 such as the merge of single WordPress with the multi-site version known as MU, moving key plugins into core, custom post types, and a new default theme. Automatic is adding more UI/UX contributors to WordPress development with a new mail list at http://lists.automattic.com/mailman/listinfo/wp-ui

I didn’t attend the session by Adria Richards, “What the heck is WordPress”, but it’s a great intro to WordPress so here are the slides.

What The Heck Is WordPress

The first session I actually attended was “Building sites quickly w/ parent/child themes” presented by Ryan Imel.

Other sessions I attended included:

“You’re Doing It Wrong, How to Code the WordPress Way,” by Chris Scott (@chrisscott)

“WordPress Security – Protecting your WordPress from the Inside Out” by Syed Balkhi (@wpbeginner)
“How to Start Freelancing with WordPress especially if you are a n00b” by John Saddington (@human3rror)

I was having so much fun attending breakout sessions that I missed the genus bar staffed by the likes of Tessa Horehled(@tessa), Paul Stamatiou(@stammy), Dougal Campbell(@dougal), and Tammy Hart(@tammyhart) to name a few,  but heard it was outstanding.

One thing I love about attending Wordcamp is all the interesting people you meet there.  One person I met uses WordPress to quickly create websites that advertise his Georgia insurance business where he has over 300 WordPress sites each with a unique domain name representing just about every possible type of insurance coverage in Georgia. If you google virtually any Georgia Insurance coverage type one of his 300 sites will be on top of the return list.  He mentioned that when he switched his platform to WordPress from plain old html a year ago his SEO results improved substantially…thus helping to confirm something I have always heard that WordPress is very SEO friendly.

All of the presentations are here on Slideshare.

For more insight into WCATL check out Jenny Munn’s (@jennymunn) youtube video,  http://bit.ly/5M2njZ

Also sessions that were held in the main room C were live broadcast and recorded on ustream.  The link is here.

Finally I didn’t attend the after party held at TAP but I did watch the video that someone recorded on a laptop…looks like much fun was had by all.

Many thanks to @tessa, @sheatsb, and @cdharrison for all their work organizing the event. I’m really looking forward to Atlanta Wordcamp 2011 (Feb 11&12).

WordCamp Birmingham 2009

Just got back from Wordcamp Birmingham. I have to say was one of the best events I’ve attended in years. It was a 2 day event but I was only able to attend the first day on Saturday September 26th.  The venue for day one was a place called the Innovation Depot in downtown Birmingham. ..an incubator for startup companies. Sessions got underway around 9am with 2 tracks, one advanced and one “non” advanced I suppose. Although new to wordpress I tended to stick mostly with sessions in the advanced track as they seemed to match my interests.

Twitter hash tag is #wcbhm09 if you want to check out tweets for the event.

The first session was “Jumping into WordPress Plugin Programming” by @Dougal, one of the original WordPress core developers.

One of my favorate sessions of the day was “WordPress and Your Brand” by Sara Cannon. Sara’s presentation included a lot of useful information on branding, selecting a theme, and useful plugins.

Next up was “Essential SEO and Analytics for WordPress” by Jeremy Flint. Jeremy’s session was packed with tips for SEO performance.

One of the most useful aspects from all the presentations I attended on Saturday was advice on which WordPress plugins to use. There are so many from which to choose it’s good to now have a list of the most essential and know all these WordPress experts are using them too.

Lunch was outstanding with tons of BBQ (leftovers were available for the remainder of the day) and the highlight, Matt Mullenweg, the founding developer of WordPress. During lunch Matt led a town hall style meeting opening up the floor to any and all questions regarding WordPress.

Afternoon sessions I attended were “Beyond the Blog: Setting up a Full Dynamic site with WordPress” by Mitch Canter, “Plugins to Die For” by Tammy Hart, and “Design Your First WordPress Theme in Minutes” by Brett Bumeter.

All of the afternoon sessions I attended were really packed with useful information to jumpstart my WordPress efforts. However my favorite was Brett’s session which highlighted a tool for theme development called Artisteer, which I’ve already purchased and used to create my first theme…and like Brett said in his presentation it only took a few minutes.

The final session of the day deserves special mention. It was an example of the power of blogging (using WordPress of course) to create political change and express free ideas in spite of opposition by repressive governments. A young woman, Esra’a El Shafei, from the middle east who operates the website, mideastyouth.com, spoke to us about her efforts to promote understanding and knowledge of government repression especially against freedoms of speech in that region of the World.

All in all Wordcamp Birmingham was awesome and I’m already looking forward to next year.

I should also mention the hotel where my wife and I stayed was a great experience. An old renovated hotel in downtown Birmingham called theThe Redmont Hotel. This place had great atmosphere, friendly helpful staff, two bars, and affordable prices. And if you’re in Birmingham sometime looking for a place to eat I can recommend J Clyde, located in Birmingham’s historic 5 Points South Entertainment District, a laid back tavern and ale house my wife and I greatly enjoyed visiting Saturday evening.