Blogging from WordCamp

Westi, Diana and I are at WordCamp. We’re in the Swedish American Hall in San Francisco – took us a while to find it, but we did okay. We got our official WordCamp shirts. We found some back seats in the balcony, and we’re listening to the first presentation on PodPress, a podcasting plugin for WordPress.

There are 300+ attendees and it seems the wifi got swamped and went down, but it’s back up now.

My highlight so far is getting a glimpse of Matt Mullenweg and confirming for my own satisfaction that he’s every bit as adorable in person as he is online. Not only does he have the distinction of being the founding developer of WordPress at a very young age, he comes off as an extremely pleasant and gracious human being.

The WordCamp speakers

I’m not so excited about podcasting as I don’t plan to do it for myself, but still, it’s good to know I can encourage potential podcasters/customers of Cruzio to use WordPress and PodPress to publish themselves.

More in a bit…

John Dvorak is up now, the professional jerk, I mean journalist ;-) He’s staying true to form, made a putdown joke within a minute of opening his mouth.

Om Malik is saying something nice about bloggers being aware that you’re telling an ongoing story that grows from hour to hour (or day to day).

They seem to be talking now about why traditional news media are declining. Om Malik says some bloggers will become better and better reporters and with the power to publish immediately will succeed.

Hah! John Dvorak is pointing out the temptations of bloggers to focus on trivial news. Okay, he just admitted he does it too, at least. Oh, he just plugged his blog URL again… now he’s criticizing bloggers for constantly criticizing traditional media… what a joker. I cannot take this man seriously AT ALL.

putting laptop to sleep so I’ll have juice for more interesting stuff later.

Om Malik just said something like “[as a blogger] you get to decide what kind of bartender you want to be. You can be a good bartender or a crazy bartender. You set the tone for the people coming to drink in your bar.” (speaking about comments and hostile/idiotic commenters)

Dvorak just said “Your story has to have a factoidal basis”. Honest, I am not kidding!!!

OK, after lunch… Lorelle wanted to give us all a free copy of her book of blogging tips! But UPS didn’t get them here. Bummer.

Her topic: Kicking ass content. I love her stage presence and delivery. She’s a natural.

The best thing she told us: leave holes in your content so your readers will fill them in with the comments. Encourage participation by posting a list of 6 or 7 great things instead of 10; then your readers will comment, oh you forgot this one, and this one, and this one.

OK, it’s Sunday now. Sorry. I very typically started out strong and quickly faded as tiredness and headache set in.

To continue on Lorelle: I loved that she exhorted us to be friendly and helpful to other bloggers and help each other succeed. Team spirit! Her main focus was on blogging as conversation, between bloggers and readers, between blogger and blogger. Good stuff. I think I’ll have to buy her book since I didn’t get a free one. Every blogger should subscribe to Lorelle on WordPress.

I also enjoyed the presentation on getting involved with WordPress. They want our help, but we get to choose what we want to do. Lorelle said they need folks to help with documentation, specifically screencast how-tos. I think I might try making one.

There was a presentation on blog design which wasn’t so exciting but got me thinking about what elements are essential on my blog, and which I can get rid of. I took down my weather listing from my sidebar.

Last was Matt Cutts of Google who gave us scads of info about search engine optimization for our blogs. The facts came too fast and furious for me to note, though I knew some of them already. I do hope Matt keeps his promise to post his presentation notes on his blog, which I’m subscribing to from now on.

Stephanie Booth took very thorough notes of the day.

WordCamp attendees

In between the official stuff, I managed to briefly meet Lori Berkowitz, who has a very cool personal blog and a cool site design business; Mary Kolesnikova, who started a provocative blog and seems to have many creative, geeky projects going; and three smart, successful Web designers who flew out from New Hampshire and who sat in the row in front of us. Sorry guys, didn’t get your names.

I didn’t meet the photographer, but he took a very nice photo of Westi and Diana.

Overall, the day was a thrilling inspiration. The WordPress community is not only thriving, it’s welcoming and spirited. I look forward to participating and contributing more.

5 Responses to “Blogging from WordCamp”

  1. lori

    hey jessi. i am lori from i am at wordcamp too listening to john dvorak and om malik. maybe we will get to meet today. i am wearing a dark grey wordcamp t-shirt and have a purple backpack.

  2. Westi

    Hey Jessi, what are your favorites of the day? In other words, Jessi’s Besties.

  3. Jessi

    Lorelle telling us to leave holes in our posts for the readers to fill in with comments; and Robert Hoekman helping us think about designing our blogs to encourage the participation we want from our readers; and of course, Matt just being Matt!

    Oh, and being here with you and Diana!!!!

  4. Peggy

    Thanks for sharing the description and the pictures, Jessi!