WordCamp Dallas 2008

No, the timestamp does not lie. I really am up at 2:45am.

WordCamp 2008 has come and gone. The next one can’t get here soon enough, as I had a productive experience (even though I was only able to attend Saturday’s sessions) and would like to attend more events such as this.

I was surprised at how much I got out of it, not only on the subject of technology but also overall experience. And the size was just right, with an diverse audience that offered some excellent networking opportunities, my top goal of the weekend.

AB wondered what I had learned, and I think it’s important to share. Here are some brief notes of each session I attended and how I might apply it to my blog and/or life:

  • WordPress 2.5 and Beyond: Matt Mullenweg, one of the creators of WordPress, the software that powers my blog, kicked things off with this keynote celebrating the latest release and its new features, including the cleaner administrative interface and the Gallery functionality. Matt was gracious enough to spend a few minutes with me one-on-one afterwards, and his suggestions on how to reorganize some of my site structure were very helpful (more on that subject in a later post).
  • 45 Ways to Power Up Your Blog: John Pozadzides of Layered Technologies had a two-part presentation, where he fired off numerous improvements that he believes enhance the visibility to search engines of one’s website. Most of these I was already doing (using ALT and TITLE attributes in my <img> and <a> tags), some I will start doing (hosting images locally instead of on Flickr), and some just won’t fly (using “English titles” to my posts). He capped things off with a demonstration of Woopra, real-time web statistics analyzer with an impressive user interface. Lorelle VanFossen has posted the best review of the Woopra experience on her website.
  • How to Prevent, Detect and Stop Content Theft: Jonathan Bailey operates Plagarism Today, a resource to help content owners protect their online work. Because I invest as much creative energy into my work as a traditional author does into a published book, this subject was of prime interest to me. Jonathan laid out a good list of resources, including WordPress plugins, which will help any user minimize the possibilities and fallout from theft of their content.
  • Cali Lewis and Neal Campbell: Cali Lewis and Neal Campbell need no introduction, but they do need thanks. Their presentation was the most-inspirational of the day, at least in terms of sparking initiative and creativity. Their best advice was “Just start!”, as in get out there and write, podcast, draw, or code — but don’t just sit there planning what to do or it may never happen. This and the rest of the afternoon’s presentations were a welcome respite from a day filled with technical presentations up to this point.
  • C’mon, Let’s Talk! Building Influence and Interaction with Blogging: Liz Strauss runs Successful Blog, where the title sums up her passion. She made an excellent point that readers sometimes don’t leave comments on posts because they may be so complete that the reader cannot contribute anything besides a flat, “Good job.” I tend to overwork my words, especially when it comes to the stories on my site, so taking action on that advice should prove an interesting challenge.
  • WordPress Power Tips: Lorelle VanFossen rounded out the day with tough talk on what’s good and bad about WordPress. She’s a well-spoken woman, and her presentation was frank about how one tool — or piece of software such as WordPress — can’t solve all of her productivity needs. As I told her afterwards, it was a good contrast to the rest of the day, which leaned towards more of a love-in for the software (after all, those attending a WordCamp are likely there because of a disposition towards WordPress).

So, who’s going with me next year?

Author: Matthew

Husband to Jenn, father to Zachary and Penelope, blogger, artist, WordPress consultant, OpenCamp organizer, and running enthusiast. Brother, can you spare an extra hour in the day?

7 thoughts on “WordCamp Dallas 2008”

  1. me me me me!!!

    I keep laughing about your comment. It never occurred to me that my talk would have anything negative about WordPress. My point was about the possibilities beyond WordPress core programming and Plugins to answering the impossible with WordPress, like adding powerful features beyond Plugins on sites like WordPress.com. The WordPress Community features some of the most creative folks in the world, and when faced with a challenge, they come through in surprising ways.

    My love for WordPress doesn’t stop me from giving it tough love. I always have. On my blog and otherwise. Which is probably why they still tolerate me. 😉 I’m a user. I tell them how it is like a user. I am not an employee, but if I was, I would still speak the truth as I see it. WordPress can take that truth, which is one of the reasons why I love it.

    Not many can.

    I’m so glad you enjoyed WordCamp Dallas. It was so much fun and I learned so much and had a great time meeting everyone and learning from them. What an amazing group of people!

  2. @Lorelle Yeah, “negative” is probably not the right word to describe your enjoyment of the product. “Tough love” is much better.

    @Jenny Next year, I’m gunning for them to move locations and make it WordCamp Aruba. Better than WordCamp Waco or something like that.

  3. Wouldn’t I have to switch to WordPress to do that? I mean…I like being different and all, but I’d really hate to stick out too much. However, the temptation to party–I mean–LEARN–with you and Jenny in the same room might prove too tempting.

  4. @AB Although the conference was WordPress-centric, only a quarter of the topics were WordPress-based. And even those had aspects which could be applied to any brand of blog software (including TypeKey). At some point, professional recordings will be posted online — be sure to check some of them out!

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