I spent the past day and a half downtown at the inaugural WordCamp Atlanta, which turned out to be one of the best technical/professional conferences I’ve ever attended. Usually I find that there is at least one time slot, and usually several, where there is no presentation in which I am interested. Not so this time — there was at least one interesting talk in every session; because of the shortened schedule there were even conflicts and at least one canceled presentation that I’d wanted to attend.
Lucky for me and everyone else, all the presenters are sharing their presentation slides at Slideshare (hashtag #wcatl). All the presentations were also taped and streamed, and are being made available online for later viewing, hurray! Plus some people took notes and have posted them online, as I will be doing for the sessions I attended over the next few days.
So what did I choose to do while there? On Friday night I:
- Listened to Alejandro Leal and Thomas Wheatley of Creative Loafing talk about the journalists’ (read: users’) perspective of using WordPress. The technogeeks in the audience weren’t too appreciative but I think it was a good perspective to hear.
- Became evangelized in the ways of SEO by Topher Kohan of CNN — thirty minutes that made the $35 registration fee seem like a bargain.
- Heard from Chaz Parizman about how Scripps Network uses WordPress to cover their “quick and dirty” “need a website THIS MINUTE” needs.
Saturday I spent my time with:
- Jane Wells of Automattic as she shared what we have to look forward to from WordPress during 2010 in her keynote address.
- Ryan Imel, who finished the job of convincing me that parent/child themes are a GOOD thing.
- Chris Scott, who told us all how we are coding things wrong and how to do it The WordPress Way (or rather the correct way regardless of platform).
- Scott Kingsley Clark, who failed to absolutely convince me that the Pods plugin is the answer to my CMS issues, though he did pique my interest enough that I will investigate further.
- Wade Kwon and audience, who all wanted to break those barriers to blogging and brainstormed some good solutions.
- Dave Coustan and his suggestions on strategies for creating quality content and not losing out to the “content farms.”
- and finally Mark Jaquith’s closing Q&A session, straight from the mouth of a WP lead developer.
The live Twitter stream (hashtag #wcatl) moved at warp speed, it seemed, and it was hard to catch all the information on it. Attendees posted a lot of good links there, and I tried to “favorite” all the good ones so I could find them later.
I feel like my poor brain is in information overload, so I just may process some of that in my next few posts here. I also have some new ideas and tasks in my head to handle in the next few days/weeks — a GOOD outcome!
The only downside for me was personal. It is always hard for me to just walk up to unknown people and start chatting thanks to my little psychological disorder combination which makes me withdraw into myself in crowds, and it was certainly true here. It seemed like people already knew each other to a large extent (how?? I don’t know.) and that made it doubly intimidating. However, that’s an incentive to try to connect with the local WordPress community before next year. If I already know people, it’s manageable. It’s only when I’m surrounded by strangers that I freeze.