Liveblogging WordCamp Portland

8:33am: We’re all set up in the main conference room at CubeSpace, bagels and coffee in hand… slide on the project points out that if you want to search on twitter or flickr or anywhere, the hashtag to look for is #wordcampdx.

8:38am: Giveaways of random things, like a free copy of Blogging Tips

8:40am: “Compost Compost Compost!” (Eva explaining CubeSpace)

8:42am: Automatic sent us a bunch of buttons and stickers and tattoos (temporary tattoos). Tattoo contest for creative use (PG-13 please!) over the day.

8:43am: Random silly little WordPress video done to “When You Wish Upon a Star” — cheesy but cute. It’s sort of a list of bloggers and developers and such who’ve managed to be successful using wordpress.

8:48am: Random interviews with various WordPress users.

8:53am: Lorelle just came in dressed as a Fairy Blogmother. “Has no one’s lives have been changed by WordPress here? What the hell am I doing here?”

WordPress Changes Lives:

WordPress lets you concentrate on expression

  • WordPress.com – Freedom to blog!
  • WordPress Themes – Freedom to design.
  • WordPress Plugins – Freedom to play.
  • WordPress Widgets – Sidebar Clutter Accessories
  • WordPress Hacks, Wacks, and Code Joy

WordPress helps the community serve the community

  • Fast Blogs – Katrina, Gustav, London, Subway bombings, Tsunamis, Earthquakes, etc, are a rapid way for community interaction to find and communicate during emergencies.
  • Community support and action
  • Leadership: it provides a way to stand up and communicate.

Start writing what’s on your mind — you’ll feel better for it.

It’s not just what you know, but who.

  • Personal Support and Friendships
  • WordPress Forums
  • WordPress Network (If you like wordpress, you go after wordpress people)
  • WordPress Meetups and WordCamps

WordPress encourages community sharing, provide for all. If you need something, you ask for it and people help, and vice versa (very karmic).

Interesting video presentation created by the Left Thumb Blogger (a woman with cerebral palsy who has been able to share and communicate thanks to accessibility in WordPress).

9:14am: Testimonials, first from a woman from Walla Walla, Washington “Where up until recently, email was beyond them.”

9:16am: Man from a non-profit that brings people from South America up to Portland and teach them English and other skills, and using WordPress, did fundraising and raised $20k+ for the program.

9:17am: Woman from Sparkplugging, talking about how writing things has changed peoples’ lives.

9:18am: Man who decided to try and blog for a living, has been doing it for the past year and a half, tutoring people via blogging and privately teaching Japanese (and vice versa). (Live the dream, brothah!)

9:20am: Indigo Rescue, rescuing animals, had a static, archaic site, and now migrating to wordpress to make keeping the word out easier.

9:21am: Woman from Seattle, “I’d like to tell you WordPress saved my marriage, but it didn’t.” Couple-bloggers, another thing that she and her husband can share. Helped give her a voice and not be afraid to give her opinion. KUDOS!

9:39am: Just got back inside after going outside for a group photo (will be up on Flickr later). We are a goofy bunch of geeks, I gotta say…

9:45am: T-shirts have arrived, will be handed out at lunch, woo!

And On The Eighth Day…

Launching a group blog in eight days (the Our PDX network)… it actually took 10 (oops!)

10 year old with access to keynote is a dangerous thing… fair warning about the slide transitions.

Day One: Genesis:

  • I wanted a local blog…
  • Todo list: build a blog? Configure a blog? Pick a theme? yeah, that…
  • Today’s motto: Sure, why not build yet another blog
  • I was already running a dozen blogs! Ack!

Day Two: Sky

  • What does it look like?
  • Domain names…
  • To do list: Pick a domain name, register a domain name… or two, or three, or more…
  • Today’s motto: don’t name the baby Aloysius

Day Three: Earth

  • Who is writing this? Let’s get writers, but how to get them when it’s free?
  • Give them TONS of information
  • Give them control — a voice on policy and the site.
  • If you don’t, there’s no encouragement to actually write!
  • Google Group for communication between the bloggers (backchannel), and regular physical meetups (beerandblog!)
  • Todo list: now that you’ve got a skeleton name, get some authors ready.
  • Motto: Talk talk talk talk

Day Four: Heavens

  • “Let’s launch in two days!” HAH!
  • Be ambitious
  • Todo list: Set crazy goals, Find more authors, pressure your friends and co-workers (seriously, don’t assume they wouldn’t want to be part of it — ASK! BE FEARLESS!)

Day Five: Creatures

  • Configuration, themes, plugins, etc…
  • Probably not the best option
  • Todo list: Configure, themse, plugins, spam protection, etc etc etc
  • Motto: Should have installed the maintenance plugin…

Day Six: Food

  • I’m in a meeting all morning, and then discover at lunch that we’ve been “outed”… by a big name.
  • We weren’t ready!
  • Put up a “Oops, welcome!” blog post (no under construction gif though)
  • CONTENT FIRST, PEOPLE!

Day Seven: Rest? HAH!

  • Todo list: All those empty pages with placeholder text.

Day Eight: Freaking out of control!

  • Configure everything, rss, css, theme configurations, email accounts, teaching authors how to email in posts. Crazy full rushed day.

Day Nine: Almost there!

  • Lots of author communication!
  • Admitting that there are things I just don’t know how to do… ask for help.
  • It’s about who you know and not being afraid to ask for help.
  • Know what you’re NOT good at.

Day Ten: Finally!

  • Time to tell the world! Already outed, but be serious, send out announcements to the blog community.
  • If you ask for help and advice and do it transparently, people WILL help.
  • Pie Off? (Ask later!)
  • Spam friends and family, register with aggregators, etc

Our New Baby!

  • Ten days concept to blog!
  • ourpdxnetwork

Ten Commandments from the OurPDX authors:

  1. Thou shalt bloggeth what you knoweth
  2. Read each other’s posts
  3. Respect calling dibs
  4. ALWAYS give credit where credit is due
  5. Comment comment comment! It’s not enough to just post.
  6. Don’t judge a value of a post by the number of comments.
  7. Don’t obsess about page views, worry about content.
  8. Don’t link every post back to your own blog.
  9. Don’t pick fights with your co-authors
  10. Thou shalt not engage with the asshats.

10:07am: Q&A after the EIGHT DAYS presentation by @betsywhim. Was an excellent presentation, some good thoughts about the experience of putting together a group blog.

Pictures are up:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Ten* Proven Plugins to Make Your Blog Pop

From Personal to PR, the Plugins you need to get the most out of your wordpress blog.

What’s so great about plugins anyways?

  • This wordpress site is about you. You’re unique, shouldn’t your site be too?
  • Plugins allow you to specialize your site for your needs quickly and without knowing how to write code
  • Time (yeah, I could say more but who doesn’t like saving time?)
  1. Disqus: Easy connected comments, more interactive discussions, better tools for admins, happier commenters. Threaded, plays nice with other plugins, comment rating, etc. Free!
  2. Twitter Tools: Pull your tweets into your blog, auto-tweet new blog posts, sidebar widget that shows your tweets, archive your tweets, tweet from your blog.
  3. WP-OpenID: A single digital identity is all you need, login to your favorite sites with your openid, your users like you more since they have one less unique login to recall
  4. Clean Archives Reloaded: all of your posts in one place, shows number of comments, helps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Kind of AJAX-y, but uses the jQuery core WordPress already has installed, so no extra overhead.
  5. WP 2.5 Gallery Lightbox: keeps your users on the same page (AJAX ftw), no need to know special short codes, lightbox makes your pictures pop, make your pictures the focus. Older versions were more clunky, but take a look at the new version!
  6. WP Super Cache: creates cached versions of your site, speeds up your load times with less database querying, logged in users never see the cache so it’s always fresh to your regulars… godsend for when you get slashdotted or reddit’d or wanged. Also great for shared server situations! Even on cheap hosting, 4000 hits a minute with no slowdown. Also has a lockdown mode for if you actually get dugg or slashdotted.
  7. WP-Contact form: Get feedback securely, dropdown subject lists, no need for a special email account, keeps users on your site.
  8. Mint: Self-hosted stats tracking… if your site is up, so is mint; live stats tracking, hundreds of useful plugins, customizable dashboard shows it all in one page, even iPhone support… $30 one time fee (the rest of the plugins so far have been free).
  9. YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts Plugin): Unique scoring system, automatically finds relevant related posts, can use tags and categories, includes a sidebar widget… can help suggest tags for a given post, including going through archives, so you can finally get tags onto those old posts!
  10. iPhone Webclip Manager: Stays even if you change your theme, simple custom bookmark icons, lets your logo stick in people’s minds, easy to use… let’s people create custom logo linking directly to your site for iPhone. Pretty slick.
  11. WP-DBManager: Automatic backups, backup to server or email, repair errors in a heartbeat, optimization can speed up your site. Everything you can do to make your site go faster is a good thing. Updates don’t always go smoothly, having backups can save your ass!
  12. WP Automatic Upgrade: makes backups as it runs, automatic mode, everything done from the dashboard, faster upgrade time. A godsend for maintaining a lot of blogs.
  13. Sociable: chose from 67 different social media sites (facebook, digg, reddit, etc), automatically added to posts, helps users get the word out about your blog. If you want to be able to grow your readership, let your users work for you! A reminder: don’t pimp your own posts, it’s poor form/tacky.

All of these will be linked to on http://cdcstudios.com/ later… also do a search for SiliconFlorist and bookmark that site… they have their pulse on what’s happening in Portland more than anyone.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Calais Autotagger
  • Calais Archive tagger
  • Fluency Admin (theme)
  • Smart Update Pinger
  • iWPhone (theme)
  • Treasurelicious

11:37am: Viper’s VideoTags is an excellent plugin worth pimping… annnd we’re done with this session.

1:30pm: WordPress 2.7 preview, woo!

  • Grew out of the “comments” regarding 2.5.
  • Concept is moving out of being a website and becoming more of a web application.
  • New interface, makes a lot more sense in terms of layout.
  • Management gets a significant upgrade including quick-edits, and the ability to specify how the pages are listed.
  • A lot more drag and drop functionality — MOST interface items are moveable to suit your needs (YOU decide what’s “above the fold”)
  • Many oohs and aahs for integrated plugin support.
  • AJAX is pretty heavily used throughout the new design… let’s hear it for integrated jQuery in the core!

1:50pm: the install is updating every 5 minutes, so things are literally changing while Jane is presenting. I’m amused!

  • We’re getting to see the developer Wireframe (the mockups of intended design, stuff that hasn’t even made it into the nightlies… a first!)
  • Batch Edit! BATCH EDIT!
  • Improved Dashboard, more functionality and control of RSS feeds that pipe into it.
  • Due to be released November 10th, feature freeze will be October 10th and the final month is bug fixes.
  • Autoupdating versions of WordPress is “in the works”, but won’t necessarily be in 2.7.
  • Automatic did in fact buy Intense Debate… won’t be in 2.7 but we may see features come out of that acquisition in 2.8. “It was more about wanting to work with that team.” That said, threaded comments and commenting back within the admin panel are in 2.7!

2:11am: Tying Your Tubes with WordPress (Josh Bancroft, www.tinyscreenfuls.com)

  • Some interesting flowcharts to show just how interrelated everything on the internet is now as soon as you start thinking about social media.
  • Josh’s Great Unified Theory of the Web
  • Tubes where you create
  • Tubes where you read
  • Tubes where you discuss
  • Tubes where you publish
  • It’s a massive venn diagram, as there’s a lot of overlap between them (though not always).
  • Something to think about is use “asides” for content from other sources, such as Twitter.
  • Most of this information is on Josh’s site: Tying Your Tubes with WordPress
  • It’s kind of telling that when he asked who here weren’t on twitter, THREE people raised their hands… out of about 50.
  • Showing a social web profile, FriendFeed, lets people go to one spot to see where you are wherever.
  • Good examples of “publications” (not really looking for comments or communal stuff) would be linkblogs. Sites like soup.io and tumblr.com are both AWESOME for this.

3:08pm: Next breakout session: Feed Your Blog with RSS

  • Discussing how to better aggregate your feeds, making your site a portal for related information.
  • Delicious is handy for finding related sites to include, checking out tag clouds for tags that are relevant
  • Find sites that suit what you’re looking for, and then grab their rss feed and add it all together in a Yahoo Pipe. (Make multiple pipes with a pipe of pipes if you find it starting to lag behind.)
  • use FeedInformer to make a digest of those pipes, and use “create embed code” function of it. (Better to use PHP over Javascript so search engines parse it better.)
  • RSS parsing feeds using PHP include SimplePie and Magpie, worth checking out… let’s you host the parsing.
  • aideRSS is a new startup involving better RSS support. Examines which posts seem to be getting good response, and allows you to assess via scoring what’s happening on your site.
  • Using custom searches via Google (searches against a specific list of sites or pages) can really make blogging about a subject easier.
  • If a site doesn’t have an rss feed, use dapper! It’s web2.0, and breaks occasionally, but effectively scrapes a page and feeds it to you.
  • Other stuff: http://www.agglom.com, and Iterasi

5 thoughts on “Liveblogging WordCamp Portland

  1. I’m glad that you were able to make it & got so much value from WordCamp! It was pretty amazing for those of us who put it together as well – we had high hopes, sure, but as with any other conference, the people attending are what really make it pop in the end.

  2. It was great meeting you, Betsy, and you definitely did a great job getting it all together! I agree — as much as the presentations were excellent, a HUGE part of any conference is the attendees, who all seemed genuine, involved, and friendly. Great stuff, and I’ll definitely be looking forward to it again next year.

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