Aug 21
WordPress’ WordCamp 2008 Posted by Laura Iriarte

Image representing WordPress as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBase, source unknown

I had a wonderful day!  I went to camp yesterday, WordCamp!

WordCamp is a seminar for bloggers and those who enjoy social media.  The speakers included the WordPress elite, other website owners, as well as a couple of musical surprises!

WordCamp was set up with two Tracks – a User Track and a Developer Track.  The two Tracks were based in two different areas of the conference hall and had different speakers.  I am a User.

I arrived at 10:00am, missing the Welcome by Matt Mullenweg, The Future of Education and WP by Alan Levine, and SEO Mistakes Most Bloggers Make by Stephen O’Grady.  To be honest I could not find a schedule or a starting time for the event other than registration began at 8:00 AM.

When I arrived I luckily ran right into DK, @purposeinc, and he was kind enough to let me borrow his laptop to set up a blog game.  For some odd reason I could not log on to my WordPress account on his laptop?  I don’t know why?  Fail!  I did the same thing I did today to start this blog, but it would not work to save my life, so he ended up posting a new game on his own blog instead.  I usually use a desktop, and both of my kids have Apple Mac laptops, but DK had a Toshiba, I believe, and I am really unfamiliar with that type of a mouse!  It’s a tiny red dot in the middle of the keyboard!

Next I went inside the conference room and Stephen O’Grady was speaking on Open Source Business Models.  Steven shared a link for Search Engine Land – Search Engine Land: Must Read News About Search Marketing & Search Engines and also for his presentation slides.

Following Stephen O’Grady was a musical performance by Andy Skelton, who played the guitar and sang.  Later in the day we were treated to a performance by Chuck Lewis aka SEO Rapper who was also interviewed by Matt Mullenweg.  I found it on YouTube and here is the link – YouTube – SEO Rapper At WordCamp SF 2008

Ben Huh of LOLcats gave a very amusing talk – including some LOLcats – on The Secret of Virality. <~~Ben’s powerpoint slides are here.  Ben also mentioned a new site,

Next up was Tantek Celik, part of the WordPress team, Tantek spoke on WordPress & Microformats: Past, Present, and Future.  Tantek recommended installing Firefox Operator 0.9.3 and tinyMCE.plugins.  His website is Underground Web Designs | Content Managment Systems and Easy To Use Websites.

After Tatek spoke we broke for lunch which was a BBQ buffet outside, included in the event.  I ran up and introduced myself to Matt and Tantic and then took a picture with them.  Really nice guys!

Cue music – “I’ve got a meetin in the ladies room – I’ll be back real soon!”  I went to the ladies room before lunch and ran right in to Karen Hartline, event coordinator for  She said, “Laura!”, I said, “Karen!” and we gave each other a hug.  Then she said, “Hey, didn’t we meet for the first time in the ladies room?”  “Yes, yes we did!”  We met at SummerMash in the ladies room for the first time!  We started laughing and decided to take a picture to commemorate the occasion!  Wouldn’t you know it, later that day we were both coming out of the stalls at the same time again!  Karen said our bodies must be on the same schedule.  Too funny!  (We’ve already made plans to meet in the ladies room at the upcoming Mashable event!  Must keep the tradition going!  haha!)

Following lunch Lloyd Budd spoke on “Switching to WordPress Painlessly”.  I’m going to really need to study my notes on this as I am currently in the middle of switching my blog from the WordPress site to it’s own site.

Lorelle VanFossen was introduced by Matt Mullenweg - who called her “The Queen of WordPress”.  Lorelle’s topic was, “450 WordPress Power User Tips”.  Lorelle started out by giving us a tip to put red fingernail polish on the buttons on your keyboard that you shouldn’t touch.  She shared a lot of wonderful information and is also the author of a book, “Blogging Tips”.

As soon as Lorelle finished speaking and left the room I followed her out to her display and I bought a copy of her book and she autographed it for me!  I got to speak to her personally for a few minutes and told her about a problem I was having installing my stats and she recommended the Woopra WordPress Plugin.  She was very warm and gracious, a lovely woman!

Sam Bauers was our next presenter speaking on, “Hassle Free Upgrades”.

Our keynote was Matt Mullenweg who shared a lot of facts and figures demonstrating the upward growth of WordPress.  Matt stated that The State of the Word was “Strong!”  and said that, “Blogs are multiplying like rabbits!”

Andy Peatling was up next, his topic was “Get Friendly with Buddy Press”  Andy described Buddy Press as social networks in a box.

Jeremy Clarke spoke next on “Democratizing the Web Through Global Voices”.  Global Voices Online is a site that, “…aggregates, curates, and amplifies the global conversation online – shining light on places and people other media often ignore.”  It encourages people in different countries to blog, thereby opening up our communication with the world, which was previously lacking in certain third world areas.

Matt Mullenweg then invited Om Malik to come and sit down and chat with him interview style on publishing, technology and life.

Liz Danzico and Jane Wells then shared their research findings regarding new versions and upgrades for WordPress in a presentation titled, “Riding the Crazyhorse”

Right before Matt Mullenweg spoke, the Developer Track had joined the User Track so that we could all hear the keynote speech together.  As everyone was walking in I noticed Kathy Sierra walk up the stairs.  She was listed as the final speaker of the day.  After the keynote the User Track left to go back to their conference room, and quite a few people around me left for the day.  I looked up and Kathy Sierra and her husband had moved down closer and she ended up sitting right next to me.  I said hello and reminded her that we had met recently at the Half Moon Bay Twitter Meetup.  We had been briefly introduced as I was leaving by Laura Fitton.  We started chatting, and I felt as if I knew her!   It isn’t often that you meet a kindred spirit.  We realized that we both shared a love of horses, and she ended up inviting me to come riding after she settles in to her new home.  I was thrilled!  I haven’t been riding in yearsss, and I would truly love to spend more time with Kathy!

Kathy Sierra got up to speak. I had been told Kathy was a blogger and that she had some trollish problems, so that was what I expected to hear her speak about, but I was wrong!  Kathy took the stage by storm and spoke full of humor and fun and sass!  Her topic was “Kicking Ass and Creating Passionate Users”.  She urged bloggers to find their spark and add randomness and fun to their writing.  I adored her even more!

There were moments in the morning where I almost changed my mind and stayed home.  I had a few challenges, and I prefer not to go to events solo – I do love my entourage – but I went to this event not knowing if I would know a single soul.  I was more than pleasantly surprised.  I had a fantastic time!  As Dolly would say, “If you have the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance!”

I danced!

To read a more in depth account of each speaker see the follow blog: The WordCamp Report

My flckr WordCamp stream:

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3 Responses

  1. Laura's Best Friend Says:

    Still really jelous. My closet is really clean…

  2. purposeinc Says:

    Yep, that is my computer security. Nobody but me can use the little pointer. :)

    I am actually slowly switching over to my new airbook.

    It was great to meet you!

    We can do games again next year!

    Much Love,

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