Another WordCamp Miami in the books. It was a great weekend, with so much information that it was hard to sleep last night. If you’re a designer or developer like us; and have a good two and a half hour drive back to Orlando, you’ve got plenty of time to reflect on the entire weekend. And that’s a good thing. However if you were part of what seemed to be over 50% in attendance as a first time WordCamper, I am sure you’re overwhelmed with ideas, notes, business cards, and of course swag that you may not know how to start your week.
One of the main reasons I enjoy attending and at times volunteering my time at WordCamps is because of the atmosphere. It really is a chill environment; meaning that you can actually walk up to a speaker or sponsor and ask them questions. The whole point of them being there is to give back and also to be of service to all the attendees. We’ve attended many WordCamps over the past five or six years and below are the best things you should do within your first few days after attending.
Follow Up With People You’ve Met
During the weekend you’re going to sit next to new people you’ve never meet before, and they’re going to be from all over the world. This weekend in-particular I meet a group of developers and designers from Costa Rica. I ended up talking to them for a good 30 minutes about what it’s like living there and also what it’s like working there while using their talents in WordPress.
You’ll also see people you may have met online and through social media. There’s been plenty of times where we’ve talked with people for months on various topics but never met in person. WordCamps are a great opportunity to actually meet and put a live face and voice to all the threads, messages, and tweets you have shared over time.
Oh and don’t forget to follow-up with people who you swapped business cards and contact information with. You may strike up alliances, partnerships, and other working relationships with some creative and talented people who you may not have otherwise met had it not been for this conference.
Take Action on The Notes You Took
Like any good conference, everyone will have out their laptops, notebooks, tablets, recording devices, and anything else to capture their own experience for each of the sessions. Keep in mind that most WC’s feature LiveStream and are recorded and posted to WordPress.tv still it’s great to have your own tidbits of information to work off of.
Most of the speakers will have links to download their slides and presentations. The best time to review those slides is within the first few days after the event so that you can remember the key points that impacted you the most. Then take action! You won’t be able to tackle all of the ideas you written down, so make yourself a plan and set these up to handle over the next few days, weeks, and months.
Share Your Experience With People Who Didn’t Attend
This is mainly for those where this was their first WC, you’re probably going to be really hype for a few days. This is great! Share that excitement with as many people as you can and encourage them to get more familiar with the community. If you took pictures, selfies, video, and other media be sure to share them online as well. That’s what drives this community awareness is people talking about it and sharing.
We initially found out about WordPress through a local MeetUp years ago. And because of that group and the people who attend I learned a lot, networked with some amazing and talented, and even gave some presentations. Check out your home town and see if there are any organized WordPress Groups having regular meetings. If there isn’t, start one!
That’s my top three list, thanks for reading! If you had a great experience that you’d like to share hit me up on Twitter.
This weekend was the WordCamp that almost wasn’t. Due to a recent storm Hurricane Matthew that brushed all along the east coast of Florida that not only caused moderate damage to coastal property but cancelled many events and conferences that only happen once a year here. So a special shout-out goes to Lisa Melegari and the rest of WordPress Orlando Team for being nimble and dedicated to get this conference rescheduled with a pretty quick turnaround and still keep the same venue, sponsors, and amenities.
Some quick highlights of the weekend for us first that our own resident Social Media Marketing Strategist Nicole Perpillant did a talk on Facebook Integrations. This was a great talk for small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to use social media ads in spaces like Facebook and Instagram and ways to hone in on your target market and audience.
This year’s theme was on Lego’s and it was awesome. Probably brought out the kid in all of us. Thankfully there weren’t too many toys out for give-a-ways because I know most of us would have been building and playing instead of networking and learning. Both days were filled with speakers, talks, and panels anywhere from How to install WordPress, to Security best practices, Child Themes, and PHP Functionality. You can see the full schedule along with the speaker talks and information at this link.
While I will be posting the photos we took while on site for the weekend soon, know that it was a pleasure to talk and meet with so many new people. One of the things that is the same with each different WordCamp that we attend is the chance of meeting people who actually aren’t from your local area.
One of the biggest take-aways for me will actually be better explained in a coming blog post about your website being “Software”. There was a Panel Discussion and this was mentioned by one of the speakers Karena Kreger when she referenced WordPress as a software and it really resonated with me because while I know that it is, I don’t treat it like that. Let me explain; to me WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) and kind of ecosystem. Being that it’s a hub that has extensions of functionality driven by other pieces to make a website work in a way intended by a developer for the end-user experience. Ok before I lose you, let me explain. See in the tech-bubble that most of us designers and developers live in, we understand how to WordPress lives in the sense of what makes it work, the vulnerabilities that it can be susceptible to, and how fragile it can be to core editing. But our clients and customers and users don’t know or understand all of that. In my mind I created a metaphor to best explain this; if you were to explain to a client of whom you are developing or created a WordPress website for, you’d have to tell them it is like having Windows 10 and that in order to keep it working well – there will need to be periodic updates. And along with those updates there will also need to be safety and security measures (and additional software) in place to keep “your software” working well. If ignored you can start to notice decreased performance among many other things.
Some of the best speakers like Josh Pollack, Scott Mann, Jeff Noel, and Elizabeth Pampalone (to name just a few) did great with metaphors. They were able to take what they’ve experienced and word it in a way that we could consume and reflect on. Like any good conference you should never walk away without your head filled with ideas, have some solutions to problems you’ve been dealing with, or a sense of empowerment that you too can be a hero like these presenters.
I look forward to reading other blog posts of other people’s experience with WordCamp Orlando in the coming days and weeks. And I’ll also see about accepting the challenge to attend WordCamp US in Philadelphia PA on December 2nd.
I’m a little late at posting this, but we’ve been slammed here at Dt HQ. Tonight in Downtown Orlando will be an open gallery of photos submitted that depict live, work, and play in and around Downtown. One of my photos is actually used on the flyer of the event and in Facebook. It’s in the top right corner of (street view) of Orange Avenue. If you’re looking for a fun night out of some awesome photography that is from cell phones to mirrorless to DSLR’s and more you’ll want to check this out.
What I like the most about this event is that is was open to everyone no matter what type of device they have for capturing a photo. This is all about being creative and capturing the City Beautiful. For more information check out their Twitter page or visit the main website or Facebook page. See you there!
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Last night my friends and I attended the vigil at the Dr. Phillips performing arts center in Downtown Orlando. While this mass shooting is a shocking and saddening event, seeing so many people gathering together with the hope that one day things like this won’t happen was encouraging. Below are some photos I captured from the event last night.
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This weekend is the first WordCamp happening in Jacksonville, FL. Tickets are just about sold out for this inaugural event, and that is saying a lot for a first time conference. We’ll be driving up from Orlando on Friday evening (hopefully will make it in time to catch some of the pre-conference festivities).
We are excited about it for a few reasons, but before I get into why, I wanted to take a moment and give you the details on the event. It is going to be held at the
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Advanced Technology Center
401 W State St
Jacksonville, FL 32202
The conference dates are April 16th and 17th (Saturday and Sunday) For tickets you can visit this link.
One of the first reasons why we are excited is that this will make the 4th WordCamp for the State of Florida. Miami being the biggest and I believe first. Then Orlando and Tampa, and now Jacksonville. It’s crazy for me to think that all of these are happening through the year in Florida, and at least for those of us living and working in the state, they’re all within driving distance. We attended WordCamp Miami this year and like ever year it was awesome. Our own Brand Strategist Nicole Perpillant was a speaker too! You can view her slides here.
Next reason why we’re hype is that, myself, Jean Perpillant will be speaking at this conference. I made a personal goal to speak at 4 different events this year and I’m nervous and honored to be chosen as one of the speakers for their first event. You can see my details as well as the other talented speakers by viewing this link. I’ll be speaking on Custom Themes vs Premium Themes; discussing the advantages and disadvantages to choosing either as well as key things you need to know.
Another WordCamp means another great opportunity to network with new people and grow your network. For me it’s one of the most fun parts about these conferences is the ability to meet new people, influencers, speakers, and sponsors. From being able to get a quick selfie with a speaker or sponsor, to asking the person sitting next to you what cool app their using, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be inspired just by attending.
So have you attended a WordCamp before? If so let us know some of your tips and feedback in the comments below. If you haven’t, I highly recommend you check to see if there is one coming up in your area.