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WordCamp Hamburg, Germany

I asked my friend, Ian of Letters Home To You living in Hamburg, Germany, to report on this past weekend’s WordCamp Hamburg. Unfortunately, he could only report on the first day of the two day event.

WordCamp Hamburg - audience and slidesCall it a mash-up of users, developers, code freaks and the rest of us, people like me who could use a few tips on how to make our blogs better, but were too busy trying to write decent posts to ask, and you have Germany’s WordCamp Hamburg, the first ever European WordCamp.

Not sure what I was getting into, I headed off to meet with the best of the best in blogging and WordPress in Hamburg, Germany, my adopted home.

WordCamp Hamburg - schedule and bulletin boardTurns out I wasn’t alone in my uncertainly, but that was exactly the idea. Organiser Cem Basman said the best way to reflect the open-ended, participatory style of WordPress was to do it Open Space or BarCamp style. No set agenda, no schedule, no organisation beyond selling out the 161 tickets three weeks in advance, booking the space for the weekend and of course setting it up for WLAN/WIFI.

“If I were to go to Brussels for a conference with business and political people to discuss the impact of a new law, for example, this kind of set-up wouldn’t work for people like them,” said Basman. “The Open Space concept matches the type of people who use WordPress, with its open style.”

Despite the worldwide German reputation for punctuality, the northern city of Hamburg likes to wake up late on the weekend, so it was perhaps fitting that the un-conference didn’t get underway at 10 o’clock sharp. Once the usual hellos were out of the way and the microphone passed to the participants, the suggestions started flowing. A makeshift schedule tacked along one wall was quickly filled in, times shoved around and soon the participants were spread out among four venues set up in Hamburg’s Stilwerk, a well-known boutique and design shopping mecca on the city’s harbour.

The WordCamp Hamburg Workshops included:

WordCamp Hamburg - group gathering on the stairsWordPress Design And Development: A lively, and at times wry, look at blogging and the law in Germany presented by Henning Krieg of Bird & Bird. Krieg also plans to blog over the coming weeks a longer series on the same subject.

Facepress: A new social networking WordPress Plugin being developed for WordPress by self-described geek and technology blogger Thomas Strassburg, which is exciting but there is little information available yet.

Blogging In The Classroom: A workshop for teachers given by
Brigitte Jellinek from Salzburg, Austria on using blogs in the classroom to help students.

WordPress Plugin Development And Security: Hosted by Frank Bueltge, the session included tips and suggestions for keeping your WordPress Plugins more secure.

WordPress and OpenID: Oliver Wagner covered using OpenID in WordPress blogs and looked at the future of such universal user access.

Blogs and Usability: A session with WordCamp Hamburg co-organizer and blogging book author Vladimir Simovic covered blogs and usability issues, what works, what doesn’t, and discussed his user survey results on his blog, Perun.net.

WordCamp Hamburg - blog readings bloggersXing and PaseExpress: Presented by Joachim Rumohr, this session introduced these two new services.

Microsoft and Blogging: Microsoft Germany’s Lori Grosland covered Windows LiveWriter and Popfly, tools to help bloggers publish to their blogs.

In the final activity of the first day, four bloggers, Herr Paulsen, Merlix of herzdamengeschichten.de, Kid37, and MC Winkel, each read a post from their blogs in what the organisers claimed was the first ever blog readings.WordCamp Hamburg - blog readings

The audience listened attentively and applauded with enthusiasm as each concluded his story, for these were more like short stories you would find in an anthology than a blog post. The blog readings were an important artistic and dramatic counter-weight to the at times tech-heavy seminars and discussions.

The readings were followed by a generous buffet dinner at a nearby restaurant, accompanied by the mellow country tones of Captain Stubing and the Loveboats..WordCamp Hamburg - musicians

I met so many wonderful bloggers and WordPress fans. Meeting Lori Grosland of Microsoft, an American living in Germany for eight years, was a treat as I could talk to someone in my native English for a change. I also enjoyed meeting Herr Paulsen, another English-speaking blogger. One of Hamburg’s expatriate bloggers hails from as far away as New Zealand, and blogs at miss-verstaendnis – a playful bilingual pun on the German word for misunderstanding. She’s still trying to figure out the Germans, but seems to be having fun in the process.

Merlix also has a good collection of photos from the weekend to show, and there are more conference photographs on flickr.

13 Comments

  1. Posted January 30, 2008 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks!
    You can find my session to “WordPress Plugin Development And Security” here with small informations over the WPF (WordPressw Plugin Framework), only in german language.
    With best regards.

  2. Posted January 30, 2008 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    There would have been one more native English speaking Hamburg blogger in attendance, but I had to fly to the US on the spur of the moment for a family emergency. But maybe we have enough expat bloggers in Hamburg to have a meetup of our own now. :-)

  3. Posted January 30, 2008 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Very nice – and I’ve seen me on one of the photos. :)

  4. Posted January 31, 2008 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    Just to clarify, the blog reading might be the first on a BarCamp, but definetely not the first ever.

  5. Posted January 31, 2008 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    you’re coming to Germany? what about Switzerland?

  6. Posted January 31, 2008 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Dang a WordCamp so close (300 km) and I missed it :-/

    Looks like they had a really interesting program though.

  7. Posted January 31, 2008 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    @ nchenga:

    I am not coming to Germany soon, though I’d love to go to Switzerland, a favorite place of mine. Are you planning a WordCamp in Switzerland?

  8. Posted January 31, 2008 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the mention.

    “He’s still trying to figure out the Germans”

    I am indeed still trying to figure out the Germans – but I am female! ;)

  9. Posted January 31, 2008 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    @ Miss Verständnis:

    Glad I’m not the only one who gets mistakes for the wrong species – er – sex. :D

  10. Posted February 1, 2008 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    I really wish I was there but I was stuck working on shifts.

  11. Posted February 2, 2008 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    A WordCamp in Switzerland?

    not yet. but it’s an idea…!

  12. Posted February 6, 2008 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Bravo WorldCamp!

  13. Posted March 6, 2008 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    i`m looking forward to a wordcamp in munich, germany.. would be great.. ;)


10 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] Berichte und Eindrücke zum WordCamp08 in Hamburg von Tobias Huber, Oliver Wagner, Markus Zeeh, Jens Matheuszik, Gerrit van Aaken, Peter Jebsen, Mark Henckel, Frank Bueltge, Sven Wiesner, Lori Grosland, René Tauchnitz, Sven “Boogie” Augustin, Thomas Boley, Dennis Morhardt, Tobias Jordans, Nicolai Schwarz, Zeniscalm, Daniela, Valentin Tomaschek, Magerfettstufe, Timo Heuer, Jörg Weisner, Robert Basic, Merlix, Joachim Dethlefs, Powerbook, Frank Hunck, Lorelle on WordPress (written by Ian)… [...]

  2. [...] Hamburg: According to attendees and organizers, WordCamp Hamburg was a success. There is an English report by Ian of Letters From Home, with photographs, on day one of the two day event. Done “unconference style”, the [...]

  3. [...] reports on his blog about WordCamp in Hamburg. I was not able to visit it.  But if i see th topics only some of them are om my interest e.g. [...]

  4. [...] Lorelle on WordPress has an excellent article that covers nearly every aspect of Wordcamp 2008. You should check it out if you would like to learn more about meetups like this. [...]

  5. [...] Jerman: WordCamp Hamburg baru saja selesai. Berikut laporan pendek dari Lorelle (anggota staf [...]

  6. [...] Format: A little more structured, such as WordCamp Dallas 2008, or more BarCamp, as WordCamp Hamburg. [...]

  7. [...] Format: A little more structured, such as WordCamp Dallas 2008, or more BarCamp, as WordCamp Hamburg? [...]

  8. [...] Format: A little more structured, such as WordCamp Dallas 2008, or more BarCamp, as WordCamp Hamburg? [...]

  9. [...] WordCamp Hamburg (Germany) was a success. “It was a very lively camp with excellent sessions, intense socializing and networking.” [...]

  10. […] WordCamp Hamburg, Germany […]

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