WordCamp 2008 brought WordPress fans from around the world to San Francisco. I am always stunned by the lengths so many people take to travel so far for WordPress. Their passion and dedication is to be applauded as every one brings their unique perspective to a WordPress event and the WordPress Community.
And they bring their sense of humor and fun, too.
The event began with a private dinner for WordCamp speakers and Automattic on Friday night, a chance for everyone to meet before they are distracted by the following day’s events, to compare notes, and have some fun before the hard work begins. For me, it was also a time to catch up with all of the wonderful people that make the blogosphere a great place to work.
The WordPress Genius Bar greeted arrivals early the next morning and was going strong answering questions and helping WordPress fans solve their many problems. Some requested very simple how to tips, and others more sophisticated like problem-solving their WordPress Plugins and Themes to hacking code. After each speaking event, the speaker went to the Genius Bar to answer questions and talk to fans, so it was a great social center to the event.
This year’s WordCamp 2008 had a two-track schedule, one for typical users and the other for developers. The entire event was video taped by John Pozadzides of One Man’s Blog and will be released soon, which gives attendees a chance to see what they missed at the other sessions.
I stayed upstairs in the main conference room with the programs for WordPress fans and supporters. The topics covered were diverse. SEO, educational use of WordPress, how to get involved with WordPress, viral marketing, open source challenges and models, microformats…all leading up to three speaking events eagerly anticipated. Matt’s State of the Word, the testing of the new WordPress interface named “Crazyhorse”, and usability issues and marketing with Kathy Sierra. Downstairs, a lot of code and “behind the scenes” presentations were given. I’m eager to catch up with those on video.
Attendees broke up into small groups for dinner, and then regrouped at a nearby bar for a couple hours of socializing.
The next day, 11 teams of four each met for the WordPress Charity Scavenger Hunt determined to win this fun event to raise money for 826 Valencia, an organization which offers free educational programs to encourage students to improve their writing skills. We raced all over San Francisco for two hours trying to solve the clues and take pictures of ourselves in front of the “found” treasures and upload them to Flickr. We had a great time getting to know our new friends and team members and problem-solving the clues – and exploring San Francisco.The winners were a team of four guys who didn’t have a car to race all over town, so they looked through the list of what gave the highest points and decided to take on the task of registering as many people as possible with a WordPress blogs. They signed up more than 10 people, winning 80 points each, and won the day! That is ingenuity.
You can see our own scavenger hunt results in Andrew Mager’s Flickr specifically the WordPress Scavenger Hunt Set. Yes, that is me rolling down the hill, kicking it up with the Madame of Haight Street, and doing a cart wheel. The things I do for WordPress.
Overall, it was a powerful conference with a lot to learn, but not as much social as many would have liked. The facility was perfect with room for everyone and easy access to everything.
Stay tuned for more specific news and information soon. Heading off to another airplane!