I participated in WordCamp Hamilton 2013 this past weekend. It was a great event and I want to share my experiences. So, here goes…
What a fun event! The speakers were good (not speaking for my own presentation here – haha), the content was current, relevant and helpful, the facilities were perfect for the size of the conference and the catering was well done. And, the price was hard to beat: $20 got you all of this:
- Continental breakfast
- Catered lunch
- Event t-shirt
- 7 talks from great WordPress speakers on a variety of topics
- Panel Q&A session with the speakers at the end of the day
- Complimentary beverage at the after party location (Radius Cafe)
- Free WiFi internet access at the venue
- “Swag bag” with WordPress and sponsor goodies
And, participants helped to encourage and support a great community of developers in the Hamilton area.
It was a fantastic event and I look forward to attending and possibly participating again in next year’s event.
Here’s my play by play of the day’s activities:
9:45am – Keynote – Kevin Browne (@hamiltonkb):
Kevin spoke about communities and the strength and resiliency of networks. I really liked Kevin’s summary of M. Scott Peck’s four stages of community building:
- Pseudocommunity – superficial interactions
- Chaos – initial member interaction leads to conflict
- Emptiness – Apathy gives way to understanding of what’s important
- True community – healthy team interaction
Kevin’s keynote offered great insight into the potential that exists for the Hamilton development community. Kevin encouraged the audience to get involved and help lead the numerous events and activities that can draw us closer together. One particularly relevant example was the do an “introduction to wordpress” event.
Great presentation Kevin – Very inspiring!
10:15am – Joey Coleman (@joeycoleman):
Joey talked about how he grew his editorial career. Great story – great example of hard work and being in the right place at the right time!
I was particularly interested in Joey’s summary of the Creative Commons license types. I’ve always known about these, but have never spent a lot of time understanding them. I was particularly appreciative of Joey’s principles pertaining to content sharing. He subscribes to the “Attribution | Share Alike” license, and he shared a story where he was asked to share some content with CBC on the condition that he change his licensing terms for the content he was asked to share. He stuck to his guns and refused to change his licensing terms, in spite of offers for compensation. I like it – it’s always good to see people who stand up for what they believe in.
Thanks for the summary Joey. Entertaining and informative talk!
11:05am – Kristin Archer (@ihearthamilton) & Seema Narula(@thismustbeseema):
Kristin and Seema have an infectious enthusiasm about sharing and community building. Their presentation was an awesome example of how to roll your sleeves up and start doing!
Kristin and Seema offered their expertise about interacting with and building an audience. Their tips and techniques were helpful and are required reading for anyone that is interested in building a community around an interest or location that interests you. Some of the topics that they covered included:
- Consistency in voice (be authentic, honest)
- Frequency of posts (regular posts)
- Categories – use them!
- Connect w/ the blogging community
- Social Media
They have done a fantastic job as cheerleaders of the Hamilton area, of which they should be rightly proud.
Thanks Kristin and Seema for your lessons about building an effective niche blog and for promoting my hometown!
11:55am – Richard Rudy (@thezenmonkey):
Richard shared his expertise designing and building for mobile. I really liked the stats that he shared comparing the number of babies born in 2011 and 2012 compared to the number of mobile devices that were “born” during that same time. I didn’t capture the exact numbers, but there were a heck of a lot more mobile devices born than people during that period of time!
Richard shared the main models for developing for mobile and the pros and cons of each. I really liked his answer when he was asked, “which model is best?” and he replied that it depends on the use case. That is perfect, as it really does depend on the use case – you want to make sure the solution matches what you’re trying to accomplish and each situation will be different.
My main takeaways were to check out some mobile frameworks (the developer in me is a bit rusty on mobile frameworks):
Thanks for the great overview Richard. Very educational! And, I really like your website: http://about.me/richardrudy – it is very unique, creative and cool!
2pm – Al Davis (@adavis3105):
Al has a very relaxed presentation style – the stage is like a second home to him. And, he came prepared with two presentations – the audience voted to see which topic he would present on. We, the audience, decided to listen to him talk about “10 things to do after the install”.
The slides went by quick at times, but I think I captured all of the items (I missed a couple of slides, then I Googled a previous presentation of his to try and piece together what I missed):
- Change default admin
- Security: check out ‘wordfence” plugin as a security plugin.
- Edit permalinks: Al doesn’t like using date in posts as it might be construed as old and irrelevant.
- Akisment: enable it!
- SEO: Install WordPress SEO by Yoast.
- Activate Google Analytics
- Categories: Add them
- Change your blog tagline
- Install a theme: wordpress.org/themes
- Back it up!
Al offered a great overview of some top things to do as you begin with a new WordPress site. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and entertaining the crowd, Al!
2:50pm – Laurie Rauch (@lauriemrauch):
Laurie is a hard core geek! She codes for a living. And, when I complimented her on the look of her sites (lauriemrauch.com and CodeDiva.com), she modestly told me that she couldn’t take credit for the look and feel as she didn’t do the design work on her site. Then, she went on to do a presentation where she showed us how to create child themes and manipulate css and such. My suspicion is that she knows what she’s doing and that she’s being modest so that she doesn’t lose any of her hard-earned geek coder cred. 🙂
Here are my very high level notes from her presentation (my notes don’t do justice – her presentation slides go into great detail about these items):
In a nutshell:
- To create a child theme, you create a child theme folder
- The child theme folder will override anything in the parent theme
- You can override css, functions, etc.
The best tip that I got out of her presentation was to use Firebug to change code on the fly – this allows you to experiment. Then, you take that code that you’ve changed in Firebug and paste it into your child theme.
Thanks Laurie for the in-depth session – very informative!
3:40pm – Todd Dow (@toddhdow):
I had the final presentation slot of the afternoon. I think my presentation went well. The audience seemed attentive and there were plenty of questions and lots of discussion. I enjoyed the session and the interaction with the audience. I’ll be posting a summary of my presentation in my next blog post.
4:20pm – All-speaker panel:
This was fun – interesting questions and interaction with the audience and the rest of the panel. This was a great way to finish the day.
We had a wrap up and an after party at Radius Cafe. It was a long day, but a very valuable day.
Much thanks to the organizing committee – you put on one heck of an event. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do for an encore!
- Dale Mugford
- Roz Allen
- Martin Kuplens-Ewart
- Nick Tomkin
- Geoff Campbell
- Kevin Browne
- Shanta Nathwani
- Jacqueline Norton
- Carolynn Reid
- Michael Canton
And great work to all of the presenters and to everyone else that made this event happen. I look forward to attending and participating again next year!
Let me know if you have any additional information or if you think I’ve misrepresented or neglected to mention anything.