Live from Wordcamp


I’m at [[http://2006.wordcamp.org|Wordcamp]] over at the [[http://swedishamericanhall.com|Swedish American Hall]] here in San Francisco. I’ll try to keep this post updated as I go along, but I’m not planning on staying the whole time. But you can surely find tons of information about it (search tag ‘wordcamp’)

* **Widgets Showcase**: I was surprised that so many people in the audience knew so little about Widgets. Clearly they’re not as popular as I thought. I guess a lot of people are hesitant in experimenting with the structure of their blogs (//if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it//). The [[http://rawsugar.com|Raw Sugar]] folks grabbed a fair amount of time in the 1-hr slot and a guy from [[http://goodstorm.com|Good Storm]] talked briefly about their widget. It was also surprising to see that only about 2-3 people in the room had written a widget! I was one of them, but since my widgets are trivially simple, I really didn’t feel like “show-casing” them :) For people who are interested in my widgets, head over to Code -> WordPress Widgets on the menu above.
* **Blog Promotion**: This one started out real bad. I thought it would be heading nowhere. But eventually this //Prince Campbell// dude got the audience going — it was a very interactive, lively discussion. Interestingly though, the discussion diverged from “how to make a blog popular” to “what IS a blog”. People were talking about how Flickr and YouTube can be viewed as blogs and whether having a lot of comments is a pre-requisite for a blog. I don’t know about others, but the following things really stand out for me: passion, attention to detail and a good sense of humor. And I think people missed the point that not all blogs //need// to be compelling. I mean, my blog probably ain’t compelling to very many. But I don’t want it to be, I don’t need it to be. I blog because I want to. For people who make a living out of blogging, this might be an issue. At some point people were discussing whether getting into traditional media helps. Sure, it may help a bit, but I doubt its a driving factor. I mean, how many newspapers have talked about Scoble?
* **State of the Word**: This one was pretty cool. I think Matt did a great job talking and listening to people. The session quickly morphed into “Whats wrong with WordPress” or “How could WP be improved” with most of the discussion being driven by the audience. I’m sure there are people who took detailed notes for this session, so I’ll just throw out some of the stuff I remember:
* Continue on making installation a breeze
* Really focus on making upgrades easier/painless
* Improve documentation. Richer documentation — screencasts, videos, audios — that kind of stuff
* Central directory for themes and plugins
* Directory of paid services and consultants
* Make theme customization easier
* Organize/improve the codex
* …

I’m actually planning to leave shortly after lunch since I have to go to the Santana concert in the evening and I want to catch some sleep before that. Unfortunately all of the //really// good talks that I was interested in are in the afternoon (Om Malik is talking, there is a talk about Blog Architecture and one about High Performance WordPress) so it’ll be a shame that I’ll miss them :-( But hopefully others will cover these talks in some detail.

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