After slaving away as a volunteer at WordCamp Orange County last week in order to sneak into the sessions for free(don’t judge me), I flew up Friday night for today’s much-anticipated WordCamp San Francisco which was held at the Mission Bay Conference center. Nearly 800 people attended the event, 95% of whom refused to speak with me due to my laughable understanding of talking in computer language. Nevertheless, I successfully dodged most of these people and met some great people who had a lot to say about WordPress. I met a freelance web designer, a dude from the East coast who works at a university, a woman from Vermont who happens to be a Painting major(too cool!), and many other smart people. In this post, I recap the good, the bad, and the funny business that I witnessed at WordCamp SF.
Scott Berkun: WordPress in 2020
Scott Berkun is one helluva speaker. Then again, he is a bestselling author of three books like Confessions of a Public Speaker. He works full time as a writer and speaker, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes Magazine, The Economist, The Washington Post, Wired Magazine, and National Public Radio(talk about credibility, eh?). You can check out his site at scottberkun.com and follow his tweets on Twitter @berkun.
Scott had one of the best speeches at WordCamp. His presentation followed a philosophical approach and explored WordPress and its meaning to society. He talked about how the technology for the tools to write has advanced since the time of Thomas Paine. A great quote that left an impression on me was “Hey, you have great ideas. Go get a WordPress blog.” In an age where people have so many ways to communicate and connect with others anywhere in the world, its impressive how far we’ve come since newspapers were the sole forms of getting your information.
Scott also delved into how WordPress has evolved since its early days, making comparisons to Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer(No way!). Yes way. His point was that in each major update to WordPress, he has seen an gradual increase in the number of “clickable” buttons you can find on your WordPress dashboard. As software gets developed at each stage, more features are added causing the interface to look extremely cluttered with buttons, which would negatively affect the user experience.
Another theme of Scott’s presentation was about WordPress security and specifically with plugins. When Scott showed a screenshot of his WordPress plugin page, I was shocked to see that he had only three plugins installed on his site: Polldaddy, WordPress Popular Posts, and some other plugin. He shared some horror stories of how he once upgraded his plugins and it single-handedly took down his site. He made it clear that developers needed to make it a priority that their plugins are as secure as possible.
Vanessa Fox: WordPress, Audience Engagement, and SEO
Vanessa Fox is originally from Seattle and was part of the team that created Google Webmaster Central. She was recently named one of Seattle’s 2008 top 25 innovators and entrepreneurs. She also writes for Search Engine Land and has a site at janeandrobot.com. Vanessa also has a book that recently came out called Marketing in the Age of Google.
Speeches about SEO aint fun. Well, at least for me and this guy:
- Search starts with how people talk
- Include post dates
- Use Google Insights to see what people are searching for on Google.
- Google’s recent attention to site speed when indexing sites has to do with crawl efficiency of its search engine spiders.
- Format your title tags like “Important Keyword Description: Brand Name.”
Matt Mullenweg: State of the Word
Matt is the founding developer of WordPress. In 2005, he started Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, Akismet, Gravatar, bbPress, IntenseDebate, and BuddyPress. He currently lives in San Francisco and you can learn more about him by checking out his website at ma.tt. or via Twitter @photomatt.
Matt Mullenweg was by far the most interesting speaker of the day. The one thing I still cannot wrap my head around is how young he looks(he’s 26). Obviously, age means nothing.
One topic Matt discussed was how quickly WordPress is transitioning into a full-fledgedCMS besides being just a blogging platform. For many people, WordPress is their day job, so it’s no surprise that websites everywhere are quickly jumping over to the WordPress boat.
Quotes by Matt:
“Chrome is kicking butt lately. Firefox is still kicking butt. Internet Explorer is like ‘Hey, look at me!”
“Hey, baby. I can code!”
“The new default theme has a level of epicness that I cannot describe to you.”
“Sorry, no official release date on [WordPress] 3.0. I’ve done this for too long now to know better.”
For a far superior read on Matt’s State of the Word, check out this blog post by WPTavern.
Final, random thoughts
- Note to self: Please start creating Child themes.
- Why isn’t After the Deadline built into WordPress.org?
- Genius Bar is incorrectly named. It is actually Genius “ONLY” Bar.
- Right to left CSS will be a common element in themes very soon.
- Post tags on WordPress won’t help you much with SEO. Maybe just for YARRP.
- Remember to read 36 SEO Myths That Won’t Die But Need To by Stephan Spencer
- People are actually blogging on the iPad!
- Since when does 7 minutes mean 15 minutes?
- Either people from MIT are incredibly fast talkers or Mitcho Erlewine drank too much Red Bull this morning.
- What the hell is “esc_html($some_var);”?
Photos from WordCamp SF 2010:
Photo by Eva Blue