Thoughts on WordCamp Dallas 2008

I’m just back from WordCamp Dallas where I had the pleasure to see the blogging world from a different angle. I credit Mark Hopkins for really clarifying this in his post at Mashable.

See, I’ve been lucky enough to attend a lot of conferences and events and to interact with lots of people along the way. Most of the folks I interact with are early adopter kinds of folks that love jumping all over the newest and greatest social tools, etc. We all travel in the same circles so we always see the same people at conferences and while it’s great, it was really catching to interact with a group that doesn’t necessarily operate in those circles.

The WordCamp Dallas group was different than even WordCamp San Francisco where Om Malik has spoke two years in a row and where folks like Dave Winer, Mike Arrington, Matt Cutts and others have spoken or made some kind of appearance in the past. There were very few of the “internet rock star” types in Dallas, but the demographic that was there made it so much more rich and interesting.

Aaron Brazell and Ronald Huereca
Photo Credit: ronalfy

ContentCamp

It was different, but it was good. I discovered a really telling and exciting thread through the entire weekend as I observed a few this:

  1. Going into the event, I was asked to make my session technical to meet a technical audience. There were some technical people in the audience, but I felt it important to adjust my presentation to be a bit less geeky.
  2. The most well received sessions of the weekend dealt with copyright and licensing, developing a community around your blog and the business blogging panel.
  3. The number of people was notable who simply talked about wanting to write more, and having better insight on writing in general

To me, the common denominator, and the highlighted theme for the entire weekend, was not WordPress. Despite the fact WordPress 2.5 was released and is being well received across the board (I was watching Twitter for about 3 hours after the announcement and saw nothing but good reports). Even though the premise of the event is All Things WordPress the most value seemed to surround content.

Guess what? Content is non-platformic. Easily, this event could have been a general blogging event. Easily, value could have been gained by Movable Type users and Typepad users; by those on Blogger or Textpattern or Drupal.

Why was it that I found myself silently annoyed by WordPress fanboism in much the same way that frustration with Applegasms – the reaction by Apple fanbois whenever the beloved Cupertino company announces something new – caused me to register applegasms.com?

I reckon my annoyance comes from my feeling that WordPress is a tool. It is a wonderfully awesome tool that I support, encourage and use. However, at the end of the day, it is a tool. My friend and colleague Mark Jaquith, who is also one of the core WordPress developers, has a philosophy that I love: get WordPress to the point where the user has no idea that WordPress even exists.

At the end of the day, it’s not about if you use WordPress or Typepad or any other blog platform. Sure, there are things to consider when choosing. However, at the end of the day, it’s about creating engaging content that creates community between author and readers. That’s the important part.

Frisco, Texas
Photo Credit: zizzybaloobah

Frisco, Texas

Although the event is called WordCamp Dallas, it was technically held in Frisco, Texas about 30 minutes north of Dallas. Frisco is an amazing city. In the short few days that I was there, I felt like I was watching the beginnings of a brand new city that in five years would be the hub of activity for miles around.

The city was gracious enough to lend us their City Council chamber which is an amazing, state of the art facility in itself. The acoustics of the domed room were so vibrant that I would love to play my guitar in the center of the room.

The city supported us and went out of their way to help us on a number of fronts. So, thank you, Frisco.

Business Blogging Panel
Photo Credit: ronalfy

Best Panel EVAR

The best panel I’ve ever been on (and no offense to every other panelist I’ve shared the stage with), was the business and blogging panel. It was such an honor to share the stage with Mark Ghosh, Matt Mullenweg and Liz Strauss. I felt like I shouldn’t be up there. Thank you, folks. That panel was the highlight of my weekend.

In summary, the professionalism and agility that this unconference was delivered in was nothing short of amazing. The sponsors were all in. The organizers were quite adept. The WordPress.com folks came in to support and WordPress 2.5 was launched in the heart of Texas. I had a blast.

Los Objetos Sociales

¿Qué es un Objeto Social? Sencillo, un objeto social es aquello a través de lo cual socializamos. Los objetos sociales son la pega que mantiene unidas a las redes sociales.

Un objeto social es algo que nos une y nos incita a compartir. Ese whiskey que nos tomamos el viernes por la tarde con los amigos y alrededor del cual compartimos nuestras historias. El programa en la televisión que vemos en familia o la última película que comentamos en la oficina.

Una imagen como objeto social

Flickr, el sitio web para compartir imágenes, es una red social construida con objetos sociales – fotos – alrededor de las cuales contamos nuestras historias y compartimos experiencias. Esta foto es un excelente ejemplo:

Image by Alex de Carvalho

La foto muestra una muchacha pendiente de su celular, un objeto social a través del cual comparte y planifica su vida con sus amigos. Pero la foto en si es un objeto social, sobre el cual muchas personas opinan en Flickr. Y si hacen click en la foto y van a Flickr, verán que esta foto además generó gran cantidad de comentarios – algunos ya no sobre la foto, sino sobres quienes comentan.

Flickr logró construir una red social sólida alrededor de fotos como esta.

Otros ejemplos de Objetos Sociales, dentro y fuera de Internet, son:

  • El Jeep en el que vamos todos a la playa.
  • Una fogata alrededor de la cual nos reunímos al caer la tarde.
  • Un curso en la universidad.
  • Un buen programa de televisión.
  • Un juego en Facebook.
  • El whiskey que nos tomamos con los amigos.
  • Twitter

Los objetos sociales sirven de balizas para relatar nuestras vivencias.

Facebook es un caso muy interesante: una de sus grandes cualidades es que nos permite contextualizar nuestras relaciones con otras personas, dejándonos explicar por qué, cómo y de dónde nos conocemos. Facebook nos permite contar nuestra historia, dándole contexto a nuestro mapa social, ya que nos permite indicar los objetos sociales que nos conectaron en algún momento.

Lo importante, como dice Hugh Macleod, no es el objeto social, sino las conversaciones que ocurren alrededor de él.

¿Es tu producto un Objeto Social?

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The Business of Blogging Panel, WordCamp Dallas 2008

The second opportunity I had to be in front of folks at WordCamp Dallas came in the Business and Blogging panel session. It was amazing to be on a panel with Matt Mullenweg, Liz Strauss, and Mark Ghosh as we talked about blogging and PR, customer relationship and transparency. It was one of the most enjoyable panels I’ve ever had the chance to be on, so thanks everyone.

Here’s the video, courtesy of Mark Hopkins at Mashable:

WordPress 2.5 en Español

Al fin aparece WordPress 2.5 en su versión oficial. Si quieres tenerlo en español, aquí te lo explicamos. Vas a necesitar lo siguiente:

  1. Blog actualizado a la versión más reciente de WordPress
  2. El archivo de WordPress en español
  3. Acceso via FTP, Control Panel o Shell a tu servidor

En el servidor donde tienes alojado el WordPress 2.5, crea una carpeta de nombre “languages” dentro de la carpeta “wp-content“.

Descomprime el archivo de WordPress en español y sube el archivo “es_ES.mo” a la carpeta que acabas de crear en tu servidor: “wp-content/languages“.

Edita el archivo “wp-config.php” en tu servidor y busca la línea que dice:

define ('WPLANG', '');

y cámbiala a:

define ('WPLANG', 'es_ES');

¡Felicitaciones! Ya tienes tu administrador de WordPress en español.

Tablero:

Tablero en español

WordPress 2.5: Tablero en español

Escribir Artículo:

Escribir articulo en inglés

WordPress 2.5: Escribir artículo en inglés

Escribir articulo en español

WordPress 2.5: Escribir artículo en español

Perfiles de Usuarios:

Cada usuario puede elegir los colores del administrador.

Nuevas opciones en perfiles de usuarios

WordPress 2.5: Nuevas opciones en perfiles de usuarios

Administrar Artículos:

Todavía quedan algunos términos por traducir (published).

Administrar articulos

WordPress 2.5: Administrar artículos

Entrar al sistema:

Desde el primer momento, WordPress te recibe en tu idioma favorito.

Entrar al sistema en inglés

WordPress 2.5: Entrar al sistema en inglés

Entrar al sistema en español

WordPress 2.5: Entrar al sistema en español

Próximamente: cómo mantener tu copia de WordPress actualizada fácilmente con SVN.

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WordCamp Dallas: Photos

I’m sitting here at WordCamp Dallas where WordPress 2.5 was announced and released into the wild this morning. There is lots of buzz here, and you might want to take a look back at my own 10 Things You Need To Know About WordPress 2.5 that I released a few weeks ago.

Here, though, are some of the photos I’ve taken. I’ll add more as I can. This, again, is a feature of WordPress 2.5 so if you like to take pictures and show them off, or if you’re as hardcore as a photojournalist, you now have some pretty sexy tools at your finger tips.

Enjoy!

Departing b5media

About two and a half years ago, I embarked on a journey of a lifetime. It was a breakthrough journey that took me from working in a cubicle at Northrop Grumman to living my dream building an internet startup. At some point, we took funding. I recruited Brian Layman and Mark Jaquith and the rest of the tech team. We moved from hosting a blog network on someone’s shared hosting provider to developing hard plans to encompass hundreds of servers in grid format.

We went from WordPress 1.5 and basic installs to over 350 installs of WordPress working in tandem with robust data sharing via APIs. We developed techniques to deploy advertising campaigns quickly and efficiently. We worked hard to build reporting tools, financial tools, management tools, and more – all in an effort to make this company work.

And it has and continues to grow at an astounding rate.

It’s been a great ride, but now it’s time to look forward and explore new territory. Recently, through my interactions with so many wonderful people in the DC technology community, the PodCamp community, the larger social media, business and technology communities, my appetite for something new and challenging has been overwhelming. I’ve had several conversations with Jeremy Wright, our CEO, over the past months exploring this stuff and he has been amazingly supportive, as has the rest of the b5media team.

An exact date has not been set, as I want to make sure a replacement is found and brought up to speed, however it will probably be within the next couple of months.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to the next steps. At this point, I’m not sure what those next steps are but I have options. I’d like to develop Mokonji a bit more. I also have a few other venturistic ideas floating around in my head and I want to spend some time focusing more on the DC community that has sprung up around here. Obviously, I’ll continue to be blogging here at Technosailor, though in the short term, I’ll be exploring effective ways to monetize it – gotta pay for the server costs now (whew, forgot how that worked! ;-) )

I don’t know. The eager anticipation of the “what’s next” is crazy for me right now. It’s sort of like going out on a date for the first time. You don’t know what to expect but you know you really, really like the girl a lot.

Thanks for all your support for these years that I’ve been blogging. Looking forward to see what comes next! And if you want to be me (erm, the b5media Director of Technology), the company is actively looking for my replacement.

Thought Leadership

You, know, I’ve gotten far away from blogging about blogging. It’s an overdone topic that had its day in the sun, but we’ve moved on to, thankfully, other topics. However, the depth of content still discourages me. Yes, there are literally millions of blogs out there and the number of really quality blogs have increased dramatically. However, the signal to noise ratio is still very bad, in my opinion.

What am I referring to?

In political blogging, people are still quoting and linking to Daily Kos and Captain’s Quarters as sources of inspiration for posts.

In gadget blogging, people still read from the same page as Engadget or Gizmodo.

In business blogging, Seth Godin and Lawrence Lessig.

For SEO and marketing, Shoemoney and SEOMoz still rule the roost.

As they should. All of these blogs have been and continue to produce excellent original content, and most importantly, thought leadership. In whatever area they write, they are producing content that attracts readers to innovative ideas and concepts and helps those readers explore related concepts and thoughts. In the case of Engadget and Gizmodo, they are news breakers, but

The difference between the long tail and the head of tail sites like those mentioned above, and in my opinion, the wave of the future is in thought leadership. More and more bloggers thinking for themselves, maybe taking some inspiration from some of these blogs, but proactively creating original content.

I mentioned that I was interviewed the other day by Minic Rivera. In that interview, I talked about how at any given time, I’ve got numerous ideas running around in my head. In some cases, these ideas sit up there for months – as the Twitter Terminal Velocity post did. Other posts come out of conversations I have that coalesce into fully baked thoughts overnight. In all these cases, I spend time thinking through topics before writing and when the writing actually does occur, it is more like a braindump.

We need more thought leaders in blogging. People who will take the time to think fully about ideas and develop those thoughts. People that share these thoughts after much consideration and analysis.

That’s what my idea of an ideal blog world is. Am I smoking crack?

Blogging in Boxers Interview

No, I’m not an exhibitionist. Well, I’m sort of not. Maybe I am a little bit.

Anyways. Minic Rivera contacted me a bit before SXSW to do this interview. As I love doing interviews, I accepted of course.

It’s a pretty lengthy interview where I talk about alot of the same things I talk about here: How to market yourself, what I do at b5media, common mistakes I see others make with their blogs, etc. Oh and I fill you in on stuff you didn’t know about me. Yeah.

Go read it and let me know what you think.

Coworking in Philadelphia

After a great weekend in suburban New Jersey with family, I jaunted over to Philadelphia to work with Alex Hillman and others from the Philadelphia entrepreneur community at Indy Hall, the successful coworking community that I’ve talked about recently, and that we are modeling our own community after.

I shot some video while here to give everyone a glimpse.

Alex also shot this video tour a few months ago.

hopefully, we’ll have the same level of success in suburban Maryland as Indy Hall has had in Philadelphia.