Announcing WordCamp Mid-Atlantic

Mark your calendars for May 16, 2009. This is the date for the first WordCamp Mid-Atlantic, a regional WordCamp organized for WordPress users in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia.

We have locked down the venue as University of Baltimore Thumel Business Center, which has also been the facility for a variety of other events – most notably, SocialDevCampEast. It is in proximity to major transportation hubs, including Amtrak.

We are launching the website and information about the event with the announcement that WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg, will be attending (and speaking). Subscribe to the RSS feed to stay up to date on speakers and other information you’re going to need and I look forward to seeing you in Baltimore!

Update: We’ve announced that Matt Mullenweg and Anil Dash of SixApart will be the Keynotes.

Coworking Columbia

Sometime last year, I discovered Independent’s Hall in Philadelphia. Indy Hall is a coworking organization that was started by the entrepreneurial community, and largely spearheaded by Alex Hillman who saw the community developing and the need for folks to get together and work.

In such environments, the ability to share ideas and collaborate, is of such value that the first steps had to be taken to organize. It’s all about providing a venue and the tools for collaboration and then getting out of the way to allow the entrepreneurial and creative juices to flow. This is the success of Indy Hall and since I’ve discovered them, I’ve kept a close eye on what is going on there.

I’ve seen Alex a handful of times since, most recently at SXSW, where I whined more about the fact that the Baltimore/Washington area needs coworking but that space was so expensive, the community might not latch on, that I was too busy to make things happen. Blah blah blah.

And that’s about what Alex said. Blah blah blah. In fact, he hears these sorts of broken record excuses regularly as he outlines in an amazing post titled, Your Problems Aren’t What Make You Special, Your Solutions Are.

Here in the Baltimore/Washington area, we have a small group that has been working out of Starbucks for well over a year. It’s loose. It’s unorganized. But it’s grown and on any given day, there are three to nine of us working and taking up the space. Starbucks love us because we keep buying coffee. We love each other because we can share our ideas and bounce thoughts around, share a YouTube video, talk about something that some blogger wrote, etc.

One of our number is the CEO of an Air Taxi company. Another is a financial investor. Another is a freelance photographer. And the list goes on. We’re tied together by a common bond of wanting to share our ideas because iron sharpens iron. We want to see the local entrepreneurial movement grow because we all also agree that working in an office sucks.

Last week, we decided to formalize some things. Little steps at first, but we want to lay the groundwork and see how the community reacts. Every Friday, we’re meeting here (for now) at the Starbucks at 6490 Dobbin Center Way, Columbia MD 21046. For the sake of structure, we’re saying 9am-5pm however people are free to come and go as they wish.

If you’re keeping track at home, we are meeting tomorrow, so join us. Join us once or join us weekly. We are community and we welcome you.

And if you want to get on the mailing list (it’s low traffic), join us at columbia-coworking@googlegroups.com. Hope to see you here!

More of the Same in 2008; Or: We ain't no Seesmic

It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting here at Reagan National Airport awaiting a flight to Toronto. This is my last business trip of 2007 and… when I return home on Wednesday, I’m only looking at another two business days before I entirely knock off for the year. I’ll probably blog, but no b5media (if I can help it), none of my “mini-gigs”, and generally, no social media. I say that now, of course.

I figured it was a good time to look at what you can expect from this blog, and more specifically me, in 2008.

More Travel

I traveled more than I ever did before in 2007. Met some great people from the social media community. Reacquainted myself with others. Engaged in my first public speaking engagements. In essence, 2007 for me was about a definite maturing in my professional profile. I haven’t always executed well. Some people may not like me. Others might think I don’t like them. But, I’m happy with where 2007 has taken me.

In 2008, I expect more travel and that means more of an opportunity to meet you somewhere. Though nothing is definite yet, I’m hoping to make it to Future of Web Apps Miami and New Media Expo as well as near definite appearances at SXSWi, WordCamp Dallas, WordCamp San Francisco, Gnomedex 8 and Blog World Expo 2008.

There’s also rumor of b5media doing a cross country tour, but I can neither confirm nor deny that possibility. ;-)

Hyperlocal

One of the new buzzwords getting thrown around the Web 2.0-a-sphere is “hyperlocal” – the focus on local/regional services, community and communications. While 2007 has been critical for me in developing my reach internationally and nationally, I have neglected my profile here at home. In the words of Jesus, “A prophet is not without honor save in his own country,” and while I don’t claim to be a prophet, I did predict the Ravens loss to the Miami Dolphins this past Sunday.

In 2008, I plan to cultivate the relationships that I have begun to develop in the Baltimore/Washington region more throughly. For instance, Geoff Livingston and I will be launching a Blog Talk Radio show surrounding the social media and communications environment in the Washington, D.C. area entitled “District of Corruption”. This will begin at 2pm on Tuesday, January 8.

Other potential alliances exist between myself and Nick O’Neill of Social Times and All Facebook, Mike Brenner who is looking to launch Refresh Baltimore, Ann Bernard and Keith Casey at Why Go Solo, NewMediaJim, Frank Gruber of AOL and co-founder of TECH Cocktail, Greg Cangialosi of Blue Sky Factory… and others. In the new year, I’ll be focusing a lot of my time and energy in these areas and with these people and maybe something cool will come of it.

More Original Non-English Content

Carlos Granier-Phelps has been doing a smash up job producing original Spanish language content for Technosailor.com. I’ve learned from early mistakes and provided a separate Spanish feed for this content and I expect to learn more from the experiment. I say experiment because I did this not knowing what to expect. A month and a half in and I’m seeing definite signs of traction. It’s always hard to build a new audience, so I’m grateful to Carlos for helping to spearhead this under the Technosailor banner. Social media and business is not exclusive to English speakers and so I don’t want to ignore that demographic.

In an ideal world, I’d love to see the new year bring original French and, I don’t know, Japanese content as well. We’ll see. Certainly, let me know if you’re interested in reading or writing here.

We Ain’t Seesmic

Finally, you can expect more of the same from me. In the past year, I’ve recognized that it dilutes content to force a quota on myself. I used to force myself to write once a day at least and now I only write when inspired. As a result, my content is better and more original. Traffic has shot through the roof and my subscriber count has more than doubled. Unlike Seesmic, I’m not too concerned with what critics say. ;-)

Time to get going, the plane boards soon.