I was fortunate to be asked to speak at WordCamp Edmonton, which meant I got to soak up a whole bunch of great stuff from this terrific conference on all things WordPress.
As I admitted in my presentation (which won’t make a lot of sense out of context, but the links are worth looking at), I am a WordPress n00b of the highest order, so a lot of the talks from the developers and designers sailed straight over my head. No matter. It’s useful to me to know what I don’t know; Step 2 is to get around to knowing it.
The conference gave me a chance to announce The Journal’s call for applications to be the paper’s first blogger-in-residence. It’s a little experiment that Barb Wilkinson and I are trying in the media lab. Deadline is Dec. 19, so check out what we’re looking for and fill out the form if you’ve got what it takes.
Slides and video of the WordCamp presentations are to be posted in the fullness of time. In the meantime, check out Tamara Stecyk’s summaries of Day 1 and Day 2 on Storify. Also, I would dearly love to steal Taylor Reese’s notebook — that shot up top is of his notes from Jeff Archibald’s talk on typography. I love people who think the way that looks.
I’m on Tumblr because it’s easy, but my New Year’s resolution will be to move my main blog to the WordPress site that Sally Poulsen built for me. WordCamp was a good baby step in the right direction.
My favourite session was Dana DiTomaso’s talk on search engine optimization for WordPress. She delivered tons of practical tips and links to resources in a mile-a-minute but highly entertaining talk. I’m looking forward to hearing her again at the Social Media Breakfast on Nov. 25.
Another takeaway came from Mack Male’s talk on lessons from the Edmonton blogosphere. He highlighted a number of excellent blogs, and distilled their success down to four qualities: passionate, interesting, engaging and consistent. Judging from the reaction I’ve been getting (thank you, commenters and retweeters!), I’m doing OK on the first three, but I know I’m falling down on consistency. Working on it.
And now, rounding up:
— “I’m No Superman: The Comic Book Collection of Gilbert Bouchard” opened at the University of Alberta’s Bruce Peel Special Collections Library on Nov. 18. Not only did Andy Grabia do an amazing job curating the collection, but he also curated the night’s tweets and snapshots on Storify. You can see the show for free, but do yourself a favour and buy the catalogue: only $5 for a beautiful tribute to a man who cared a great deal about the arts in Edmonton. (Addendum: The catalogue, which is not available online, includes Andy’s perceptive essay on Gilbert and the story his collection tells, in addition to many wonderful images from the comics. It’s a keepsake.)
— Another Girl Geek Dinner happened this past week. I missed it, but I followed along on Twitter as Ruth Kelly, president of Venture Publishing, addressed the gang at D’Lish. Tamara storified this one, too. (Have I mentioned how much I love Storify? Yeah. It’s pretty awesome. Great for bringing meaning to the stream and keeping it around. Also an increasingly powerful tool for serious journalism.)
— Dave Cournoyer is performing a great service keeping on top of who’s been nominated where and for whom as we head into a provincial election in the spring.
— I finally got a chance to listen to the Unknown Studio’s latest podcast, featuring Jay Bardyla of Happy Harbor Comics. Recommended listening, not only for comic-book fans but for anyone interested in candid, well-informed, earned-the-hard-way advice on running a small business.
— Bardyla was also one of the organizers of Pure Speculation, the geek festival that happened on the weekend and sounded like a very fun time. I missed both PureSpec and Refinery, the big party at the Art Gallery of Alberta featuring Fish Griwkowsky’s “Explorers of the North and the Monsters Who Killed Them,” which also looked like a blast. Had I gone to either, I might have seen my old friend Jason Kapalka, a fellow Gateway alum who is the reason I almost never see my iPad, as everyone else in my house steals it to play Plants vs Zombies.
OK, ça suffit. Catch up on more Edmonton goings-on in Mack’s weekly Edmonton notes, and find out about other media happenings in his Media Monday. Tell me what I missed or messed up in the comments, on Twitter or on Google+.