We spent the weekend at WordCamp Fayetteville, and it was downright fun. This is our hometown, so of course it was a time to reconnect with friends, and we also met some great new people.
Here’s what I learned:
- From Eric Huber of Blue Zoo Creative I learned that people click on orange buttons most, and that the most blatant self-promotion is charming if done with wit and bananas.
- From Collin Condray of Blue Zoo Creative I learned about Benford’s Law. I’m afraid I no longer remember what this has to do with WordPress, but it might be related to the strength of weak ties, a concept over which Josepha can get quite emotional. Your social network, according to the seminal work by Mark Granovetter, centers around your strongest ties: the family, friends, and colleagues who are most important to you. However, that close circle overlaps with the closest circles of all those people, and their circles are likely to contain people who can help you and whom you can help.
- From Mitch Cantor I learned a little more about custom post types. I’m working on a site in which custom post types are quite important, and I learned a bit about them at WCKC from Jonathon Wondrusch. Now I think I know enough to realize that we’re not making the best possible use of them at the new site.
- From Andy Crofford I learned about Blogger Linkup and My Blog Guest, places where bloggers can connect with potential guest bloggers or places for guest blogging. Sometimes I want to write about something for which I don’t currently have a good writing venue (like my guest post at Wordstream) and I’ve found that guest blogging can be very good for traffic and linkbuilding.
- From Tom Hapgood I learned that it’s time to learn HTML5 and CSS3. Tom shared some snazzy tools: CSSEdit, Colorzilla and their Ultimate CSS Gradient Generator, CSS PIE for greater flexibility with IE6-8, and Randy’s CSS3 Generator. Get a cup of coffee before you get started on these, because you’ll want to play with them.
- From Tom I also learned the word “octothorpe.” I hardly ever get to learn a new word, so this was a bit of a thrill.
- From Justin Kopepasah I learned that CSS3 is a misnomer, but it does some very cool stuff. Check it out at Justin’s WCFay site — try it in some different browsers, and then look at his code. Rosie’s excited about how lean and clean this will make code.
- From Jane Wells I learned about Courseware, a learning management system for WordPress that could rescue us from Blackboard. I’ve always felt that the fact that educational software is consistently inferior to business software says something about our culture — not something good. Courseware uses the social aspects of BuddyPress and the flexibility of custom post types to power the LMS, and I’m pretty excited about that. It could let us get our trainings online here, even if I couldn’t persuade the college where I teach.
- From Shelley Keith I learned about Gravity Forms. Lots of people are very excited about this form plugin and Mitch mentioned it several times, too. Sometimes that’s just fashion, but sometimes it really means the plugin is awesome.
- From Angela Belford I learned — okay, I didn’t learn anything. I couldn’t even get to her session, because there was such a plethora of good stuff going on. But we had a lot of fun planning a Google Police public information campaign. We think that we can go door to door in our Google caps and tell people firmly that they have to update their browsers. We’ll say, “Google sent me. Where’s your computer?” and upgrade them all by force, thus solving a whole lot of web development problems in one fell swoop.
Angela and I were able to think of a lot of other things people would let us do if we claimed that Google said they had to, and I was beginning to think it would make a good reality show. Admittedly, this was at the after party, but I believe it was Hemingway who said that a plan that still seems good the next day is a good plan.