WordCamp UK

Following Hacks meet Hackers on Friday I decided that two conferences in a week wasn’t enough and headed into Manchester to WordCamp UK at MMU’s Business School. It was a full weekend event including socials in the evening but prior commitments meant I could only go for the day.  In case the name doesn’t give it away, WordCamps are conferences about WordPress and happen all over the world.

The first session was introductions to find out who was there. With a couple of hundred (I’d guess) this took a while but I was impressed with the diversity of uses in the room. Lots of web developers as you’d expect but also bloggers and it was nice to see a couple of other universities in the room.

Other sessions I attended…

Core PluginsPeter Westwood

Also known as Canonical plugins, it’s proposed that these will allow extra support for key features that aren’t part of the core WordPress code.  Currently two core plugins are under development:

  • Health Check: this will scan your WordPress install and tell you if there’s anything wrong, for example executable files or out of date PHP versions.
  • Post-by-Email: currently part of the core but badly out of date, the hope is to get the community to support it and take advantage of some extra development that has been done for other plugins.

Managing multiple WordPress instances – John Adams

John Adams just-in-time session planning :)

John showed us the just-in-time approach to session planning, also known as winging it, after forgetting he’d agreed to run this session.  It actually turned out well and some good discussion over ways of managing multiple blogs.  It seems Edge Hill had one of the larger installations, albeit as part of two WordPress MU instances but it’s a problem for everyone.

We’re certainly not alone in struggling with a development/testing/staging/live strategy for WordPress but Shaun Hare from Nottingham University suggested it is possible so we should probably pick their brains about it sometime!

Beyond Blogging – Kieran O’Shea

Kieran O'Shea: Beyond Blogging

Kieran highlighted a couple of plugins he’s developed to take a blog a little further:

  • Calendar: provides embeddable calendar that can show in a post, page or sidebar widget.
  • Social View: a new plugin that takes feeds from other websites – currently YouTube, Flickr and Twitter – and converts them to blog posts but makes them look a little prettier.

WordPress and more in Big MediaDave Coveney of Interconnect IT

WordPress in Big Media with @davecoveney

Final session of the day for me was Liverpool’s own Dave Coveney presenting a session about how the media can use WordPress.  He was followed by a chap from the Telegraph going into a little more detail about their blogging platform with some impressive usage statistics.  If you didn’t think that WordPress was a serious system you should now!

Social Media Café Liverpool

Last night was Liverpool’s first Social Media Café at Static. SMC’s are nothing new – they’ve been running in cities around the UK, and the world, for a while but it’s good to see one happening closer to home.

The format for the evening was three speakers with generous breaks between to grab a beverage and “network”. The organisers got some great talks:

Alison Gow: Data and the art of storytelling

From Alison we learn that you can’t get a job for the Guardian without talking about data! Alison has written up a blog post about her talk so go read it!

Josh: How to win Foursquare friends and influence people

How to win @foursquare friends and influence people by @technicalfault

Josh is involved in organising Social Media Café Manchester and popped down the road to talk about Foursquare. Once again, Josh has blogged about the subject so go read that.

I’ve got a blog post in draft (which has fallen foul to my 48 hour rule) about Foursquare and how we might be able to use it as a University. Hopefully I’ll be inspired to look at it again and publish it in the next week or two.

David Coveney: Social media and work

@davecoveney #smvliv #smday

Final talk of the night was Dave Coveney talking about how work and social media mix. Once again his slides – as a Prezi – are online. They probably make about as much sense as Dave’s talk, and I say that as a compliment! It was very engaging walk through the history of social media (anyone remember CIX?) and how he makes use of social media personally, with the business as a side effect.

So overall a great first SMC Liverpool. There was some discussion about the direction to take the events but it will probably be a monthly thing. I’ve added the hashtag #smcliv to TwapperKeeper so you should be able to read through the archive of tweets there as it fills up.

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