In between the conference style WordPress events called WordCamps, intensive one to two day events with top notch WordPress and blogging experts, are a bunch of WordPress Meetups, community social gatherings to talk about WordPress and blog related issues.
WordCamps began in 2006 after Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, attended some of the earliest BarCamp events which were the start of the “unconference conference,” an informal gathering of like-minded folks who let the natural course of a gathering happen, where experts share what they know with anyone interested and willing to listen and learn.
While WordCamps were meant to follow an unstructured format, they quickly evolved into serious conferences, ranging from a couple dozen to hundreds of participants with workshops, special sessions, multi-track sessions, and a lot of events in and around the WordCamp program.
In 2008 Year-End Wrap-Up, Matt Mullenweg said there were 29 official WordCamp events in 2008. There are expected to be almost double that number this year.
From those reporting in to the WordPress staff, approximately 3,400 people attended the various international events, and Matt Mullenweg was there for most of them giving his famous “State of the Word” address on where WordPress was, is, and the future of WordPress. That’s an average of 117 people per event, and while I don’t have the specific numbers for all the WordCamps, Podcamp and WordCamp Hawaii in October had more than 600 registrants at the Hawaii Convention Center, WordCamp Israel 2008 (English) in Tel Aviv had over 500 for their second WordCamp event. read more
While most of the exhibitors at Blog World Expo were there to promote their products and services to the mass of bloggers in attendance, Tom and Bruce were there for a different reason. They were there to learn.
So many events and conferences bring together a lot of people with a marketing agenda. They want to sell products and services and make money. Tom and Bruce of Cart-Away Concrete showed up at this blogging conference with their portable cement mixer and said, “We don’t have anything for you to buy. We came here to learn.”
That’s right. They just came to learn from everyone who walked through the Las Vegas Convention Center Exhibition Hall over the course of the three day event. They aren’t bloggers, they aren’t web hosts, they aren’t marketers, or guys with cool blog gadgets. They are construction experts in equipment and concrete. How many bloggers have a huge commercial construction project underway and would need them? Hmmm?
No, they were there to learn. They could hire someone to teach them what to do and set up their blogs and social media services to promote their franchise and contractor business, but that’s not what they wanted. They wanted to learn from everyone in this new online social media business.
The list of Exhibitors in the Exhibition Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center this year is incredibly diverse. So many companies want to reach out to bloggers, and so many blog, social media, and web technologies are popping up everywhere – it’s going to be interesting to learn what’s hot, what’s not, and what will be the future of the web.
Some of the exhibitors I hope to meet up with include: read more
“Unconventions” or “unconferences” are the new schmoozefest of choice. From PodCamp to BarCamp, folks step out from behind their computers, gel their hair, and pick out a casual shirt that says, ‘I’m relevant.’
Here’s my question: Can a room full of people, many of whom have the same goals, really help take your Website or blog to the next level?
I understand you can learn stuff and form relationships. But how does this information differ from what we read or do online?
Bloggers might be better served attending an expo – within their niche – that is more than just other bloggers. It seems to me that blogging and podcasting circles have become quite incestuous. A bunch of folks tooting their own horns, collecting swag and exchanging business cards.
I’ve never been a fan of trade shows, expos, unconferences or whatever else you want to call them. Perhaps it’s the anti-sales introvert in me resisting.
Open my eyes.
Do you think these events really help? And can anyone quantify specifically how they’ve helped your blog? (Aside from getting other bloggers to click over and/or link to you – which I understand is a big part of the game).
I’m toying with the idea of attending PodCamp this coming weekend. How can I make the most of the experience?