On Saturday, October 20, I ventured down to the Canisius College campus on Main Street in Buffalo to attend the inaugural WordCamp Buffalo conference. It was just luck that I came upon it from a Twitter post, so I signed up right away as it sold out a few days later. I attended a WordCamp in Chandler, Arizona last year that had 750 attendees. WordCamp Buffalo drew around 100 website designers, programmers and marketing professionals of varying skill levels.
The one-day conference was only $15 thanks to several local sponsors and included a light breakfast, lunch and T-shirt upon departure. There were two concurrent sessions – an introductory level for “users” and a more technical track for “advanced” programmers and designers. As I reviewed the agenda of presenters, some of which came from Toronto to share their expertise with Western New York WordPress enthusiasts, I started out with the plan to mix it up and go to a few 101 sessions and a couple of the more intermediate offerings. After the first presentation on building and submitting different site/layout themes, I quickly realized I was more suited for the user track.
I was first exposed to WordPress at the November 2009 PodCamp AZ “unconference” where I created a basic account, which then lay dormant for a year and a half until I finally took action to build my website during the torrid summer of 2011. Since it was 110 degrees and I had a long holiday weekend, I set out to build my online portfolio and initiate a blogging regimen to maintain my first website as a programming-design novice.
After 18 months of experimenting and several iterations and modifications, I am rather content with my WordPress site now. It has given me a creative clearinghouse to compose my industry narratives and presentation summaries from events I attend. It also afforded me the forum to learn about posts, linking, image optimization, widgets, tags, categories, pages and the countless other nuances within the WordPress template architectural options.
Back to WordCamp Buffalo, it was nice to see the event get off the ground for Western New York and Canisius College was great to host it. They also offered a “Happiness Bar” for troubleshooting your WordPress features and issues and an unconference room for people who wanted to delve further into areas not covered on the agenda. I picked up new ideas to augment the inbound marketing and traffic for my website, so it was beneficial to spend a few hours in these sessions. It made it a little easier to participate in such a professional learning event on Saturday since it was raining most of the time.
I met several people who work in real estate who were there to learn how they could enhance their online services, but the bulk of attendees were definitely high-tech, website programming and design aficionados.