It’s been a year since I last redesigned my personal blog. This time around, I’ve been thinking of making more substantial changes — possibly even getting a new blog host. Lately, I’ve been envious of my fellow bloggers who use WordPress. It seems they have more features, more flexibility, and more choices of blog themes, including the theme I use now, one that was originally designed for WordPress blogs. So imagine my surprise when I found out while browsing the web that WordPress bloggers, designers and consultants will be gathering in Atlanta this weekend at SCAD for the first WordCamp of 2010.
From the WordCamp Report website:
WordCamp is a 1 or 2 day conference for WordPress users and developers. The focus is on how to be a better blogger, on the development and future of WordPress, and other topics of interest.
Unfortunately, WordCamp Atlanta is sold out, so I won’t be going.
The WordPress story reads like a Horatio Alger tale — young teen combines talent and perseverance with being in the right place at the right time to make his mark in the world before he turns twenty five. But there is more to WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg than that. I’ve lived through the “greed is good” days, and through the “dot com” bubble that turned so many twenty somethings with great ideas into miniature Masters of the Universe, their eyes glistening at the promise of untold riches.
I could tell you my impressions of Mullenweg, but it would probably make more sense for you to watch the video below:
Taking a quick stroll through Mullenweg’s personal website, ma.at, I was even more amazed. This quote — “I started blogging for writing, I kept blogging for comments” — from his blog showed me, more than anything else, that Mullenweg understands his audience. The man seems to practice what he preaches, zooming with his own feet whenever a close-up look is warranted.
The WordPress community, in true open source fashion, puts on the WordCamps themselves, doing everything from finding the venue to deciding what the participant badges are going to look like. A lot of the planning and collaboration takes place via Twitter, allowing them to build a buzz while they are creating the event. The venue selected for Atlanta’s workshop was the Atlanta campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design, a creative hub of the metro area.
Presentations at WordCamp are made by expert designers and WordPress collaborators, who aim through the workshop to simplify the blogging experience by showing participants how to manage their blog “the WordPress way” with everything from Google Analytics to vloging to blogging in the FTC era.
It all looked so exciting, even though I won’t be attending the event, that I took the plunge and signed up for a free site at WordPress.org, just to see for myself what the differences were between WordPress and Blogger out of the box. There are a lot more choices for blog templates at WordPress, but some of the features that Blogger offers for free, like no advertising and the ability to replace the standard Blogger templates with your own CSS code, are upgrades with WordPress. I guess the bottom line is, I’ll have to play around with this new blog system for awhile to see if making the switch is worth the effort.
In the meantime, I’ll be zooming with my feet.