Your Wordcamp 2012 Questions Answered Here!

Wordcamp Edmonton questions you were afraid to ask answered!

With Wordcamp Edmonton coming soon, you are probably loaded with pressing questions. Important questions like: What should I wear? Should I take my laptop? Will I be mocked if I bring a PC or even a Blackberry instead of an ever so fashionable Apple product? Well humble reader I am here to answer those important questions!

Who should attend?

Wordcamp has a bit for everybody. Attendees, organizers, and presenters are there under the banner of your favorite open source content management system.You can expect to see plenty of twenty somethings with iPhones, Macbooks and hipster attire; but overall, attendees will be as diverse and varied as Edmonton itself.

If you are a mommy blogger, an enterprise user, a super programmer or novice user wanting to learn more about WordPress – Wordcamp is for you.

Attendees all share a common interest, a passion or even religious devotion to WordPress and the WordPress community. The three tracks of design, development, and content should help anyone find a talk that works for them. Each talk is given a friendly ski slope rating of green circle, blue square, black diamond or double black diamond to help you find talks that meet your level of expertise.

What should I wear?

I always ask this question. Wordcamp is not a wedding so you don’t need a tux, but it’s long days packed with WordPress goodness so make sure you are comfortable. Though super-secret double points are given for ironic t-shirts, if formal business attire makes you comfortable then wear it.

It is Edmonton in winter so on a more practical note: bring a sweater. My only request is: wear a banana costume. If anyone wears a banana costume for the first day then drinks are on me Friday night. Plus, you get to be that banana guy or gal.

Should I attend a talk above (or below) my ski slope rating?

Simple answer is yes! Dad always told me: you have to practice with better competition to get stronger. It’s in your best interest to learn as much as possible about all the tasks involved with building and maintaining your WordPress site.

For example, take Jody Bailey’s session: Concatenate & Minify Like A Boss to Speed Up Your WordPress Sites. If you area blogger with no experience in development you may not even know what concatenation and minifying are but I can tell you with certainty that this Black Diamond talk will discuss something that anyone with a WordPress site should be addressing, site speed. Start adding all those fun plugins with multiple css and Javacript files WordPress can bog down fast. Readers who experience a slow site will make a quick exit. This talk will address how you can make all your files load faster and improve your reader’s experience.

To all you advanced people out there: attend a few entry level talks. Take it as an opportunity to support the community or help answer a question. Also, listen to the problems of less advanced users to discover the real problems WordPress users experience. It will save you from developing another twitter plugin that nobody needs and talking to users might spark an idea for the most amazing plugin ever!

Should I take my laptop, iPad or other device?

We all need to take notes. Pad and paper, laptop or even draw your notes with pretty pictures; use the tools that work for you. By the way, you won’t be mocked for your technology choices or level of tech savvy. The simple fact is technology snobs are not welcome and will be thrown into the Sarlacc pit underneath the Mercer Warehouse.

Luke over the Sarlacc Pit of Carkoon on Tatooine.

Should I share presentation materials on Social Networks?

Live blogging and social sharing are encouraged. We are all friends here. However, speakers may request you do not socially share certain tips or tricks. Many speakers work in a commercial space or have projects in development and share information about clients or products to make the conference better—but they don’t necessarily want their information shared on a public scale. Please respect their wishes.

To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question.

Tweeting and social sharing during sessions can cut both ways. Speakers expect and hope to see attendees sharing information from their presentations with the world, but it can be disheartening to stand in front of a room of faces buried in their smartphones. It’s fun to tweet out ideas or points, but presentations are jam packed with info so you could miss the next great point while you are typing on your phone. Like anything in life, be aware and find the balance of sharing and listening that works for you.

Should I take business cards?

Umm yeah, those are helpful. Plus you can bond over the quality of the Paper. Then you can use a great tool like Linkedin’s Cardmunch to keep track of your cards. Notice how I slipped a tool in there, well if there were only a presentation at Wordcamp that would provide you with some more great tools and tips… wait there is!

Final Thoughts and Shameless Plug

With Wordcamp Edmonton just a month and a half away speakers, organizers and hopefully attendees are excited to getting the show on the road. Wordcamp is built for the WordPress community and needs your support. If you have not registered yet, register now. If you haven’t spread the word yet, start spreading it!

Most important: attend my session, it’s going to talk about relationships, timeless love and mysteries of the universe. Ok not really, but you will learn plenty of ways to evaluate and track how people engage, share and discuss your content. Look forward to seeing you in November.

Glenn Walker (@walkergv) is a partner at Tiko Digital. Tiko Digital builds websites, promotes them via creative campaigns and optimizes results with analytics know-how. Glenn moved to Edmonton from beautiful Cape Breton Island many years ago and is the owner of two very manly little white dogs.