I’m getting ready to go to Word Camp 2007, Day Two. Before I hop into the beautiful F-Line streetcar here at Fisherman’s Wharf, let me share some thoughts with you. [And if you’re reading this before I can provide the necessary links, wait for the edits.]
Question: What happens when a marketing, public relations, and event management resource for the Filipino American community (that’s me!) goes to a “boot camp” like WordCamp 2007?
Answer: Information overload. Happiness, as if I’m in a candy store. A lot of questions about bridging traditional media and the blogging phenomenon being answered — and I’m just dying to write an article focused toward ethnic media.
However, I’m going to wait for my information-steeping process to gel a little more clearly in my head before I write a legible article or blog post. Let me sleep on it, ok?
My first day’s adventures started when I observed three young men board the F-Line I took from Fisherman’s Wharf. They probably got in from the Ferry Building/Embarcadero station. They all had backpacks that I swear were laptop cases. One of them (Casey Bisson, bearded with glasses) was busy checking his PDA (or was it an iPhone?). Another guy seemed to look at every street intersection we crossed (Zach, with glasses). And the third guy just sat back and relaxed (no glasses). I promised them that I would remember their names — and I did!
I thought, “I bet you they’re going to WordCamp.”
Would you believe that I didn’t want to make an idiot of myself by asking them right then and there if they were fellow WordCampers? It was only after we got off at the same bus stop did I ask them, “Are you guys going to WordCamp?” and the introductions began.
After the obligatory registration, finding a place in the first row of seats, and grabbing my first cup of coffee and danish for the morning, I started checking out the electrical outlets. I met a new friend, one of my seatmates for the day, Daniel Brusilovsky, who was preparing for his podcasts. Did I mention to you that he’s 14 years old? I love it!
Then came Stephanie Booth from Lausanne, Switzerland, who was only going to be here for one day. She and I were seatmates so we agreed beforehand that it was going to be impossible not avoiding the shoulder bumps throughout the day, literally. I was amazed at her live blogging and photo-taking abilities. Someday, I mused, I can do that too!
As the sessions came and went, I stayed focused on my task at hand: document as much as I can, as fast as I could, and never mind the grammatical mistakes.
In between the short breaks between sessions, I enjoyed standing up and observing the other participants. Yes, I networked a bit but I had to meditate so that my mind could feel like a tea cup that was being emptied of its contents so that more tea could be poured into it.
I enjoyed short chats with Danny Howard (not merely a Unix Guy), Mike from WordPress (who spent most of his time running around with the Q & A microphone), and Christian Cabuay — who I found out is organizing a Miss Teen Filipina (something like that) pageant soon. Later on, I met Allen Schaaf, who had a lot to say to me about Google.
The diversity of the participants amazed me. I felt so blessed to be in a like-minded, like-hearted group. I know that around 380 people registered so I’m sure there were more than 300 of us who were there. It was really a standing room only type of situation.
All right, I checked out how many women there were. I’m not sure but I might say that 15% of the group were women. The “women’s room” wasn’t crowded.
Did the speakers and the attendees exhibit the stereotypical geeky behavior? And I say this word, “geeky,” with respect. “Geeky” means intelligent behavior. A resounding YES. Very different from all the suit-and-tie conferences I’ve been to. After all, the casual clothing most of us were wearing was very appropriate. The room wasn’t exactly like a steam room in a Swedish spa, pardon the pun. The heat generated from our bodies and the laptops (on our laps, mind you!) was the culprit.
My initial comments about everyone who spoke up? Most people forgot to spell out their blog URL’s. I was so frustrated yet I didn’t dare comment because I wanted to catch EVERY word they said (without my digital recorder). I loved it when they said all the bleeped words in my politically-correct vocabulary. I thoroughly enjoyed their down-to-earth commentaries.
Being seated for eight hours wore me out, too. A small price to pay for bonding with new friends and shared knowledge.
At the end of the day, I just wanted to go home. I didn’t go with many of them for libations.
On the F-Line, I met Liz Danzico, one of today’s presentors. She just came in from Brooklyn. Liz and I had a great time talking about what-she-called “the plain language movement in the United States.” Liz had been a technical writer in another life.
Thank you, Liz, for encouraging me to write my feelings about the first day.
My gratitude to Matt and the rest of WordPress and the sponsors for making my first time at WordCamp a wonderful experience! It’s my Filipino and South Asian blogging communities world-wide who will benefit from my summaries and ruminations.
But that is another day.
Gotta get dressed. Hope I bag a good seat today…