I spent yesterday and will spend today at WordCamp Boston, a conference for WordPress users. I have wanted to add WordPress to my web design toolbelt but just haven't had time to sit down and really play with it. Conferences like this are a great way to shorten the learning curve.
I typically use Joomla! for web design, but WordPress has come a long way in the several years since my initial research led me to adopt Joomla! as my preferred platform. I'd like to be able to offer clients a choice or, if necessary, make a choice for them with whichever tool seems right for them.
From the minute I walked into the registration area, I was impressed with the organization and planning of this conference. The Registration "badge" was a complete portfolio for the conference -- including the information to log in to the network, a complete schedule on the inside (still readable even though it was comparatively small), whether or not you'd ordered a T-shirt, etc. With hundreds of attendees, it was relatively quiet and very organized.
Speakers have been top notch too. One speaker had only one year's experience using WordPress, but he gave a great presentation of Top 10 tips he'd learned in that year. As an experienced web designer, I came away with some "Ah Ha's" from it. That's quite good in my book. What I appreciated was that many sessions focused on web design and not just how to use WordPress. That creates a good mix for people who may know one or two tools but need to create better content, enrich their site, or grow into a more sophisticated use of thie websites (marketing outreach, SEO tools, etc.).
I go back today with a better idea in my mind beforehand of which sessions I'll attend. There is a stream of "how to" sessions specific to WordPress that I plan to attend, as well as some focusing on the freelancer (that's me -- or, as I prefer to say Solopreneur).
This has been a great way to spend the weekend; I'm glad I made it this year. The BU location has also been quite nice.
By the way, if you're a Joomla! user in the Boston area, our monthly user group meeting is this Wednesday (7/27/11) from 7-9 PM at the Cyber Cafe @ Malden Square. Preregistration is preferred although not required; since it's summer, I'd check the website to make sure the meeting is still on before showing up!