Sizing Up WordCamp Jerusalem 2011

Again this year WordCamp Jerusalem offered excellent talks by the local WordPress community for both Content Publishers and Developers. The opening session was with Gal Brill, CEO of UppSite, who demonstrated for us in real time how to create a mobile app of your site. Mobile was the hot topic this year. bloggers will be happy to know that while we may not have an app for each of our sites, all sites have a mobile theme which is on by default for visitors checking in from their phones. Update: The latest version of the WordPress app for Android also acts as a reader for all those sites you’re following!

Of special interest to me, of course, was Deena Levenstein’s session on, well done in an unexpectedly short time (previous session having run too long and then it took a few minutes to set up Deena’s talk) and abruptly ended due to having run out of time. There could easily have been a second session, there was that much crowd interest. You can catch up on the remainder of Deena’s talk in her Slideshare presentation below:

Many of the talks aimed at one group or the other (Content Publishers/Developers) were running at the same time rather than in parallel sessions. Because of this odd timing, I ended up missing Gal Mor’s “Blogs and Social Networks”. And so it went over the course of the entire morning; I found myself starting in one session and then picking up and moving to the parallel session, with the result that I really didn’t get much out of either. With the exception of one afternoon talk, by lunchtime the sessions for Content Publishers had pretty much been covered and so attendees could adjourn for a good cup of coffee.

(A tip: The only thing that saves me during conferences is mixing one large spoonful of (gah!) Nescafe and a half spoonful of ground black coffee. It may not be a Cafe au lait, but it gets the job done. As far as the WiFi, notorious problem at every conference I’ve been to as well.)

Being a veteran of the three earlier WordCamps in Israel, my overall impression this year was that it seemed “rushed”. While organizing a WordCamp is not for the faint-of-heart, Israelis excel under pressure. The biggest letdown for me was the patchwork communication with prospective attendees prior to the event, following sign-up and post event. Although I signed up for email updates, I received maybe two via the official channel. Ironically, most of the email communication I did receive was via last year’s Meetup group, which was announced defunct by the organizers in April . Fortunately for me I’d also subscribed to last year’s WordCamp Jerusalem’s RSS feed, which sprang to life in mid-July and kept updating frequently right up to the day of the event… and then fell silent. Twitter, too, was nearly tweetless before the event. I half-jokingly mentioned to a fellow attendee that this year’s WordCampJeru needed more cowbell. Even the post event follow-up contact with attendees appeared to be a well-kept secret. It was only while looking for something else that I happened upon the feedback form on the WordPressJerusalem site.

Perhaps this was only my own experience and I’m curious to know what other attendees experiences were as far as how they found out about the event and what level of communication they had with the organizers.

But enough griping! Here are some links to other attendees posts in English about their experience at WordCamp Jerusalem 2011:

Easily the best Tweet of the day was from Morad Stern:

Translation: “Whoever hasn’t navigated with GPS in Jerusalem, has never navigated with GPS.” And certainly this was true for those of us who aren’t intimately familiar with the city’s circuitous routes!

Again, a big thank you to Illuminea for putting together another great WordPress event and to all the sponsors for their support and assistance.

Shana Tovah and hoping Next Year in Tel Aviv! 🙂

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