A few weekends ago, I had the opportunity to attend WordCamp Toronto 2010 as a representative of Trailmeme, one of my current projects at Xerox. A trail is a way to tell a story with URLs, you can see an example of a trail created for WordCamp Toronto that collects all of the resources from the speakers together in one spot. The trailmeme project has a destination website, as well as a WordPress plugin (called Trailmeme for WordPress or TM4WP for short) that allows users to create trails to connect posts on their blogs. My colleague Venkat and I traveled to Toronto to learn more about the blogging community and to talk to people about the TM4WP plugin.
I have only been to large conferences like that of the American Library Association and huge trade shows like the Fancy Food Show, so the unconference concept was new to me. It was organized by volunteers, it was affordable ($35/ticket) it and allowed 200 or so people to mix, mingle and learn about WordPress in a fun, causal atmosphere. Although I am fundamentally an introvert, I found it easy to meet and talk to people at this event.
Xerox was one of the sponsors, so Venkat and I had the opportunity to attend a pre-Camp event on Friday night to meet the organizers, speakers and other sponsors. We also managed to get some time in the spotlight to talk about our plugin on the second day. The response was pleasantly positive. I often have a hard time explaining the trails concept to people I meet, but the blogging crowd saw a use for it immediately, you can read more about it in Venkat’s post about the response to TM4WP at WordCamp Toronto 2010.
I learned a lot at the event that I can use personally and for the chocolate business. I have a much better understanding of how people are using Twitter, see #wcto2010 on Twitter search. I also got a lot of excellent, practical advice on SEO from one of the presenters Brad Gosse.