Yesterday was day 1 (of 2) for WordCamp NYC 2009. Wow. What a brilliant and wonderful event!

I missed the opening remarks and first few series of workshops, which I ultimately regret but had no control over given my recent workload and absolutely need the night before to get at least 5.5 hours of sleep (yes, when I need sleep I sleep more than 4… I wound up waking at the 5 hour mark but staying in bed until the 6 hour mark – but I digress!).

I wound up arriving at around 11:48am, and as soon as I registered and received my kick-ass tee-shirt and badge, I was standing in the middle of the room glancing over the post-lunch programme when I turned around and suddenly there were over 500 hungry participants standing behind me! FTW! I was the first in line for the vegetarian sandwiches – sweet!

I had a great conversation with Jim of zemanta.com, and met a couple other really wonderful people before the afternoon sessions even began. Which is one thing I’ve always really liked about geek and tech meet-ups and gatherings like this, is generally people are very approachable and friendly. Not to say people in the art world aren’t, but it’s a completely different set of standards, and, well actually people in the art world aren’t as approachable! There, I said it. Yes it is difficult to explain how as an artist I work with WordPress – usually the response is, “so you’re a Designer?” , “no, I make installations” (like holoscape, which is built on WP) – or how I work with NYC-area non-profits and always recommend WordPress as a tool for their projects and missions. But whereas in the art world people usually just don’t care about “code” (or the political ramifications of blog culture and terms or language like Creative Commons, GPL, XML, etc.), at least at these events people are always willing to listen to what you do, or in this case why you do it with WordPress!

I first went to the WP in Education round table. I forget all of the presenters’ names, but that’s Matt Mullenweg on the far left, and two of the other blokes (middle and far right) were from Virginia of all states, which was interesting – and they both had very strong ideas and opinions about how WordPress has pro-actively been used to advance pedagogy and educational enlightenment! A wonderful topic indeed! It’s a shame there was just not enough time for Qs & As because this one in particular could have gone on for another hour.

While I noticed as the day went on that most people went to one room and stayed there all day, I bounced around, probably walking a whole mile inside the building from class to class.

I nipped over to the WordPress for Non-Profits seminar:

This lady Amanda was a hoot, and she had one really great message in particular:

(I only wish I could convince more non-profits of the why!)

Don’t be fooled by this image! The WordCamp was packed, over 700 people were in attendance! These big rooms were definitely a bit intimidating, but I guess better this than a room for 30 and have 80 people show up!

A random encounter in the hallways – Matt Mullenweg must get stopped all the time to be asked a simple question, and the question turns into an informal discussion and seminar! He’s so pleasant and positive about people, and code, and discussing real issues, in this case the topic was canonical plugins and language localizations.

Are they sharing notes? LOL!

My laptop went kaputz less than 48 hours before WordCamp (anybody want to donate to help me get a netbook?), else I totally would be one of these people, and probably would have been drafting this post then.

One of the most interesting seminars I went to, because it’s a hot topic I’m developing for my own intents and purposes right now for another project, this notion of “hyperlocal” and community building with WordPress. This speaker was talking on behalf of InJersey.com which runs on WPMU and BP.

All in all a wonderful day! I wish there were more events like this, which is why I’ll have to follow through on my plans for some hyperlocal-wordpress-for-artists-meet-up-tech-exchange-and-talk thing to do on my own soon!