WordCamp Lehigh Valley PA 2019

WordCamp Lehigh Valley PA 2019

I’ve been coming to WordCamp Lehigh Valley since it started (I think about 4 years ago). It’s a great WordCamp that isn’t in a major metro area.

The topics are great and range from User Experience to getting used to the Gutenberg editor to how to manage multiple WordPress sites.

The great thing about WordCamps is that for a minimal charge, the information you get is worth so much more. This is the same for WordCamp Lehigh Valley.

Find more out about WordCamps by going to WordCamp Central.

WordCamp US 2018

WordCamp US 2018

WordCamp US 2018 Nashville Logo

Going to WordCamps (conferences that are focused on the WordPress CMS) is always a lot of fun.

When the national WordCamp (WordCamp US) comes around every December it’s gives one a sense of how fantastic this community is.

Last year and this year #WCUS (as it’s affectionately known) is in Nashville Tennessee. I wasn’t able to make it this year or last, but this year I’m still going via the live stream. Though I’m missing the most important track, the Hallway Track, I’m really enjoying my experience.

The live stream coupled with the #WCUS hashtag on Twitter, it almost feels like I’m there. In a way I’m getting a little bit of the Hallway Chat via Twitter.

All in all, I’ve been very happy with my virtual experience thus far. I’ll report my final thoughts after #WCUS ends.

WordCamp US 2018 picture of my computer watching the live stream.
My view of #WCUS 2018 from work on Friday
Thoughts On The Massacre In Pittsburgh

Thoughts On The Massacre In Pittsburgh

What happened to Pittsburgh this terrible, horrendous and unconscionable.

It happened in a synagogue, but could happen anywhere and has happened in other places of worship and places of education.

Two days after what happened in Pittsburgh, I’m still trying to deal with the fact that something like this could happen in this day in age. I’m sad and I try and not think about what’s going on in this country. The thought of our President visiting Pittsburgh should be a good thing but it isn’t. He is a figure who has helped encourage this hate. Those in politics and places of power need to know that their words mean something and can affect people much more than just their minds.

My son goes to a Jewish Day School in the afternoon. I’d be lying if I wasn’t really nervous today. I know they have security measures in place but I also know that they are only so good.

I brought up what happened in Pittsburgh on Saturday up at work today and was shocked to find out the lack of empathy my co-workers feel towards things that don’t affect them.

This could happen anywhere and to anyone but it didn’t this time it affects a community that I’m part of and it hurts me to my core.

I don’t expect people to fully understand why I’m still reeling from what happened, but I’m still shocked when people just don’t give a crap about anyone else other than themselves.

Yes, it didn’t happen in Philadelphia or Doylestown, for that matter, but it happened to fellow Americans. It’s time to give a shit. It’s time to take a stand and do something about this rhetoric that is causing this toxic mess that where in today.

I’ve been rambling, I know, but I had to get this out. I want to know your thoughts to please post your thoughts in the comments below or hit me up on social media.

WordCamp Philly 2018 Recap

WordCamp Philly 2018 Recap

I love me a good WordCamp. 

WordCamp Philly 2018 is in the bag. This year I didn’t volunteer to take photos. Instead I was just an attendee. I felt  I needed a year to take in everything WordCamp had to offer. One of which was actually sitting through sessions and learning as much as possible.

The turnout was great. More than 300+ attendees turned out to learn how to get the most out of the WordPress CMS.

I learned quite a bit. From how to correctly use Google Analytics to using fonts properly to how to make sure you have diversity not just in the workplace, but represented in your designs and everything you do.

Tracy Levesque (also known as @LilJimmi) gave an amazing keynote about Diversity, Love, and Independence.

She did an excellent job highlighting the many firsts that happened in Philly with diversity and inclusion that has effected the whole country.

After the keynote, I honestly felt lost without my camera. I’ve been a photographer for WordCamp Philly since it started. I quickly got over it and went to some amazing sessions taught by amazing people.

The sessions I went to were fantastic. Here are the ones I went to:

That was all on Saturday. On Sunday was Contributor Day. That’s where people can learn how to contribute to the WordPress open source project. It had a great turn out. More than 40 people came out.

I’m now getting involved with the Marketing group and I’m excited to learn more about how I can put my skills to good use for the project.

If you want to learn more about how you can contribute go to Make.WordPress.org and get involved.

The weekend was a huge success. To find the slides and see the conversation you can go to the hashtag archive I setup in a Google Sheet.

Social Media How It Should Be

Social Media How It Should Be

I’m really enjoying Mastodon, well… Jawns.Club‘s version of Mastodon.

When I started out on Twitter back in 2007/8 I loved the local feel of the site and followed people I knew in real life or in the local area. As Twitter grew in popularity, it got cluttered for me. I began to get followers and followed quite a bit of people back. Now my HOME timeline is so cluttered I can’t use it. I’m “forced” to use lists to navigate Twitter and to be honest, it’s not enjoy able anymore.

Enter Mastodon a year ago. Mastodon was intriguing to me. I had been watching things like Identi.ca (now Status.Net) and GNU Social for years, but they never stuck for me. I love the idea of federation, but even with that you need a community. So a year goes by and the Philly-area crowd gets fed up with Twitter enough to venture to Mastodon. Alex Hillman, of Indy Hall co-working fame, spins up an instance and called it Jawns.Club. Now there’s a community, my community on this new-ish social network that isn’t controlled by corporations and messed up by trolls, yet.

Not Perfect By Any Stretch

Is Mastodon lacking in some respects. Absolutely. Here are just a few things:

  • Not enough choice in applications
  • The apps that are out there aren’t as full featured as I’d like
  • The code is still being actively developed and sometimes acts as such

But even with the issues, Mastodon is a great place to be. It will never be a “Twitter-killer,” at least not for a while, but it does fill a void.

Oh The Instances. Which One(s) should I choose?

So here’s another issue, each Instance or neighborhood on Mastodon has it’s own flavor, community, and culture. Different topics vary across the federation of servers running instances of Mastodon. How many can one person join? All if they really want to. But, how many can they participate in successfully. I have upwards of 5 accounts on different servers. Finally Jawns.Club hit the spot, because that’s where my community is. But I struggle, because am I missing out on other conversations elsewhere? So because of that, I decided to start my own instance WPSocial.Live for the WordPress community. Hit me up if you want to join.

Some apps let you quietly follow other instances PUBLIC streams, but I haven’t found one that I like, well that works. Also the desktop options are very limited.

So What’s A Person To Do?

Pick an instance, use it for a while, see if the community fits your needs. If not, you can export your followers and move to another instance. You can even leave a “forwarding address” of sorts telling people what instance or neighborhood your part of now. It’s pretty slick.

So jump in and have fun!

Mastodon… My Take.

Mastodon… My Take.

Mastodon, the social network, not the Heavy Metal Band, came on the social media scene just over 2 years ago. It was immediately embraced by those who felt Twitter had sold out to to corporate interests and wasn’t what it once was. It also seemed and still seems to not to be able to deal with its major troll issue.

I first heard about Mastodon about a year ago, when the “Tech Guy” Leo Laporte talked about it on one of his podcasts on the TWiT network. I immediately signed up.

Unlike the “birdsite,” as users of Mastodon call Twitter, Mastodon is completely open source and federated. This means that anyone can run their own “instance” or neighborhood on Mastodon and have it connect to the greater community. It’s really slick.

For example, there is Mastodon.Social that is run by developer(s) of Mastodon, but there are instances of the service for all types of communities.

I currently have more accounts on Mastodon than I remember, but the one that I use almost exclusively is Jawns.club, the Philadelphia (area) instance.

There are instances for techies, scholars, hipsters, witches, LGBTQ, etc. Mastodon is really democracizing the microblogging social networking arena.

Here is a great view explaining what exactly Mastodon is and why it rocks!