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WordCamp Birmingham: an Epilogue

I’ve made several attempts to write this post in the last week – with some being much more verbose than others. I’m still not quite sure what to say…

I wanted to thank everyone who came to town in the midst of our region’s gas shortage to share their knowledge, their time and some laughs last weekend. It started out as a question back in the spring and ended up being one of the most exciting weekends I’ve had in a long time.

Our speakers – Brett Bumeter, Dougal Campbell, Mitch Canter, Jeremy Flint, Donna Fontenot, Dana Franks, David Griner & Whitney Sides – were incredible. Our venues – The Virginia Samford Theatre, Vulcan Park and The Bottletree – were extremely gracious and helpful as we got this first year under our belt. And I’m sure that Jim ‘N Nick’s, Full Moon and Dreamland all appreciated our attendees’ longing to try several of our city’s best options for barbecue.

I also wanted to take a moment and thank a few folks that were extremely helpful in organizing this event. Maya at Automattic for helping me think through more than a few things; Charles Stricklin’s posts on organizing a WordCamp and Jeremy, Henry McBride, Travis Bryant and Chris Collins for giving as much as they could to pull this first one off, as well as our sponsors.

We had a lot of people show up – how many, we don’t really know (we’re estimating it was somewhere between 65-70). We accomplished one of our goals of trying to draw people from all over the Southeast with attendees from Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee. We still aren’t sure how many people were watching online on Sunday morning, but we know enough to be able to field questions from our audience in cyberspace for Mitch’s presentation.

Most of the feedback that we’ve received so far has been quite positive, including the posts that we’ve seen out there from attendees. We’re going to create a list of them on the site and ask for additional feedback as well this week.

The fact that folks are already talking about next year’s WordCamp and about other ways that our local communities can connect with each other in the meantime (including meetups and other events) was great, considering that was one of the reasons that I wanted to see us hold one here in The Magic City to begin with. BTW, we’re already starting to plan next year’s edition, which should fill in some of the holes from this year’s (we think that having Matt come out to speak will be fun – and for those who didn’t know, we’re appreciative for those who reminded him about this year’s event on his blog).

Let us know if you want to be kept informed about what we’re doing and about ways that you can help us make 2009 an even better event. 

There are two things that I noticed are quite important for a WordCamp in the South:

  • Make sure that most of your area college football teams are not playing a morning or early afternoon game that weekend (if they do, realize that the occasional score update may be appreciated).
  • There can never be too much barbecue.

Add anything else you want to, but thank you for making this event possible. I’ll see you on the other side.


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