Boston

What I Learned At Wordcamp This Summer: Nicole’s Takeaways

2014-boston-wordcamp-logoThere is always something to know… and even though I’ve been working in Wordpress since 2008, I am always blown away not only with the new technology coming out but new ways of using features that I’m already familiar with.

Wordcamp Boston took place at one of MIT’s state of the art buildings and there were about 300 of us on hand to drink coffee and learn what we could from each other. The fact they had 8 sessions (!) in one day I was a little worried about but 45 minutes each was somehow manageable and fun.

We not only attended the after party but also the after-after party where we got to hang out with cool ‘celebrities’ like Sam Hotchkiss, creator of BruteProtect and a rep from Sucuri, a service we’ve used and loved. (A rep from GoDaddy was there too, apparently his sister makes GREAT fondant, and he took the elephant shooting jokes we made about a former GoDaddy exec  in stride!)

Here’s what we learned:

Accessibility is key.
It was fun to meet Jordan Quintal who has a firm that specializes in accessible sites for the disabled. As one of the 1 billion people worldwide who has a disability, Jordan talked about features I just thought were pretty, like mouseover color changes, and how you can test your site’s accessibility level. Bonus is these tools give specific improvements you can make on your own website. You can see his presentation (from a previous conference) here: Jordan’s Presentation about Accessibility (Video)

Us as mad scientists at Wordcamp.Live tweeting is still awesome.
Because of Twitter, not only did we get some of the talking points and ideas of other talks going on at the same time (I literally can’t be in two places at the same time after all!) but it also connected us with some cool people, including Myrna, head of Good Egg Marketing who we hope to collaborate with on some future projects.

Seeing Matt Baya should happen more than once a year.
The fact that the picture with this blog post is the only picture of Kassie and I at this conference is a little sad. And super sad we didn’t get one with Matt. But as usual he blew our minds, this time introducing us to Yik Yack.

My favorite talk of the whole conference was David Hickox’s talk about Designing for Content. Really great overview and actually got me excited about sexy topics like line spacing and h5 tags!

Overall, great job Wordcamp organizers on a smooth conference with a nice range of presenters. Let’s do it again next year!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Wordcamp Boston 2013

wordcamp2013It’s not often I get to see my friend Matt in real life. We work together virtually on almost a daily basis and I consider him one of my best friends…  he just happens to live over six hours away.

So when he told me about Wordcamp and that it was 1) in Boston and pretty close for all of us and 2) that he was going, Alice and I went down to check it out.

There were around 400 people at the conference from all over the place so I didn’t expect to know anyone. Of course I am in line for sandwiches behind a guy I haven’t seen since college who now is working on a cool Wordpress plugin and I run into Tracy who I’ve only seen online yet lives in Maine.

In other words, I actually knew people! I mean, we were in Boston (very closeby) not Istanbul but still, small world.

The biggest takeaway for me? The need for fast websites. My favorite talk of the conference was by Chris Ferdinandi called ‘Wicked Fast Wordpress’ on this very topic.

As we try to make websites more interactive, interesting, and responsive to design, us website designers/developers have invariably slowed down how fast they load. If 70% of people will not wait more than 3 seconds for a website to load before moving on, that’s something we need to pay attention to. (I’ll do a whole blog post on this sometime soon I am sure.)

Year after year, website security is always a concern. No matter what the software, there is no such thing as a 100% safe website. But Sam Hotchkiss’ presentation about security was complete and a favorite of Matt and Alice (I was in another room watching a different presentation… the good news is that link goes to a video where you can watch his talk!)

And finally, there was more talk about responsive design: how to do it well, deal with issues unique to that process. If you want to know a bit more about it, click on this post we have about dealing with mobile users on your website. 

All and all, it was a great weekend where we not only got to learn new things from some very smart people but have lots of bonding time, mainly over food. We’ll be back next year I’m sure but hopefully be getting to see Matt before then.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

How To Handle Tragedy On Social Media

So when something crappy happens, what are we supposed to do online? The same things we do offline actually. Here’s what I’m talking about.

There was a historically huge Bangladesh factory collapse that killed over 1,000 people recently. My friend David posted a link from The Village Voice showing a screenshot of Joe Fresh, the retailer’s homepage, after the body count was posted:

joe_fresh2

OK so this is kind of ridiculous. Should Joe Fresh have done a bit more considering this was their factory? I think so.

Now posting a small condolence message is not quite the same as:

Epicurious-Tweets

So this second instance of a brand handling a tragedy got A LOT more negative feedback on social media then the first one. Probably for a couple reasons:

  • For better or for worse, people seem a lot more sensitive about US-based tragedies. That said, it’s important to mention what is happening overseas in some cases so please mention something even if it seems far away… just know a US-based audience will react to a US-based tragedy more strongly as a general rule.
  • Acknowledge the tragedy if you want, especially if it affects your company.
  • If you go the acknowledge a tragedy route, don’t try to sell to people.
  • You can ignore a tragedy (without any or many negative consequences) if it has nothing to do with your business.
  • If you schedule social media updates ahead and something bad happens, skim your scheduled updates of accidentally offensive content. (Ex: There is a huge fire in your city and you have a post scheduled to go out called ‘Sell like your store is on fire.’ with a link to your latest blog post. Yeah, you might want to change that.)

In other words, you can’t be selling your stuff and be mournful at the same time. Your customers will think it’s kind of weird and creepy. And if you go the ‘we’re a sensitive company’ route, be prepared to wait a respectful amount of time before returning to your regularly scheduled program.

Want to read other opinions on this subject? Check out:

http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Can_companies_ignore_their_way_out_of_social_media_14329.aspx

http://www.enveritasgroup.com/2013/04/26/when-tragedy-strikes-how-does-social-media-respond/

http://holtz.com/blog/crisis-communication/the-conundrum-of-being-a-non-u.s.-company-when-tragedy-strikes-the-u.s/4103/

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.