My experience from WordCamp Detroit 2011:
I arrived to the Renaissance Center in Detroit early in the morning (around 8:30am), and took a seat in the Ambassador Lounge. They gave us some swag, t-shirts, pins, etc etc., but of course I left the bag behind when I left the first day of the seminar, so I didn’t end up taking anything home with me.
Things started a bit late, but they started the convention with some flair.
They started off the event with an ice breaker, where we got into groups and talked to people based off our cards that we received. I meta few people, including Jim Raffel and Emily Hay. Right off the bat, it seemed like all types of people, from skill with WordPress to age, were here. As a whole, the group was bloggers, developers, and designers, but I was surprised to see such a wide range of people.
After all of that, the speakers went on, with all of the having interesting and useful things to say. The wi-fi broke down fairly quick, causing some issues for some of the speakers, and making things a bit difficult for myself, since I don’t have my phone set to tether. I figured with a big venue like the Ren Cen, the wi-fi wouldn’t be an issue, but it’s a lesson to make sure you’re prepared just in case.
Favorite speaker would have to be Christopher Ross, who spoke about making a living with WordPress. Maybe a bit biased from one developer to another, but in the notes I took my most practical and useful notes came from that meeting, for sure.
Also, I decided after this convention to go ahead and start using my Twitter account more. It seemed like everyone had a handle! A good number of comments and announcements from WordCamp Detroit came from Twitter, and mostly everyone had a good background in using it.
On the prizes front, there was a section in the first day where we answered a few questions, and each person answering something right would get some kind of WordPress item and maybe a shirt. I ended up answering a question that got me the Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog book and a red t-shirt, which I ended up giving to Rose Tantraphol (it didn’t fit me!)
— Rose Tantraphol (@Rose101) November 12, 2011
— Rose Tantraphol (@Rose101) November 14, 2011
After the first day of seminar, I stopped in Detroit for a bit, and stayed the night in the Marriott, a pretty nice hotel.
I didn’t go to the second half of it since I overslept and didn’t have my alarm go off, but no worries, I basically got what I needed. Looking back, it might have been nice to get myself to the second part, with all of the prizes and everything that were there, but there will always be other WordCamps to go to. Instead, I traveled a bit and explored the city. In particular, we stopped at Lafayette Coney Island, and then traveled on the People Mover for a bit, and ran into the Occupy Detroit movement.
Overall, it was a good experience! I definitely plan on being involved with WordCamp more in the future, and I picked up a lot of useful things that’ll help towards my WordPress developer. If nothing else, it’s a great chance to network with others and make a few friends.