Reno-Tahoe Wordcamp a Big Success

Or so says the Reynolds School of Journalism. And we wholeheartedly agree. Coming on the heels of the Salt Lake City Wordcamp, we were pleased to be a part of another informative and inspiring gathering of the best and brightest WordPress designers and developers. If you missed it, well, there will most likely be another one soon. Until then, enjoy some of our CEO’s Flickr photos of the event, and read the School’s report in full below.

Reno-Tahoe Wordcamp a Big Success

April 27,2009

Matt Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress and UNR student Colin Loretz, the driving force behind Reno-Tahoe Wordcamp. Photo by David LaPlante.

Matt Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress and UNR student Colin Lorentz, the driving force behind Reno-Tahoe Wordcamp. Photo by David LaPlante.As Matt Mullenweg described how he came to develop the popular software WordPress, some of the 70-plus attendees in Saturday’s Reno-Tahoe Wordcamp twittered Matt’s geocities page, scrolled through his photo blog and checked out his demo sites on Automattic.

Mullenweg, who wrote the original code for WordPress and is still intimately connected with upgrading and expanding the capabilities of the original idea, previewed upcoming products that allow for multiple users and more social networking.

“We create things and we have no idea how people will use them,” he said. “It’s amazing to hear what people are doing with these tools.”

Saturday’s Wordcamp, sponsored by Twelve Horses and the Reynolds School of Journalism, featured a day-long series of speakers on using WordPress, developing a personal brand and understanding social media.

In his keynote address, Mullenweg described the history of WordPress and how much the process of open-source software development influenced his interest and direction.

In another popular session, David LaPlante, CEO of TwelveHorses, described an epiphany his company had as they watched site useage over the past few years. “People care about people,” he said. “Trust is the first thing we need to do business together. It comes with connecting with you as an individual.”

LaPlante emphasized his view that information is getting more personal, transparent and authentic. He noticed that on the sites they build, “about us” pages that feature personal insights about the individuals in the company attract a lot more page views.

RSJ alumna Annie Flanzraich asked LaPlante how to navigate the online emphasis on personal and transparent disclosure among journalists or bosses who don’t understand – or agree with — this kind of personal divulgence.

“The water is moving that way quickly,” LaPlante said. He described a disequilibrium in the marketplace as we move from one set of expectations to another. He pointed out the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is women over 55. “The stronger your brand, the more  you will connect with some and disconnect with others,” LaPlante said.

RSJ Professor Bob Felten organized the school sponsorship of the event and helped host a welcome breakfast for attendees. “It was an amazing day,” Felten said. “We want RSJ to be at the center of this conversation in the community, and Saturday was a great demonstration of why that’s important.”

Couldn’t make it? Many Wordcamp videos have been posted on Copies of the presentations from Saturday’s Wordcamp will be available online in the next few days. Check out for updates.

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