The day started off with my alarm at 6 am. After meeting up with my brosephs Charles and Caleb at Starbucks we set off to the UTD campus for some early registration, an hour early to be precise. But I wanted to make sure we got great seats. Plus I was excited to meet some new people and hear from all the speakers.
Speaking of meeting new people, I had the pleasure of meeting Cali Lewis, from GeekBrief.tv. Cali started geekbrief.tv a few years ago with her husband to pursue her passion in new media. She was by far the best speaker at todays session. Her energy and passion for new media and building a community was very refreshing. Below are some of my notes over her presentation.
7 Rules for Building a Vibrant Community
What is it you want people to walk away from your blog with? Cali said that for geekbrief.tv it's a smile. I think for myself it would have to be a sense of belonging or that you learn something.
Rule #1 - Know thyself... Know they Blog! * This can take a while and plenty of practice to know yourself and what you have to say. I kind of feel like I'm still getting there, but am gaining traction.
Rule #2 - Start compelling conversation! * This is what I'm doing with chatcreative.com by attempting to bridge the gap for the design community, one step closer. This is what people like Aaron Irizarry, David and Marc Perel and others are doing with their blogs and videos.
Rule #3 - Be an asset! * Add value. Start a conversation. This pretty much ties in with the previous rule.
Rule #4 - Make Friends Not Fans! * We don't want to talk "at" our community, but rather talk "with" our community. Take Gary Vaynerchuck as the perfect example. Cali talks about meeting new media stars who treat their community as fans vs. friends. We don't need to separate ourselves as "unique" and "special" but just as ourselves... ordinary people who make mistakes. And when we have a great group of "friends" then they are much more forgiving when we make a mistake.
Listen to your community doesn't mean we have to change what we're doing.
Rule #5 - Show Appreciation! * Cali really hits the nail on the head about being responsive and thankful to everyone who connects with us. Setting up google alerts is a great way you can watch what people are saying about you, and then respond.
Rule #6 - Take Breaks! * This is something that I believe in whole-heartedly. Taking time to step away from the computer and get some fresh air, or whatever, is essential to regain focus. Take today for example, if we didn't have breaks every hour I would've gone crazy. There is only so long I can sit in front of a computer before I feel disconnected and burned out on ideas.
Rule #7 - Always Be Upgrading! * We all have to start somewhere. Don't be afraid to make those first steps. But also, don't get stuck in a rut of doing the same thing over and over, especially if it isn't working. And remember, we can upgrade more than just our equipment. Think about your technique, whether in writing or designing or video blogging, and also the depth of your content. I always like to think there is room for improvement.
Some Last Words
I really enjoyed getting to meet some new people today and hear what they do. Among them were two really talented young men, 13 year-old Jackson Fall of livingdigitally.tv and 16 year-old Clay Griffiths who is working on a new theme called Headway. I was able to get a sneak peek at the theme on Friday night and have to say it's going to be a game changer for all other theme makers.
The first day of WordCamp Dallas 2009 ended on a high note at Sherlocks pub and grill with friends, both new and old, and a few beers. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow and hearing from Matt Mullenweg.