WordCamp Fayetteville Speakers 2017: Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith is the owner of Jamie’s Notebook, a Northwest Arkansas copyrighting service, and a Certified Personal Leadership Effectiveness Advisor, which sounds pretty impressive. Jamie’s pretty impressive in person, too, so make a point of meeting her at WordCamp.

Her background is in journalism, and she continues to write for various publications as well as for area businesses and nonprofits.

Jamie is sharing “Using WordPress to develop effective, quality writing” at WordCamp this year. She has been a popular speaker at WordCamp Fayetteville and WordCamp Kansas City over the past several years. Get to know her at her personal blog, too.

Do You Belong in WordPress 101?

WordPress 101 is a feature of WordCamp Fayetteville. It’s one of the most popular tracks, and covers all the basics. It’s a great place to start if you are not familiar with WordPress, and especially if you plan to use WordPress.com (free hosting) instead of a self-hosted website.

But do you really belong in WordPress 101? Here are some questions to help you decide:

  • Do you have computer skills? If you know HTML and CSS or you’re expert with some other content management systems, you may not really be a beginner. On the other hand, if you know Facebook and MS Office really well, you could still be a WordPress beginner.
  • How long have you been using WordPress? If you’ve been in the beginner track for a few years, you should probably branch out to other sessions. Most sessions don’t assume a lot of tech knowledge. Those that do, say so in their descriptions.
  • Have you missed some things? If you’ve been using WordPress for quite a while, you might have reached the Sojourner phase — the point where you’re good at a few things, but there are a lot of things you haven’t tried yet. People can get stuck at this point, and a beginner level session can help move you on to the next stage.
  • Does someone else do tech stuff for you? If you’re the website owner, not the hands-on user, you may find that more advanced concepts are more useful. You can end up with useful things to ask your web team to do, rather than things they’re already doing for you.

Remember, you can go from one track to another. In fact, if you find yourself in a session that’s over your head or just not relevant to your needs, you can go from one session to another. Feel free to start in the 101 room and venture out when you feel ready.


Should I Bring My Laptop to WordCamp?

As you can see in the photo above, the venue for WordCamp Fayetteville is very laptop-friendly. There’s space, there are electric outlets, and wifi access is easy.

Lots of people bring their laptops. Here are some questions that might help you decide whether you should bring yours:

  • Are your laptop tools the easiest way for you to take notes?
  • Are you planning on live-tweeting enough that the extra speed will be helpful?
  • Will your laptop’s presence encourage you to work or play video games when you could be learning or networking?
  • Will you get sick of carrying it around?
  • Are you hoping to get some help with your website? Maybe help that will require you to log in quickly and show someone the admin area?

Even if you bring your laptop, think about also having a paper and writing utensil handy. Recent research suggests that the brain-to-hand connection forged by taking notes on paper helps you remember better.

What else should you bring to WordCamp?

  • Water. There will be water available, but you’ll be glad you have a refillable bottle.
  • A jacket. Outdoor temperatures will be hot, but indoor temperatures can be unpredictable on the U of A campus.
  • Business cards. There are situations in which you won’t be able to connect via phone but where you could still hand someone a card.
  • Your phone. You’ll want to tweet, take pictures, and swap email addresses.
  • A positive attitude. You might end up in a session that’s not right for you (you can switch to another session if that happens, by the way). You might disagree with somebody. Maybe life isn’t sweet for you on this particular day. But WordCamp is always fun and informative, so come with the intention of getting the most out of the weekend.

Oh, and be sure to register.

Press release: WordCamp Fayetteville entering its 8th year

We sent this press release to local and state media Thursday afternoon. Please help spread the word! 

For more information:
Monica Foster
Organizer, WordCamp Fayetteville 2017
Ben Pollock
WordCamp Fayetteville Publicity Chair

For Immediate Release
June 29, 2017

WordCamp Fayetteville Set for Late July

Quick Look: WordCamp Fayetteville will be July 22 at the University of Arkansas, with opportunities the Friday before and Sunday after for collaboration and networking. The day-long workshop is designed to help people at all levels of knowledge build low-cost websites for themselves, nonprofits and businesses using the content management system WordPress. Admission is $25 and includes a light breakfast, snacks and box lunch, Saturday evening after-party then informal tutoring Sunday morning. Registering in advance is recommended: Tickets and secure payment are at 2017.fayetteville.wordcamp.org.

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Want to gain skills in website building, whether you’re an absolute beginner or a coding geek seeking the latest? The eighth-annual WordCamp Fayetteville will be July 22, with workshops throughout that Saturday at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development on the University of Arkansas campus. Friday evening, Saturday evening and Sunday morning will feature networking and tutoring events held elsewhere in Fayetteville.

The key conference day is Saturday, July 22, at the Reynolds Center, in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Tickets are $25, which is a reduction from previous years. Students can receive a $5 discount on the website and they will be required to show their student ID upon check-in on Saturday. The conference fills quickly most years and T-shirt availability diminishes for those who register last minute so early registration is strongly encouraged at the event website, 2017.fayetteville.wordcamp.org.

The low-cost ticket provides benefits throughout the weekend including:

  • An informal Friday evening gathering, details to be announced
  • A full day of sessions on Saturday
  • Continental breakfast Saturday morning
  • Box lunch Saturday
  • After-party at the Chancellor Hotel on Saturday evening
  • Tutoring and work session Sunday morning at the offices of Community Venture Foundation and Startup Junkie Consulting
  • A T-shirt for early registrants.

This year’s WordCamp Fayetteville includes four tracks with sessions that focus on beginners, small business needs, digital designers and code developers. All sessions focus on using WordPress, the popular free and open-source content management system.

Session topics for this year’s WordCamp Fayetteville include “Promote and Grow with Social Media,” “Graphic Design Tips and Tricks,” “Strong Imagery,” and “How to Generate New Blog Ideas and Keep Track of Them.” Some programs offer unexpected but sensible advice, including “Stop Wasting Time, Stop Blogging.” In “Website as Virtual Assistant,” three WordPress tools help business owners respond to email, schedule meetings and process payments.

The keynote speaker for WordCamp Fayetteville will be Shane Purnell, founder of Platform Giant. He will challenge participants to answer this question, “When I Leave WordCamp 2017, What Did I Learn, Who Did I Meet, How Will I Be Different?”

A number of regular session presenters are regional experts in their given fields. This year’s Arkansas-based experts include Haley Allgood, David Bernstein, Rebecca Haden, Eric Huber, Rachel Korpella, Ben Pollock, Brandee Segraves, Micah Sparrow, Jamie Smith and Katharine Trauger.

Specialists coming in from around the country include developer Wolf Bishop, Aaron D. Campbell of WordPress, Josepha Haden Chomphosy of WordPress parent Automattic, web designer Alisha McFarland, developer Dave Navarro Jr., Konstantin Obenland of Automattic, search engine strategist Travis Pflanz, Danny Santoro with WooCommerce and developer George Spake.

Longtime area web designer Monica Foster is the lead organizer for WordCamp Fayetteville.

About WordCamp

WordCamps are locally run conferences held in many cities across the world year-round to teach and celebrate the WordPress platform and related community. Fayetteville’s is the only one in Arkansas. All are supported by the nonprofit WordPress Foundation as well as by area and national sponsors.

WordCamps are designed for new and experienced users of WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system. Users gather to learn about WordPress, which powers more than 75 million websites. WordCamps are designed for all levels of users from beginners to developers. WordCamp organizers and presenters are volunteers.


Speakers for WordCamp Fayetteville 2017: Micah Sparrow

Micah Sparrow is a teacher and blogger, and WordCamp Fayetteville is her first WordCamp speaking experience. We love to hear from new voices, and Micah is a special voice. She writes at Homemade Mostly, a food blog promising “Home Made Taste in Drive Through Time.”

Micah’s blog is mostly recipes, but she also has a special page introducing “The Ingredients Challenge” — what to do if you have ramen and strawberries on hand, or half a head of cabbage. You can actually fill out a form with your challenging ingredients  and Micah will research and create a recipe for you.

This creative problem-solving approach seems just right for Micah’s topic: “How to Generate New Blog Ideas and Keep Track of Them Using WordPress“. Beginning bloggers, get this one on your calendar!

Speakers for WordCamp Fayetteville 2017: Ben Pollock

Ben Pollock has been organizing the WordPress 101 track at WordCamp Fayetteville for… well, for as long as we’ve had a WordCamp 101 track. Each year, Ben shepherds new users through the .com vs. .org maze, teaches how to install the software and choose a theme, and provides encouragement to bloggers and business people alike.

Ben is a journalist, a Digital Specialist at the University of Arkansas, and a longtime blogger as well.

Bring your newbie questions to Ben at WordCamp Fayetteville 2017!

WordCamp: The Celebration of the WordPress Community

WordCamp, someone said at WordCamp Europe, is the celebration of the WordPress community. That comment, and a lot of other conversations I had with WordPressers, Automaticians, and WordPress contributors, made me think about our local WordPress community here in Northwest Arkansas.

When people reach out for help at our Facebook page, they can expect a quick response, with lots of encouragement and helpful suggestions. When we meet up for a Drink and Think or a social evening at a local coffee shop, we can always count on a welcoming group. We’ve done some fun projects together, in various permutations of agencies and individuals.

You can hear abut life-changing experiences at Fayetteville’s WordCamps.

But we have trouble keeping those meetups going. We don’t all turn out for WordCamp. We like each other, but we don’t always maintain the real-world connections we make.

I’d like to see WordCamp 2017 be the start of a stronger local WordPress community. Would you?

Is there someone out there reading this who would like to help organize Meet Ups for our meetup group on a regular basis? Could we take some of our networking time during WordCamp Fayetteville 2017 to find out what kinds of events would be good for our community in the year coming up? Do you know a WordPress user who would like to get to know other WordPress users?

Get your ticket, and maybe get a ticket for a friend, too.

Why Are So Many Automatticians Coming to WordCamp Fayetteville?

This question came up here in Paris as we’re getting ready for WordCamp Europe. Konstantin had a question about the schedule, and I mentioned that we had quite a few speakers from WordPress this year.

“How many?” he asked. We were enjoying lunch by the canal, me and some Automatticians.

“Five,” I said.

Everyone turned to stare. Five official WordPressers at one little WordCamp in Arkansas?

“Well, a few came last year and they had a good time,” I explained. “They told their friends. We also have community organizers from several different towns coming this year.”

The staring continued. WordPress Europe, sure. WordPress USA, naturally. But how could we get so much firepower in a town nobody had even heard of?

I had the explanation. “We’re the friendliest WordCamp in the world,” I assured them. Modestly.

Word is spreading.

Get your tickets today and find out why our little local WordCamp draws WordPress leaders.