Sunday, December 13, 2009

WordPress Meetup is TechLiminal

The sky was like wet tissue paper clogging up the sun. Who would go to a Meetup group on a December Sunday afternoon when they could be more holiday-wise engaged?  I wanted to find out.  More than that, I’d already decided that my New Years’ resolution was to learn how to use WordPress so I could redo my html site and turn it into a blog.  


No time like a present.


I located the address of TechLiminal, a space that bills itself as a “technology hotspot and salon.” For me it was a storefront near the old Holmes Book Store in downtown Oakland.  But that’s ancient history…


Arriving a few minutes after 1pm, I was instructed to “go upstairs” where about 10 people already sat in front of a long black table to discuss WordPress Multiuser, software that can run many sites, something like a stylesheet for blogs with a database vengeance. But it doesn’t replace “BuddyPress,” which can be used to add a social networking layer should you want to do that sort of thing.


I could tell by the rapid exchange of acronyms that I was among geeks, while I am a mere wanna be geek.


Every blog has its own dashboard in WordPress, and there’s a master dashboard that can be used to control them all. Each multi user site is identified in the scheme of things by a blog id that can be used as a means to do queries against its content stored in a database.  I also learned that some themes don’t work as well as others based upon how options are stored. To get the full scoop, you can always go to http://www.wordpress.org/extend/themes/search.php. >


What’s a theme? How a site looks.


In looking over my notes, I think that for me the afternoon was filled with more acronym than substance, but that’s largely because I haven’t developed myWordPress chops.  Give me a few months.


We did look at a Multiuser version of a Best Buy site. Below the corporate menu bar and product drop-downs, there was local content with an introduction to the store manager who smiled benignly from what looked like his kitchen. I was beginning to understand what Multiuser can do.  Did I say I was a visual learner?


More buzz words and acronyms. Recommended hosts like AZHosting, MidPhase, Digital Forest, Go Daddy, and Dream Host with brief discussions about their pros and cons. Too slow. Good support. Too expensive.


Based on my recent encounter with Wiki founder Jimmy Wales, I wanted to know about the difference between wikis and a WordPress Multiuser group since they both seemed to do something similar: bring people together to share information.  But I got a good definition. Wikis are a great way for groups to collaboratively edit content in one place to produce a document, whereas a WordPress Multiuser, like most blogs, is a temporal product whose interest can wane with the date. 


With my question about “Where do I start?” one of the organizers, Sallie Goetsch, suggested that I read WordPress for Dummies. I will and I’ll be back…


Lenore Weiss
http://techtabletalk.posterous.com/

Posted via email from techtabletalk's posterous

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