Having some fun creating a new, sample blog post.
Having some fun creating a new, sample blog post.
So last week there was a discussion on Twitter regarding speaker’s submitting slides for review before that speaker gives a presentation at the WordCamp. I just wanted to touch on this and give my thoughts and feedback, and what WordCamp Miami’s past policies have been.
Why would a WordCamp Organizer want to review presenter slides before the event? I can think of two reasons: (1) To prevent conflicts related your camp’s code of conduct (if you don’t have one, then get one) and (2) to ensure the speaker is obidiing with the specific speaker guidelines you sent to them – primarily, at least in my mind, making sure that they aren’t overly self-promoting themselves. Notice how #1 primarily reflects on the camp (and it’s organizers) while #2 is a reflection on the speaker first (which, depending on the issue also has the possibly of reflecting on the camp organizers rightly so or not).
It’s important to note that the “review slide” policy is a suggestion, not a requirement or standard throughout WordCamps. Some WordCamps don’t do it, others do.
First, don’t confuse approval with trust.
Secondly, don’t confuse looking at slides as a lack of trust (or anything personal).
Thirdly: consider new speakers. New speakers (either new to that particular WordCamp or new to conferences in general) should be the first slides to be reviewed. In the case of WordCamp Miami, we had new speakers…and in addition to looking at their material, they spoke at local meetups – so we could see them up close, offer suggestions, etc. I don’t think experienced speakers would have a problem knowing there’s a general policy for organizers glancing at slides… especially when that policy is really for the new speakers. Those organizing the WordCamps might not know veteran speakers from new ones, and I’m sure most veteran speakers realize.
As an organizer, I can tell you that I’ve almost never had a problem with speakers turning in slides when requested. As a speaker, I can be honest and say meeting an organizer’s deadline to turn in slides sometimes isn’t easy. Speakers are busy with their full time jobs (not to mention that they are rushing to travel to your WordCamp, which might be out of town) and sometimes slides can wait until the last minute. I’ve seen that happen often enough to take note of it – not to mention every once in a while i’ve seen a “just got my slides done” tweets on Twitter. Even so, I think it would be more professional for speakers to prepare the majority of your slides in advance… NOT right before the event. While some speakers are more natural than others, some need that extra time and preperation to deliver a smooth presentation. Don’t be that person waking up early on WordCamp day to finish your presentation, unless it’s tweaking.
Organizers should decide before an official call to speakers what the guidelines are and communicate these promptly. If you want to have a “we would like to take a peak at your slides” policy, then plainly announce it on your site and/or on the speaker submit forms. If you want, give a brief reasoning behind the policy. Honestly, I don’t think i’ve seen a single slide yet in Miami that has been conflict with our codes of conduct (but we have had to adjust promotion and have caught a few typos and incorrect logos) – but checking provided the Miami’s organizers peace of mind.
Hey, that’s cool. For WordCamp Miami, we were ok with this if you were a veteran speaker. Personally? I would need SOMETHING to go on if a “new” speaker wasn’t going by slides for their presentation.
I try to ask speakers for slide links before their presentation so we can tweet them out during or after their talks, and also to post these on the WordCamp sites. It still amazes me how many WordCamps and conferences leave it to the speakers to post links to their slides on Twitter (usually during the conference when not many are paying that close attention). All slide links should be on the conference site for attendees to refer back to later.
This is cool… starting today with WordCamps Buffalo and Albuquerque a plugin called “Taggregator” is being tested (here’s the update on the Community WordPress page). Currently it appears on the homepages of the two WordCamp sites. Nice to see more features added to conference sites like this.
It might be just when i happened to look at these, but it appears “Taggregator” only pulls in Tweets (WPArmchair pulls in photo and video instagrams, tweets w/ media, vines, flickrs, etc.). I’m sure this is an early version, and like many things will get further enhanced and polished down the road. I’ve always thought that conference sites – including WordCamp sites – should be more functional during and after the conference, and i’m glad to see projects like “Taggregator” move in that direction. Again, great to see this.
The “aggregator” concept has been around for years. But I’m happy to say WPArmchair played a part in inspiring this – apparently the positive reaction to WPArmchair’s sites in the past few camps (including San Fran) was the catalyst (at least from what I was told). I am told an official blog post announcing this is on it’s way, probably after initial testing of the new plugin is complete.
So what’s up with WPArmchair then? Of course, any organizer is welcome to their own WPArmchair site (a few non-WordCamp organizers have approached me already). But it was always planned to be a small side project which would be the initial step of a larger project… something that might see the light of day early next year (maybe around the next WordCamp Miami?). I’m planning on putting the current themes and plugins of WPArmchair on Github in the coming weeks once i do some code clean-up.
Also, if you like to read about WordCamp organization and the work that goes behind the scenes, you can check out my article on Torque Magazine that was published earlier this week.