WordCamp2007Israel – Part 1

Yesterday’s WordCamp Israel event at Michlelet Afekah in Tel Aviv was the first blogging event in Israel dedicated to a particular blogging platform. As it turned out, according to Lorelle VanFossen, WordPress evangelist and the keynote speaker, WordCamp Israel was effectively also the first international WordCamp. Another first for Israel. Douze points!*

One of the concerns I expressed earlier about yesterday’s event turned out to be justified. No, actually two were. First, that the focus of the event would be blogging as a business tool (maybe not the intention of the organizers, but that’s how it turned out) and the second that Israelis would talk like speed demons because that’s how they speak to other Israelis. On the second point, there’s really no remedy for it other than to make the organizers aware of the fact that a minority attending the event was not entirely fluent in Hebrew. On the first point, I may have come away with a strategy, not necessarily business-related. But admittedly there were a few times during the day I was glad I threw my Rio Carbon mp3 player into my bag for the bus ride there and back.

The morning session was the stronger of the two in terms of audience involvement and interest, as well as the better attended of the two sessions (more on that later). The two discussion panels, the first about blogging as a marketing tool and the second about how non-geeks overcame the challenges of installing and maintaining the standalone version of WordPress and learned to love it, were informative and at times unintentionally entertaining. There were a few moments along the way in the panel discussions when things seemed to lag a little because one panel member or the other wasn’t sure who should speak next or who should respond to a question, but in the end the panel moderator sorted things out and kept the discussion moving along. The morning session also included a presentation on podcasting, which was such a specialized topic that people’s attention flagged. By the time the second panel of the morning session took the platform the day’s program was about an hour behind schedule and people were getting restless for lunch.

More on the afternoon session of WordCamp and Lorelle tomorrow. (To see my most recent report on WordCampIsrael, please click on the link above to my blog’s Front Page.)

*refers to the scoring scale for the Eurovision Song Contest.

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