WordPress, Movements, and the PressED Twitter Conference

I share Lorna’s sentiment this morning, PressEd Twitter Conference was an absolute blast, and by all accounts a refreshing and welcome change to how we do both conferences and Twitter. I won’t lie, I was wondering if and how Pat Lockley and Natalie Lafferty would pull the whole thing off,  but the morning after I’m blown away by how right they were and how good it was. It was a 12 hour tour de force of showcasing the use of WordPress in higher ed, and it worked. I was able to get 15 minute blasts of ideas, integrations, and possibilities from folks I’ve know and respected for years as well as from folks I just learned about yesterday. I will go back through some of the sessions and try and blog about a few of them, but for now let me just get my closing a.k.a “Graveyard Shift,” session up on the blog for safe keeping 🙂

A bit about my thinking before that though. I did the talk all day while following the tweet stream. I wanted to prepare something well in advance, but I kept on coming up against two issues: 1) I’ve never done a talk like this, and 2) I wanted to avoid getting too serious or caught in the weeds given this was going to be on Twitter. The last point is relevant because I personally hate long, thoughtful threads on Twitter. They both bore and annoy me. What’s more, Twitter has gone from 0-600000000000 in the more than ten years I have used it, early on it was accused of being the most useless and solipsistic of online activities and now folks consider it a professional and political necessity. The latter two annoy me much more than the former, I liked Twitter much more when it felt communal, irreverent, and quotidian. After the last several years of constantly being barraged with talk of “fake news,” long think-piece inspired threads, and some serious self-righteousness, I’ve lost my interest. I can’t quit it, but I feed the habit less and less.

So, as I was thinking about how to keep my 20 or so tweets true to my favorite Twitter,  I knew they would have to be silly, personal, irreverent and full of GIFs. As for content, if I made one simple point, that was more than enough—this is Twitter after all. Anything longer or more in-depth would be fodder for the blog, which may not fare much better 🙂 So, I started with a few jokes, talked about WordPress as a movement, attacked the VLE/LMS—with a dig at the NGDLE, and finished up with my simple point: given the current shitstorm around privacy and data, WordPress might be one easy way to reclaim a bit of both teaching and e-learning spaces, but also your personal presence online—and maybe make the web a bit greener. That’s it.

The bit about privacy and data was based on this post, but I wanted to remain relatively light and just have some fun—not sure it worked, but I was totally fired up by the whole day and the process of creating the 20 tweets was LOL-fest. As I mentioned earlier, I worked on the presentation throughout the conference (I set aside most of the day), and I added the text of my tweets and the accompanying GIFs or images to a Google Doc. I then went through and worked on the language and jokes, and then once I had everything done by about 5 PM my time, I scheduled them all in Tweetdeck to be a minute apart from 11:05 Pm to 11:25 PM Italian time. I have to admit it was the cleanest presentation I ever gave. Text was proof-read, “slides” finished and programmed, and no worries of me going over time. In that regard, the execution of this talk was totally novel and very cool. I did want to do a poll about WordPress and movies, but given you cannot schedule polls in Tweetdeck I abandoned the idea given I did not want to mess things up. All in all, it was the most fun I have had on Twitter since the hey day of ds106, and it reminded me how good that platform can be.

One last thing about the conference, it brought me back to 2007 or 2008 when this blog was almost all WordPress all the time, a moment wherein we felt that we really could break through with WordPress in education. And, one could argue, we did. WordPress is pretty ubiquitous around higher ed, but rather than it being a force for change—it often feels more like “time to make the web donuts.” The conversation around empowering folks to build their own sites and reclaim their domain is often met with the reactionary “It’s too hard,” or treated like just another enterprise technology. For me, that has never been what WordPress was, it was always the power to understand the web and build something for and on it. 

Ok, but enough of that, now for the twenty tweets from yesterday’s PressEd talk, enjoy?

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4 Responses to WordPress, Movements, and the PressED Twitter Conference

  1. Alan Levine says:

    Nobody tweets a keynote like the Bava, NOBODY! The Reverend was shaking the pulpit.

    And bonus points for a Roseanne Roseannadanna gif; I was just searching to make sure I could spell her name right, and magically landed on the video the GIF was made from
    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/weekend-update-roseanne-roseannadanna-on-smoking/3506794?snl=1

    And *that* kind of serendipity, in any size, is what makes the open web more interesting than learning analytics, LMSes, personalization and …. the yawn-fest ed-tech has become.

    • Reverend says:

      The keynote reminded me we were not so much wrong as we were assholes, Walter 🙂 I still love WordPress, and if folks are serious about their bellyaching about social media, a return to the blogs would be more then welcome, I never left the neighborhood, and maybe a blog gentrification could be good for my domain value 🙂

  2. Grant says:

    That “adjust the tracking” bit referencing Downes is GoldStar.

    • Reverend says:

      I like that one too, but for me the “Smell of Napalm on Twitter” and “someday this web’s gonna end” Tweet was the high point. Like I never tire of WP, I never tire of MOOC hating either 🙂

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