Ever met anyone awesome at a WordPress WordCamp?
If you claim you haven’t, you’ve either never been to a WordCamp or you only go for the recommended URLs and the catered lunch — which at only $40 for two days of education and at minimum two usually pretty darned good meals, you’re missing out but still getting a pretty darned good deal.
WordCamps attract budding and seasoned entrepreneurs, tons of smart people, so many of them fascinating in not always obvious ways, and most of them incredibly kind. Okay, I’ll cop to being a fangirl of geeky smart nice people and lucky for me in 2012 I hit the gushing oil well of them when I heard about this WordCamp thing, had a sneaking suspicion it might be awesome, and took my brother to WordCamp San Francisco.
Over the years I’ve made friends I cherish day to day on online and can’t wait to see at my next Camp, and I’ve watched the seeds of things discussed at one Camp get planted, grow, blossom and become tools, organizations, job positions, and missions that are discussed at subsequent Camps as fixtures of this sphere.
So you can bet networking is part and parcel of a WordCamp, and if you’re not findable after a Camp, you’ll never know what may have come your way.
Ever tried to find someone awesome you’d met at a WordCamp?
…but you went to the Camp’s attendee page and you couldn’t remember their name but you couldn’t find anyone there who looked like them either…
Not being able to find someone there would likely be for one of three reasons…
* the person’s picture, their avatar (on WordCamp sites populated by something called a Gravatar), isn’t populated, or
* the person is using a picture of something other than their face, or
* the person is a guest of an attendee who hadn’t updated the information for their guest’s ticket
The Camp’s Attendee page is the ideal place…
* to appear (along with your Twitter handle) so that someone who thinks you’re awesome can find you if they didn’t happen to catch your name (if you have a Gravatar registered)
* to review who will be at an upcoming WordCamp you’re attending so you can plan on who you’ll want to meet that you’ve wanted to meet for a long time
* to review who will be at an upcoming WordCamp you’re attending so you can remind yourself of their name before you run smack into that awesome person in the restroom (I’m one of those bad-with-names-people; sometimes in the middle of an event with lots of people I’ll forget the name of someone I’ve literally been talking to online the previous week that I actually adore; it happens; thank goodness for the Attendee page)
* to review who’s already registered to be at an upcoming WordCamp so you can decide whether you want to (or really don’t want to) attend that particular Camp (never done that? what, it’s not a thing?)
* to in one place find all the people from any Camp you’d like to follow on Twitter
Ever marveled at how many people on an Attendee page haven’t registered their Gravatar?
Me too!!! And I think it’s because enough of us who know what a Gravatar is haven’t helped to inform enough of our fellow Camp-goers. Because wouldn’t all of them register their Gravatar before Camp if they knew what what they’re missing out on? Marketing! Job offers! Friendship!
So let’s help them out. Mention it to someone when you see their Gravatar isn’t populated. Use this post as a checklist of Gravatar benefits, or just tease them mercilessly until they comply–whatever your personal communication brand. Of course maybe the real problem is…
So WTF (that’s “what-the-flickr”) is this Gravatar?
A Gravatar is the avatar often used to portray you on WordPress websites you’ve registered with, via the email address you used to register.
And, from Gravatar.com:
“An ‘avatar’ is an image that represents you online—a little picture that appears next to your name when you interact with websites.
A Gravatar is a Globally Recognized Avatar. You upload it and create your profile just once, and then when you participate in any Gravatar-enabled site, your Gravatar image will automatically follow you there.
Sounds pretty convenient, no?
Is there anything I should know before going to Gravatar.com to register my photo?
Why yes there is. To create your Gravatar, you are creating a WordPress.com account. You might say…
“But I don’t need a WordPress.com account. I already have a blog site.”
However, you cannot have a Gravatar without registering for this WordPress.com account.
So, I hope I’ve sufficiently convinced you of the importance of having a Gravatar, and you don’t get scared away by thinking registering for a Gravatar means you’ll have set up an empty website out there registered to you (however again, if you’re starting out and ready to blog in a super-supported fashion, totally use this opportunity to get your blog started with WordPress.com).
But if you don’t want to set up a new blog via “.com”, just follow the instructions in this particular link, and you’ll be fine. These are by-the-way awesome step-by-step graphic instructions now available on Gravatar.com since the last time I wrote up pictorial documentation on this topic for a team (kudos on that, Automattic)…
Here is a Do-Not-Miss piece of information from the instructions…
You may miss this if you speed through the instructions or are a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person and don’t even read them:
The email confirming your email address will come from WordPress.com, not “Gravatar”. Don’t panic!
Here is another Do-Not-Miss piece of information about the Gravatar…
You do not need multiple WordPress.com accounts if you want to register a photo or photos with multiple email addresses.
You only need to create one WordPress.com account, where you will have a (changeable) primary email address (and its corresponding photo), and as many other photo-connected email addresses as you need. Don’t do what I did years ago and get bogged down with too many .com accounts.
My last piece of Gravatar advice, because I’m about to run out of WordCamp Atlanta Attendee Page graphic here (well, at some point; Go WCATL!)…
I’ve got Gravatars registered for email accounts I no longer use, like from jobs I used to have. I swear they’re not just affectionate mementos.
For all those sites such (as WordCamp sites) on which I’d been registered while each of those emails had been my primary email, I want my Gravatar to appear in perpetuity.
It’s pretty cool to go back to a WordCamp site from years ago, check out their Attendees page, and realize…
* you’ve actually known a certain someone for that long, or
* you missed out on meeting that awesome person your BFFs with now, but probably ran into way back when (maybe because you didn’t have your Gravatar populated back then)
* you have a way to follow up on a conversation that’s been an earworm for years, because that person had had a Gravatar registered at the time (featuring their face) and you found them!
In summary, Networking + Gravatar = Awesome
Be smart and be kind — find and be found. Cheers!
Having photographed hundreds of people speaking to groups, crowds, convention halls over the years, I’ve got some tips for speakers who want pictures taken of them to turn out great if there’s a photographer worth their salt in the area.
This talk is specifically aimed at WordPress WordCamp session speakers, but the tips remain universal for many types of public speaking and the public impressions given when in networking environments.