WordCamp Portland, the city’s first conference+unconference around the blogging platform, was happening all day Saturday (where by “all day” I mean “from 8 am to 11:45 pm,” partly thanks to Aaron Hockley’s diligence.) On the first breakout session, Justin Kistner made a presentation on setting up a WordPress backchannel ecosystem for team collaboration and work delegation using a combination of:
- WordPress MU
- BuddyPress, “A WordPress MU Based Social Networking Platform,” and
- bbPress a forum software for WordPress
I tried to take as extensive of a note as I possibly could, per usual. And with no snarky notes or analysis this time.
In other words, Verbatim, baby.
Here we go.
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On helping people with blogs
When I first started two years ago, I just had one blog, which was a lot of fun. Now, I have six personal blogs, three organization blogs, af company blog, and I work with about a dozen friends and family blogs.
- Maintenance: upgrades, plugins, themes, etc.
- Deployment: install, configuration, services, etc. Google Analytics, MyBlogLog, Technorati, etc.
- Training: Skill development, focus, actualization, etc. After you get them up to speed technically (login, etc.) they get overloaded with information.
- Interoperability: Data portability, coordination, etc. I actually need to do delegate blogging assignment with somebody. Interoperability between staffs. OurPDX uses Google/Yahoo Groups or some other coordination space. But I need my blog to work. I didn’t need another system.
- Low maintenance
- Quickly deployable
- Easy to learn and possible to develop a training program in
Bottomline: efficient, integrated system for blogging.
- Easy to learn
- Actively developed
- Enterprise concerns
BuddyPress: WordPress as a social network
These features work:
These features don’t work quite yet:
But that’s okay, because the other working features are enough to create a backchannel. These are the way I use to organize, because people don’t want to learn another interface. So, if I need to send somebody a message, it could be a part of the system.
This, and bbPress, make it possible for me to have a backchannel conversation with folks without the whole world seeing.
I’m also using WordPress as a ticketing sytem. My job is to organize bloggers. Rather than using GoogleGroups or other ticketing systems (which, by the way, are made for programmers and are horrid for everyone else.)
This is how I work. I assign:
- Posts = assignments
- Categories = people I assign it to
- Custom field for tracking status (“open,” “close,” etc.)
WordPress as an ecosystem
This original presentation was built to manage a social relation program. Ultimately what I have is a backchannel. I use this to collaborate with my colleagues. A WordPress Mu installation, powered by BuddyPress and WordPress BB in it. Each one of us has a WordPress Mu installation as a ticketing system. And the client will get a WordPress interface that they will write the posts for.
How I create assignments
I have a Netvibes dashboard that I use for intelligent monitoring. My work process is: see relevant articles. Open each in every tab. Then highlight the “abstract” of the article, click on a bookmarklet and have it automatically be made into a new post.
The reason I use this instead of a platform like Ning is because my documentation and the user experience essentially rest on the same platform. And I know for sure that I can pass data from one blog to another because they’re using the same format. In short: all your knowledge integrated into one experience.
- Using the “Press This” bookmarklet for portability
- Using WordPress MU as an aggregator
One of the first thing that you think about when you create a social network, is to have the ability to see things across the board. I use FeedWordPress. What I can do is create a “rollup” page with that, until BuddyPress has this feature
- Custom, ticketing style theme
- 4 column widget dashboard template
I currently use Netvibes. But it doesn’t have to be Netvibes. WordPress has widgets, right? Why not have everything be integrated in WordPress?
- Screencast help documentation
Instead of “good luck figuring it out manual.” ScreenFlow has a lot more hosepower than I wil ever need, so I just use Jing
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