Results of My Live “Rate My Talk With Emoji” At WPCampus

IMG_4930This past Saturday I made known a web app (built on WordPress and BuddyPress) that would allow someone (either physically at the conference or viewing livestream) to rate me live as I was giving the talk. The user would be able to click any of four emoji any number of times they want: heart, thumbs up, laugh/smile, and clap.

All of these are pretty much POSITIVE emoji, as I wanted to create an app that would allow people to get positive feedback about their talks. Eventually the app (which is tied into will allow speakers to select more emoji that might not be so positive – even 💩.

I even purchased a domain name that might serve as a “shortlink” to these screens for speakers in the future:

As promised, i’m sharing my results of the scoring (note that for the sake of sharing this data I rounded numbers to nearest 5 minute increments – and keep in mind there was only a few testers). My WPCampus talk isn’t online yet, but you can see how my talk started at 11:15am EST and ended at noon. Apparently I was on a role around 11:35AM and at the end multiple people “clapped”.

[visualizer id=”2132″]

So, after my experiment, here’s the question: would you find this tool useful? Would you be willing to help me test and refine this?

(BTW the web app in the future might also hold a simple “ask question” feature and hold links to speaker slides and key links).

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WPCampus Review

I was honored to be part of the inaugural WPCampus event this past weekend. WPCampus is a WordPress event, but not a WordCamp. Similar to a few conferences in the past like Pressnomics (which focuses on business) and LoopConf (which focuses on developers). WPCampus is focused on the higher education sector, and how WordPress can benefit that sector. Speakers (many of them working in the high-education area) share their case studies and stories about how they use WordPress in their colleges, schools, or their own development work.

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The concept was born from Rachael Carden and (yadda yadda yadda) the first conference became a reality this past weekend in Sarasota Florida. Here are my observations.

Familiar, But Different

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The conference had around 150 attendees. It’s been quite some time since I have been to a conference that size. If you plan things well, there are certain advantages to events of that number of people. One being is that you have the chance to get to know or at speak to the majority of that crowd if you so desired.

For WPCampus, there was also the fact that the attendees were all coming from the same group – higher education. But still everyone had a different story and a different reason for them coming to WPCampus (although i’m not personally involved in the education sector, I would imagine that this is because many universities have different IT setups, among other reasons). I certainly met a number of people that I probably wouldn’t have bumped into at a WordCamp.

Behind The Scenes

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 10.16.05 PMAlthough I wasn’t involved in everything, I can tell you as an organizer that there wasn’t really problems that came up at the conference. I got alot of feedback from attendees (once they saw the “organizer” label on my badge) and I’m proud to say that the top comment I heard was that the event was very organized. I’m sure we’ll hear more feedback as the post-event is sent.

If I had to point out things that didn’t go as smoothly, I would say the tech setup for speakers at the venue throw alot of speakers a curveball. I won’t go into specifics – simply some information would have been great to know ahead of time (I had my talk on Day 2, so I time to prepare) but nothing was in WPCampus control. The venue had technical people there and they were a pleasure to work with.

There were also some hicups with the livestream, but nothing really out of the ordinary (WordCamp Miami has had it’s share of livesteam issues and we’ve been doing it for a number of years).

The Venue

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The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus was a good first choice for WPCampus. Our attendance was around 150 but it seemed larger than that with way with the room layouts. There was no wasted space nor was anyone crowded. The size of the rooms and venue was perfect. Helpful staff. The catered food was excellent. This was my first time in Sarasota and I had the chance to dine at a few nice restaurants.


The sponsors deserve a round of applause for supporting a first-time event like this. I got some excellent feedback from some of the sponsors as well. Sucuri, Modern Tribe, CampusPress, Flexi DB, and Pantheon had booths at the event.


Since I was part of the organization team, I didn’t have the chance to go to as many talks as I usually do. The once I did attend, I enjoyed.

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I did get the chance to hear from speakers that I wouldn’t normally get to see at a WordCamp, and I did learn alot about how many educational institutions used WordPress to solve their various problems or to feel a particular need. I was a speaker myself (talked about BuddyPress) and I was happy I got to try out a web app during my talk.

I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again: if you go to WordCamps (and conferences in general) don’t just go to the talks from the people you know or the subjects you are already familar with. Yes, the “hallway track” at WPCampus was wonderful, if not even more intimate than most WordCamps… but especially with niche conferences I highly recommend expanding your knowledge and listening to speakers that you haven’t had the chance to hear before. Expand your world a little.

In conclusion…

I’ve been to alot of “first years” (Pressnomics, LoopConf, a bunch of WordCamps) and WPCampus was one of the smoothest conferences I’ve been to. And yes i’m biased a little but as someone who was on the organization team, I would have seen things that attendees might not have noticed. The first year of a conference is just the warmup to the SECOND year… and I have no doubt that WPCampus will have a long and healthfully life.

If you are involved in higher education, watch for WPCampus in 2017. Even if you aren’t (like many in attendance this year), consider going anyway. You’ll definitely meet new people and expand your understanding of the overall WordPress community.

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Rate My WPCampus Talk – Live!

IMG_4713 Update: My slides for this talk are located here:

Today i’m giving a presentation on BuddyPress and Higher Education at the inaugural WPCampus event in Sarasota, Florida. In addition to seeing me in the flesh, WPCampus has a live stream available today as well.

To make things more interesting (at least for me), I built a web app using WordPress that allows people to “rate” my talk as I give it using emojis. Regardless if you are physically at the event or watching the livestream.

My talk starts at 11:15am EST. Here’s the link to the one-page “app” (which is just an extension of (Yes, I bought the domain name. Never thought I would buy a domain name with an extension like .rocks)

Rating is easy: whenever you want, click on the heart, thumbs up, laughing, or clap emoji. I record these in real time and sometime after my talk i’ll put together a timeline and see what parts of my talk people rated me the most (and how they rated).

If you actually use this app, make sure you refresh the page right before my talk just in case i add any last minute coding tweaks.

As with many things that I do, this was built with WordPress, BuddyPress, and various other plugins (mostly custom written by yours truly).


Read More Lives!

May-08-2016 20-26-26Last December at WordCamp US I mentioned a side project called built with WordPress and BuddyPress. It’s basically a WPArmchair 2.0.

Please feel free to check out the website (remember it’s a beta, but feel free to check it out).

I’ve gotten great feedback for weeks and months after that showing, and so i’ve been quietly making some feature enhancements. At the same time, i’ve been hearing comments from people that make me want to build a solution… for example, i’ve had people I know more than once say “hey – i forgot to submit a proposal to this conference”. That problem is something i think Conferencia can solve.

So, What’s The Deal?

I’m making regular updates to If you are interested, you can register but this site is STILL in beta. I would love some people to reach out to me and volunteer to be active beta testers.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, I do plan on talking more about this on Twitter and on this blog. Official updates I’ll try to keep on

What’s Happened Recently?

The best way to answer that questions is to check the official blog. I’m excited about the new functionality i’m adding as of the time of this writing,

What’s The EndGame?

Honestly, that is still unclear. I would love the site to direct more business (especially BuddyPress related) projects in my direction. At some point I would want the site to generate enough income to pay for the hosting. Right now the hosting is via WPEngine and is about $100 a month. That’s right – I would be happy if i could bring in $100 or so a month so the site would pay for itself (and maybe a nice dinner for my family).

Would you be willing to spend $2 or $3 a month for a service that alerts you (via web, email, slack, or even mobile alerts) when conferences you choose to follow open up tickets, speaker calls, etc.? If so, please leave me a note (comment here or privately reach out to me, either via contact form or Twitter).

You can also follow the official Conferencia Twitter account! Oh boy! 🙂

I would love to see what about this is a good or even a bad idea. I’m surrounded by smart people – time to take advantage! 🙂

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