The 2011 Social Media Camp in Victoria BC was a huge success. Two days of intense meetings, presentations, networking and most importantly fun. More on the overall experience, and especially the Social Media and Politics panel in a future post.
I had the pleasure of moderating John Overall’s WordPress 101 session in which he expertly and concisely covered the essentials for setting up a WordPress website. His presentation was impressively useful to one who uses WordPress for personal and client websites, and often teaches the basics – and highlights one of the many real benefits of the #SMCV11 conference: Social Media, and the platforms we use to connect, is continually changing. We all need refresher courses.
John pointed out that the default anit-spam plugin for WordPress – Akismet – the one that comes built in with every WP installation does have its limitations. A more useful version for medium to high end users is Antispam Bee. While Akismet certainly does the job, its higher end features do cost and frankly some of the more interesting abilities available in Antispam Bee, Akismet has not even considered, such as the ability to block comments based on language.
This WordPress plugin did not come from John’s presentation but rather in a conversation with other WP users at the conference. Despite some contention on WordPress usability and its direction, the main point of agreement was the best blog posts and WP pages used a mixture of rich media – video, photos, podcasts, animation – all which require some form of embed code to activate right within the page (rather than have the viewer click a link to a new, outside page). In older versions of WP that required some knowledge of html/php and /or copying/pasting an available embed code from sources such as Youtube. The latest builds of WP have incorporated single link embeds, Youtube being the prime example – where you simply type in the url to the video and the WP code does all the work of formatting the video into your post. No need for extra html…
Beyond Youtube and a few other sources that WP base code currently supports, there are many other sources that we use regularly where a simple link making the embed build would be useful. Mashable has an article about this recent tool – Embedly, which link embeds over 200 services from photo streams to Tumblr.
Where this becomes extremely useful is updating your WordPress enabled website from a mobile smart phone, something I’ve been experimenting with recently. At events or remote locations it is easy to take video and photos using your iPhone, and then using available plugins for iMovie to format. There is also an very useful WordPress App for iPhone which allows for direct blogging – being able to embed rich media with a simple link the source is an added plus.
An Example – the Social Media Camp on A-Channel (one simple link from Youtube)