BlogHer09 Recap from the Geek Lab

I hung around in the Geek Lab at BlogHer quite a bit this year. It was a hit, once again. Many sessions were crammed to the rafters, and the comments from people who attended the sessions were excellent.
at the geek lab

Kudos to Nelly Yusupova who lead 4 sessions in the Geek Lab herself. She did sessions on Beginning HTML, PHP for bloggers, and two others. Nelly is from Webgrrls and is @DigitalWoman on Twitter.

Sarah Dopp did a session on CMS, one on hacking and mashups, and another on development platforms. She also simply hung around all day and gave individual tutoring to people who came by with questions. Sarah rocks. Can’t believe I didn’t get a photo of Sarah.

at the geek lab

Liz Henry talked about CMS tools and gave a session on Unix tricks and the command line. Liz is a great friend, in addition to being one fine rebel of a geek.

Krystyn Heide also did a session on CMS. She’s @SQUAREGIRL on Twitter. In fact, we had CMS sessions from Stephanie Cockerl and Mrs. Flinger, too. We were hot on CMS.

at the geek lab

Shazia Mistry did sessions on CMS tools and social networking for bloggers. Shaz was our Canadian geek of the week.

Skye Talks Accessibility

Skye from All Access Blogging talked about making your blog accessible. Skye either filled in on a session for someone who got sick and had to be taken to the hospital, or Nelly filled in while Skye took the person to the hospital. Maybe someone who was actually there during that session can fill in the gaps in what I know.

Gena talks video

Gena Haskett from Out on the Stoop provided information and tips for the bloggers who want to use video for vlogging, instructional video or business reasons. Here’s some video Denise took of Gena and myself at a noisy party.

Jan Kabili from did a session on optimizing photos for the web in Photoshop that taught me some great tips I didn’t know. Jan and I have been roomies at two BlogHer conferences now—she’s a major Photoshop maven.

There were sessions on Twitter: one from Queen of Spain’s Erin Kotecki Vest and one from Annie at PhD in Parenting. These were very full sessions.

For the beginning bloggers, Denise Tanton did a Blogging Basics session and Roni Noone did a WordPress for beginners session.

Virginia DeBolt
Photo by Carla Duharte-Razura

I did a session on CSS, which I already mentioned on Web Teacher in this post, with a link to the slides. Here I’m standing in the hall outside the entrance to the Geek Lab.

The good thing about the geek lab this year was that it was ongoing throughout the conference. Previously it had been an add-on after the conference proper. There was so much demand for it that it got rolled in with all the other activities.

We had some issues this year with noise because there was too much going on in one room, but this complaint has already found a way into Elisa Camahort Page’s notes for next year. Elisa deserves a big high-five for pulling together such a diversity of topics and presenters for the geek lab. She had help from a committee which included several of the people named above—like me! And, in true BlogHer fashion, BlogHers were allowed to suggest sessions and vote on which sessions they wanted to attend to help tailor the agenda to what BlogHers needed to know this year.

9 thoughts on “BlogHer09 Recap from the Geek Lab”

  1. Thanks so very much Virginia for this helpful summary…simply to know more of what went on during the labs and to get a sense for what folks wanted to learn. Are there videos of these sessions?
    What were some ongoing questions or needs that could be addressed more thoroughly? I am grateful to see such a demand for coding…such a novice am I. There’s something to be said for the comfort level of learning with other newbies. So grateful to hear all were in such supportive hands. 🙂 Sorry to have had to miss this year. Hugs for all you constantly outpour and give.
    .-= Tre ~´s last blog ..3 Simple Ways to Give Ourselves Permission =-.

  2. Annie, yes I was in your session. I thought you did a great job of dealing clearly and logically with the basics of Twitter. It isn’t as easy as it looks to give a clear explanation of something to a beginner and you did it very well.

    Tre, I’m sorry you missed it. Maybe next year? Before the conference Elisa solicited opinions from BlogHers about what they wanted in the geek lab. If you get to go, don’t forget to put in your two cents when the time comes. You are never the only one who needs to learn a particular thing. With 1500 attendees, people are all over the place in their learning curves.

    No video of any sessions, although there were audio recordings of the panels and breakout sessions. Those will be on BlogHer eventually. There were no recordings in the geek lab.

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