Tag Archives: wordupwhitehall

Should we have another WordUp Whitehall?

Over the last couple of months, numerous people have got in touch to ask if there’s going to be another WordUp Whitehall this year. And although I didn’t initially think it was a good idea, I think I’ve been persuaded.

For the past two years, I’ve organised WordUp Whitehall as a kind of ‘WordCamp’ for civil servants who are already using WordPress (or are seriously considering it), and the developers/agencies they’re working with. It’s mostly a series of ‘show and tell’ sessions, aimed at sharing experiences, stimulating ideas and spreading good practice. I also try to persuade a special guest or two to come along.

Recognising that it’s a workday event, and that departments have been generous enough to offer conference facilities at no charge, we’ve enforced fairly strict rules of engagement. UK central government only, with limited numbers from each department. Outsiders by invitation only. Guaranteed confidentiality where requested. And no sales pitches. They’ve been beautifully observed, for which I’ve been most grateful.

Both previous years, we’ve had about 50 places… and both times, we’ve ‘sold out’ within 24 hours. Various senior and influential people have gone on to explicitly credit the events with helping them rethink or rewrite their digital strategies, leading in many cases to major new projects being done on WordPress. (It’s also been, ahem, flattering to see other countries and CMS communities subsequently starting to run very similar events.)

But I wasn’t sure about doing it again this year. Previously, we’ve had a handful of obvious flagship projects for people to come along and present: Health, Transport, No10, GCN, etc. But the past year or more has been dominated by the development of GOVUK, and its imminent consumption of all departmental sites. We simply haven’t had any ‘big bang’ WordPress launches post-GDS. And that made me wonder if we had enough to talk about.

I’ve subsequently been persuaded that there’s definitely an appetite for another event… but perhaps a slightly different one.

We’ve already been offered a much larger venue than in previous years: so it’s probably the perfect time to extend the event beyond Whitehall – local government, arms-length bodies, perhaps friends overseas.

And if we’re short of ‘flagship’ projects to present, maybe it’s time for a slightly different agenda. Perhaps a greater number of shorter presentations, focusing on specific (little) things we’ve all done. I’m not sure the beautiful chaos of a multi-track, self-organising BarCamp / GovCamp style event is quite right, but perhaps it does.

Some things won’t change, though. It’ll still be free to attend. It’ll still take place in mid to late Autumn. Most of the ‘rules of engagement’ will still apply. And yes, there will be donuts.

So… it’s over to you lot.

I’d love to hear what you, the potential attendees, think.

  • What level of interest is there beyond Whitehall?
  • Are there any ‘flagship’ projects I’ve missed somehow? Perhaps beyond Whitehall?
  • Does everyone have a ‘little thing’ they could present?
  • Do we prefer structured or chaotic?

Please leave a comment below, and let’s see where the consensus lies.

When WordPress gets boring, things get interesting

[Thanks to @JonAkwue for suggesting a vastly improved headline for this piece…]

The big moment of this year’s Word Up Whitehall came in the second presentation of the day: Gavin Dispain from the Department for Transport, telling the story of their hasty migration to WordPress.

It was already clear that we were in very different territory from last year’s inaugural event: Stephen and Francis from Health had opened with a presentation featuring the kind of technical architecture diagrams you just don’t see at WordCamps. We weren’t just talking about the potential for government departments to use WordPress, or sharing examples of little microsites they’d built: no, this was real corporate-sized heavy-duty stuff. And there, at the heart of it, increasingly so in fact, was WordPress.

Then came Gavin, and that slide. He didn’t really make a big deal of it. I think we all knew about the potential to generate massive savings. But there it was, in black and white: hundreds of thousands of real pounds, not notional pounds, saved at a stroke. With further savings to come, as more arms-length agencies come on-board. (Defra are a bit further down that track already, as David Pearson related later in the day.)

Technical architecture diagrams. PowerPoint slides with incomprehensibly large numbers on them. Weren’t these precisely the things which drove me out of ‘proper’ IT, and into the world of WordPress? What the hell were these doing at a WordPress event? For a moment I could feel myself switching off, as I’d done in countless meetings over the years.

And that’s when it all suddenly fell into place.

I’d reacted against such things in the past, because they were visions of the future – and for the most part, futures that never quite arrived. But something was different here. People weren’t talking about how they could or would do it. They were demonstrating how they had done it. Health had built that structure, and it was working. Transport had left behind one set of contracts costing £X, and were now in a new arrangement costing £Y.

To be frank, systems admin and accountancy can be a bit boring. But it’s a mark of the success of the WordPress mission1, and the potential it has unlocked, that we’re now into that business-as-usual territory. When you’re getting stuck into the ‘boring’ bits, that’s when change is really happening.

And it turns out, I don’t actually hate technical architecture diagrams and budget forecasts after all.

1 When I first drafted this, I wasn’t sure about using the word ‘mission’. But then, by sheer coincidence, Seth Godin posts a few lines on his blog, and I feel a whole lot better about it.

Word Up Whitehall II: another 24 hour sellout

Just as with last year’s inaugural event, all the available places at Word Up Whitehall II were snapped up within 24 hours.

We’ll have representatives from a dozen government departments (depending on how you count the various No10/Cabinet Office connections): and once again, my thanks to everyone for obeying the informal ‘maximum three per department’ rule.

I do still have a couple of places held back, just in case anyone has missed out. But you will have to approach me directly, and make a case for why you need one of them.

Word Up Whitehall II: bookings now [SOLD OUT]

Last week, I announced plans to host a second Word Up Whitehall event, for civil servants and their most friendly external developers to spend a day talking about WordPress. The event will take place on Monday 7 November, and will be hosted by the good folks at the Department of Health.

Last year, all the spaces were claimed within 24 hours, which I have to confess, came as quite a shock. So this year, we gave you a week’s notice, to decide who to send along. That week has now passed… so it’s time to sign up.

Remember, we ask departments to send along a maximum of 3 people: it’s not a huge space, and we’d like as many departments as possible to be represented.

 

Announcing Word Up Whitehall II

Pic: Julia Chandler

This time last year, we organised an event called Word Up Whitehall: a day-long seminar for people working in UK central government, who were either already using WordPress or seriously considering doing so. An opportunity to take time out, listen to people’s experiences, share some ideas, and hopefully come away inspired – or certainly, better informed.

I managed to persuade a bunch of people to stand up at the front, and share their ideas and experiences: some from inside government, but also some from the private sector, under strict instructions not to promote any commercial interests. (Well, not directly anyway.) BIS very kindly provided a venue, and numerous people generously chipped in a few quid to cover the few costs. Large quantities of donuts were ordered.

When I announced the event, the reaction was startling, and instant. All the places were snapped up within 24 hours. A waiting list began to form. People started sending me begging emails.

As for the day itself – yeah, it seemed to go pretty well, judging by the day’s tweets anyway. It was recently described by one attendee as ‘the most useful and, dare I say it, exciting (!) conference I’ve attended’. It provided ‘a moment of epiphany’ for one Whitehall department in particular, leading to them adopting WordPress as their principal online publishing platform. And even though I was worried we’d over-ordered on donuts, they all disappeared.

So – who’s up for doing it all again?

WordPress itself has moved on considerably in the last year; and departments’ use of it is becoming deeper and more sophisticated. Defra, Health and Transport are all now running their main departmental web presences on WordPress, using multisite arrangements of varying complexity. The Cabinet Office team have taken to WordPress with some gusto, with projects including the Red Tape Challenge and a reskin of the Number10 site. And in the next few weeks, we’ll be seeing another of the larger departments adopting WordPress in a big way.

But of course, the biggest news in the last twelve months has been Alphagov and the adoption of the ‘single domain’ strategy, including a ‘shared corporate publishing platform aimed at replacing most of the activity currently hosted on numerous departmental publishing environments’. With that work now getting properly underway, now seems like the right time to talk about where WordPress could or should fit into that picture.

Get your diary out.

Stephen Hale’s team at the Department of Health have kindly agreed to host a second Word Up Whitehall event, to take place at their Skipton House offices (Elephant & Castle) on Monday 7 November 2011.

It’ll be the exact same rules of engagement as last time:

  • We’ll start at about 10am, and finish at 4pm – giving people a bit of time to call by the office, before or after. Lunch will be provided. (As will donuts, but don’t tell DH’s five-a-day people.)
  • Space is limited, so it’s only open to central government people, and please, only two people (or three at a push) from any one department. We had this same rule last time, and people respected it beautifully.
  • If your department has done something interesting with WordPress this year, and you think other people might benefit from hearing about it, this is your moment. I will be approaching certain obvious candidates in advance, but don’t let that stop you volunteering first. It might even guarantee you a ticket.
  • Private sector people, contact me directly if you’d like to attend – terms and conditions will be applied.

I’ll be opening the ticket booking facility on Wednesday next week, 28 September. That gives you some time to think about who’s most appropriate to come along from your department. And if you’ve got something you’d like to present, let me know: the sooner the better.

Word Up Whitehall: in tweets

simond Right, I think everything is sorted for tomorrow’s #WordUpWhitehall event. Now, I must go and count my unhatched chickens. Tue 19:06:58
nickmhalliday RT @simond: Right, I think everything is sorted for tomorrow’s #WordUpWhitehall event. Now, I must go and count my unhatched chickens.> good Tue 19:11:26
johnthegeo On my way to the Caledonian Sleeper on the way to #WordUpWhitehall. 5 hours ahead of @martinjohnyoung but on same train as @contactsimon. Tue 21:37:50
lesteph Suitcase half-unpacked, doing late night slides for my session with @treepixie on http://www.bis.gov.uk/growth for #WordUpWhitehall Tue 22:15:05
simond @neillyneil So far it’s been #wordupwhitehall in full. Long but accurate. Wed 07:14:19
simond The #WordUpWhitehall donuts have arrived. Be punctual or accept leftovers. Wed 07:17:43
mikelittlezed1 On my way to #WordUpWhitehall, just rehearsed my presentation and it came in at 14 mins. Yeah right! Like that’s gonna happen. Wed 07:26:48
westi I hope everyone has a great time at #WordUpWhitehall today – sad that I’ve gone down with an illness at completely the wrong time Wed 07:32:41
neillyneil @simond @rphosking I’m in Kingsgate House, 3rd floor. Shout me when you get here. At your service. #wordupwhitehall Wed 07:51:04
simoneverest Looking forward to attending #WordUpWhitehall – presenting at same, less so! Wed 07:51:57
davemee @simond #wordupwhitehall ? Waah! No-one tells me about these things. Hope it goes well. Wed 07:52:47
neillyneil @simoneverest glad you are, though. Crowd on your side! #wordupwhitehall Wed 07:54:14
neillyneil Warning anyone coming to #wordupwhitehall – I’ve got new Moo mini business cards and am not afraid to use them. Wed 07:55:58
simond Note to #WordUpWhitehall attendees: please dress to match your Twitter icon, to aid recognition. Wed 07:56:01
ingridk RT @simond: Note to #WordUpWhitehall attendees: please dress to match your Twitter icon, to aid recognition. Wed 07:57:46
simoneverest Just added nice comments about BIS/DIUS/BERR to my #wordupwhitehall pres (@neillyneil @lesteph ;-) ) Wed 08:09:15
contactsimon @simond Damn…I left my curly-hair wig at home. It’s ok, I’ll print out a pic of Mick Hucknall and stick it to my face #WordUpWhitehall Wed 08:21:35
neillyneil @simond @rphosking Sorted – Reception will call my Bberry when folk arrive for #wordupwhitehall (or they can tweet me) and I’ll collect ‘em Wed 08:40:35
scrumph Am suffering greatly from “more haste; less speed” this morning. On my way to #wordup but i’m not going to be early… :/ see you soonish Wed 09:16:10
karentriggs LSC digital manager @alicecilsmith has left the building and is en route to #wordupwhitehall Wed 09:34:36
jonworth @Simond opening #wordup Whitehall, joking about whether Matt Mullenweg or Mike Little started #Wordpress Wed 09:40:03
lesteph That @simond, who’s done more than most for WordPress in govt, kicking off #wordupwhitehall with the history of WP Wed 09:41:31
lesteph 8.5% of web runs WordPress, says @simond #wordupwhitehall #madeupstats http://yfrog.com/47pw1j Wed 09:45:57
nickmhalliday RT @lesteph: 8.5% of web runs WordPress, says @simond #wordupwhitehall #madeupstats http://yfrog.com/47pw1j > allegedly Wed 09:49:33
davecoveney Settling in at #wordup Whitehall. Simon Dickson is introducing the day’s proceedings. Wed 09:49:49
psychemedia Looks like a good tag for today could be #WordUpWhitehall http://bit.ly/cDtPno Wed 09:54:51
cyberdoyle RT @psychemedia: Looks like a good tag for today could be #WordUpWhitehall http://bit.ly/cDtPno Wed 09:57:25
PBAge Looks like a good tag for today could be #WordUpWhitehall http://bit.ly/cDtPno /via @psychemedia Wed 09:57:44
nickmhalliday @lesteph talking about magic of #wordpress #wordup Wed 10:07:43
neillyneil #wordupwhitehall @lesteph unveiling the super-flexible Commentariat2 theme – limitless layout options for non coders. See readandcomment.com Wed 10:10:41
jkerrstevens RT @lesteph: 8.5% of web runs WordPress, says @simond #wordupwhitehall #madeupstats http://yfrog.com/47pw1j Wed 10:10:55
b3rn RT @neillyneil: #wordupwhitehall @lesteph unveiling the super-flexible Commentariat2 theme – limitless layout options for non coders. See readandcomment.com Wed 10:11:10
simoneverest @lesteph’s Commentariat 2 #WordPress theme is a thing of beauty #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:11:27
nickmhalliday #wordupwhitehall now using correct handle, either way good stuff Wed 10:14:37
neillyneil @treepixie says she is the bridge between digital and policy wonks -this is so true, every team should have one #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:16:27
neillyneil Readandcomment.com sites can be deployed within half an hour -and that’s often what govt needs #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:19:23
cyberdoyle RT @neillyneil: Readandcomment.com sites can be deployed within half an hour -and that’s often what govt needs #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:20:29
nickmhalliday RT @simoneverest: @lesteph’s Commentariat 2 #WordPress theme is a thing of beauty #wordupwhitehall > yup Wed 10:20:57
paul_clarke @neillyneil does that mean a greater potential to act without thinking things through? ;) #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:21:15
cyberdoyle RT @neillyneil: #wordupwhitehall @lesteph unveiling the super-flexible Commentariat2 theme – limitless layout options for non coders. See readandcomment.com Wed 10:23:56
lesteph RT @neillyneil: @treepixie is the bridge between digital and policy wonks – this is so true, every team should have one #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:26:02
neillyneil @simoncollister talking about @wearesocial work for NHS #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:34:58
lesteph Interesting to hear @wearesocial’s Reach, Engagement, Visibility scoring for online influencers from @simoncollister #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:37:08
simoneverest Work-relevant conferences shouldn’t be this cool #wordupwhitehall – hearing about insight tools from @wearesocial @simoncolister Wed 10:39:20
nickmhalliday RT @simoneverest: Work-relevant conferences shouldn’t be this cool #wordupwhitehall – insight tools from @wearesocial @simoncolister > fab Wed 10:40:02
neillyneil Marmarati, Tesco fashion and now this. I’m increasingly wowed by @wearesocial’s approach #wordupwhitehall @simoncollister Wed 10:42:46
lesteph Now, @marxculture on using WordPress to publish #opendata http://www.transparency.culture.gov.uk #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:49:51
contactsimon This is what I’ve wanted for ages, the digital engagement equivalent of a media database…@simoncollister can we talk? #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:50:24
nickmhalliday RT @neillyneil: Marmarati, Tesco fashion and now this. I’m increasingly wowed by @wearesocial’s approach #wordupwhitehall @simoncollister > Wed 10:51:26
smithsam @lesteph where is #wordupwhitehall ? May be able to stop by for a bit later and say hi Wed 10:53:11
neillyneil @marxculture is using WordPress as quick fix to overcome shortcomings of 60 partners’ legacy CMSs & suppliers for #opendata #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:55:12
neillyneil Always fun to watch a non Mac user click the red cross in the corner of a window and expect it to close the app #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:56:52
simoncollister @ContactSimon hey Simon. That was our thought initially too! Love to chat over lunch. #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:57:30
simonwheatley Department of Culture Media & Sport have just launched their transparency data on WordPress, as demoed by CIO @marxculture #wordupwhitehall Wed 10:59:02
Treepixie love DoH/ Simon Collister’s evaluation methods, can I steal? #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:05:42
lesteph Every open source tool considered shd be at least as secure as the equiv Microsoft offering’ – @marxculture on gov OSS #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:13:00
davidpidsley RT @lesteph: ‘Every open source tool considered shd be at least as secure as the equiv Microsoft offering’ – @marxculture on gov OSS #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:13:54
simoneverest RT @lesteph: ‘Every open source tool considered shd be at least as secure as the equiv Microsoft offering’ – @marxculture on gov OSS #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:20:03
simoneverest RT @Treepixie: love DoH/ Simon Collister’s evaluation methods, can I steal? #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:20:28
Treepixie more than 10% of this audience is called Simon, it’s nickname time! #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:20:29
neillyneil Top prize goes to @davecoveney for whizziest slide transitions #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:22:49
simonwheatley Passionate presentation from @davecoveney on the evolution of a site from quiet traffic blog to CEO blog. #wordup http://yfrog.com/n0arkhj Wed 11:29:50
lesteph Nice story from @davecoveney about how a no-cost WP.com internal blog evolved to become a primary communication #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:31:05
nickmhalliday RT @lesteph: Nice story from @davecoveney how a no-cost WP.com internal blog evolved to become a primary communication #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:32:20
lesteph Link to that @davecoveney example of a blogging council chief exec for urban regeneration: http://janbritton.org/ #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:33:52
wwdmartin @johnthegeo has kindly given me 3g wifi – some great stuff going on at #wordupwhitehall and I’m still awake! :) Wed 11:35:10
neillyneil Er… Is that really a hit counter on http://janbritton.org/ ? #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:35:34
Treepixie @davecoveney talking about using WordPress to sidestep bureaucracy, definitely our experience too #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:37:04
neillyneil RT @Treepixie: @davecoveney talking about using WordPress to sidestep bureaucracy, definitely our experience too #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:37:57
wwdmartin @davecoveney showing great example of strategic corporate blogging. Need to twist some arms… #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:38:48
wwdmartin personal highlight is DCMS transparency site, all built in WP and easy to replicate – hope to steal some ideas #wordupwhitehall Wed 11:41:16
qwghlm At #wordupwhitehall (@ Kingsgate House) http://4sq.com/9W4vcB Wed 12:04:09
davidthep Wishing everyone all the best from afar for #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:06:41
Luke_Oatham RT @neillyneil Er… Is that really a hit counter on http://janbritton.org/ ? #wordupwhitehall < Bless! Wed 12:12:54
wordcampuk A big hello from #wordcampuk to everyone at #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:28:41
lesteph Wowed by @simoneverest on Defra’s use of WordPress for serious corporate use: http://bit.ly/9sIdDh and http://bit.ly/cwR6pN #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:31:57
Treepixie RT @wordcampuk: A big hello from #wordcampuk to everyone at #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:33:27
neillyneil Nice coinage by @simoneverest – “stratical” or “tactegic” #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:33:45
nickmhalliday Simon Everest new word #stratical cross tactical and strategy @simoneverest #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:34:27
Treepixie @simoneverest hilarious tongue in cheek use of David Brent-esque words ‘stractical or tactegic’ #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:36:17
draml RT @neillyneil: Nice coinage by @simoneverest – “stratical” or “tactegic” #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:36:50
nickmhalliday Stunning presentation by @simoneverest very polished, funny and powerful #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:41:46
lesteph Comments don’t have to be published’ – @simoneverest on using WP comments as a private feedback channel. Brilliant. #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:43:45
wwdmartin Comments as private feedback = genius. @simoneverest on fast moving WP implementation at #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:48:29
tonys RT @wordcampuk: A big hello from #wordcampuk to everyone at #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:52:22
lesteph The sound of a whole room leaning forward as @simonwheatley talks about scaling WordPress sites for high loads #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:53:50
nickmhalliday #icannotbelieveitsfree big thanks to all organisers, presenters of #wordupwhitehall actually priceless info, background, knowledge – cheers! Wed 12:54:14
neillyneil I want to know what mac software @qwghlm is using to take notes. Full screen, simple, very cool. #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:55:07
neillyneil RT @lesteph: The sound of a whole room leaning forward as @simonwheatley talks about scaling WordPress sites for high loads #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:55:52
mrchrisadams Great to see WordPress being adopted and used so well on UK.gov sites. http://bit.ly/9sIdDh & http://bit.ly/cwR6pN #wordupwhitehall Wed 12:57:20
nickmhalliday RT @lesteph: ‘Comments don’t have to be published’ – @simoneverest using WP comments as private feedback channel. Brilliant #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:05:39
wwdmartin @simonwheatley just delivered best explanation of WP backend and server side workings I’ve ever heard at #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:09:52
Treepixie RT @lesteph: The sound of a whole room leaning forward as @simonwheatley talks about scaling WordPress sites for high loads #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:10:38
1jh The Twitter feed from #wordupwhitehall is very interesting. Hope it’s going well. Great job @simond! Wed 13:11:04
simonwheatley Totally overran my time to talk about scaling WordPress websites for high levels of traffic. Good fun, thanks for listening #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:27:15
nickmhalliday Wrong room syndrome #tootechnicalforme #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:32:50
simoneverest RT @wwdmartin: @simonwheatley just delivered best explanation of WP backend and server side workings I’ve ever heard at #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:33:31
CarolynWillitts RT @wwdmartin: @simonwheatley just delivered best explanation of WP backend and server side workings I’ve ever heard at #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:33:55
CarolynWillitts RT @lesteph: The sound of a whole room leaning forward as @simonwheatley talks about scaling WordPress sites for high loads #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:34:05
simonwheatley RT @wordcampuk: A big hello from #wordcampuk to everyone at #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:35:58
simonwheatley RT @lesteph: ‘Every open source tool considered shd be at least as secure as the equiv Microsoft offering’ – @marxculture on gov OSS #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:38:38
neillyneil Starting to yearn for some balance. What isn’t WordPress perfect for? What are the downsides? #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:41:58
simoneverest @simonwheatley suspect any overrunning was down to me? #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:45:38
lesteph @neillyneil Let’s brainstorm some. Workflow, masses of content, many multiple languages, sites with tonnes of comments? #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:49:08
wwdmartin About to present at #wordupwhitehall – be kind Wed 13:50:23
lesteph A nice thing about #wordupwhitehall is that most of the presenters seem to spend more of their days coding than presenting Wed 13:56:12
paul_clarke RT @lesteph: A nice thing about #wordupwhitehall is that most of the presenters seem to spend more of their days coding than presenting Wed 13:57:45
rphosking #wordupwhitehall yum! http://yfrog.com/my38vbj Wed 13:58:57
contactsimon @wwdmartin reprazents for @DFID_UK http://twitpic.com/2x9qf3 #wordupwhitehall Wed 13:59:37
simonwheatley A rather belated Twitter list for #wordupwhitehall @simonwheatley/wordup-whitehall Wed 14:03:13
lesteph Listening to @johnthegeo on WP at DFID for an internal discussion platform on IT, staff ideas and senior blogged #wordupwhitehall Wed 14:04:23
neillyneil RT @simonwheatley: A rather belated Twitter list for #wordupwhitehall @simonwheatley/wordup-whitehall Wed 14:05:52
simoneverest Having numerous eureka/hallelujah moments at DFID intranet WordPress pres #wordupwhitehall Wed 14:09:18
neillyneil Very encouraged by @johnthegeo sorting out authentication to use WordPress internally #wordupwhitehall Wed 14:27:35
nickmhalliday RT @simoneverest: Having numerous eureka/hallelujah moments at DFID intranet WordPress pres #wordupwhitehall > yes revelatory Wed 14:35:13
contactsimon RT @simoneverest: Having numerous eureka moments at DFID intranet WordPress pres #wordupwhitehall < Well done @johnthegeo @wwdmartin Wed 14:41:32
neillyneil Too much balance! I’ve caused a rumpus at #wordupwhitehall Wed 15:06:42
lesteph Conflicting views around room on whether holes in security are a #wordpress or scripting language issue #wordupwhitehall Wed 15:11:11
johngoode RT @neillyneil: Always fun to watch a non Mac user click the red cross in the corner of a window and expect it to close the app #wordupwhitehall Wed 15:15:59
neillyneil @simond should be very proud of how #wordupwhitehall has gone – should I say “first #wordupwhitehall”? Think it’s got legs. Wed 15:26:53
johnthegeo Lots of interesting ideas at #wordupwhitehall to scale and manage enterprise scale #wordpress instances. Wed 15:26:53
davecoveney Interesting bit from @mikelittlezed1 on a staging architecture. Not how we do it, but one we’ll be checking out. #wordupwhitehall Wed 15:27:03
simoneverest Interesting from @mikelittlezed1 about staging/test configuration potential with WordPress #wordupwhitehall Wed 15:29:13
lesteph RT @neillyneil: @simond should be very proud of how #wordupwhitehall has gone – should I say “first #wordupwhitehall”? Think it’s got legs. Wed 15:38:06
hmshale Really enjoyed #WordUpWhitehall. Listening to people talking about the brilliant things they’ve done is good. Wed 15:58:25
simoneverest RT @neillyneil: @simond should be very proud of how #wordupwhitehall has gone – should I say “first #wordupwhitehall”? Think it’s got legs. Wed 16:00:35
draml RT @neillyneil: @simond should be very proud of how #wordupwhitehall has gone – should I say “first #wordupwhitehall”? Think it’s got legs. Wed 16:16:29
draml Fascinating, enjoyable & v useful day at #wordupwhitehall, congrats & thanks to @simond and all involved. Nice to put faces to online names! Wed 16:18:32
simoneverest At pub with remains of #wordupwhitehall – appears 100% male: a WordPress issue or a pub one? (Adam & Eve on Petty France) Wed 16:29:25
cyberdoyle @simoneverest boys will be boys. #wordupwhitehall Wed 16:39:10
nickmhalliday RT @neillyneil: @simond should be very proud of how #wordupwhitehall has gone – should I say “first #wordupwhitehall”? Think it’s got legs. Wed 17:05:51
ShaneMcC Nicely done by @simond on #wordupwhitehall – thx to @neillyneil and BIS for hosting – next time we need more people not called Simon Wed 18:08:58
scrumph RT @ShaneMcC: Nicely done by @simond on #wordupwhitehall – thx to @neillyneil and BIS for hosting – next time we need more people not called Simon Wed 18:32:43
scrumph Really enjoyed #wordupwhitehall useful hearing experiences, issues and optimism of others. Didn’t tweet much as others beat me to comments. Wed 18:36:31
draml The iPhone battery lasted right thru #wordupwhitehall till I got on the train at Waterloo. Sadly music/podcastless journey home tho. Wed 18:39:03
scrumph Thanks @simond for organising the first #wordupwhitehall. Where would be a good virtual space to carry on the conversation? Wed 18:39:32
TommyBaines Enjoyed #wordupwhitehall 2day, great presentations & knowledge sharing. Big thanks to @simond for organising & @bisgovuk for hosting. Wed 19:21:25
johnthegeo RT @ShaneMcC: Nicely done by @simond on #wordupwhitehall – thx to @neillyneil and BIS for hosting – next time we need more people not called Simon Wed 20:06:40
johnthegeo Really pleased with the response to our presentation at #wordupwhitehall. Thanks @wwdmartin. Great to meet others with similar challenges. Wed 20:09:52
simond Table for one at Nando’s on the way home from #wordupwhitehall. If that went half as well as it seemed to go, I’m a happy host. Wed 20:30:18
simond Stephen Fry, Kylie Minogue, me. That @simonwheatley knows how to start a presentation. #wordupwhitehall Wed 20:31:58
johnthegeo @simond You should be a happy host indeed. #wordupwhitehall Wed 20:34:04
juliac2 Published small set of photos from #wordupwhitehall event – last 4 in this set http://bit.ly/Zwp5r lots of great wordpress ideas on show Wed 22:28:01
harrym An excellent day: #wordupwhitehall (props to @simond) followed by dinner with @williamheath and friends, with fabulous food by @mikelib Wed 22:41:11
juliac2 RT @draml: Fascinating, enjoyable & v useful day at #wordupwhitehall, congrats & thanks to @simond and all involved. Nice to put faces to online names! Wed 22:43:34
simoneverest RT @TommyBaines: Enjoyed #wordupwhitehall 2day, great presentations & knowledge sharing. Big thanks to @simond for organising & @bisgovuk for hosting. Wed 23:04:50
wwdmartin RT @contactsimon: @wwdmartin reprazents for @DFID_UK http://twitpic.com/2x9qf3 #wordupwhitehall Wed 23:34:51

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Word Up Whitehall today

Big day today: it’s Word Up Whitehall, the mini-WordCamp for UK central government people, which I’ve been putting together over the last month or two. I thought it might generate some interest, but I never imagined it would ‘sell out’ in just over 24 hours… and I’m nervously hearing people already talking about ‘the next one’. Gulp.

Why hold such an event? Initially, my reasoning was that there was so much stuff in the 3.0 release of WordPress which wouldn’t be immediately obvious to those who weren’t already fairly deep into the code. Features like custom post types and taxonomies have amazing potential, but many people – even those who would consider themselves ‘power users’, comfortable with themes and plugins – simply wouldn’t see it. An event like this was a chance to demo this stuff, and spark some ideas.

It was also an opportunity to build some WordPress-based connections around government, and between civil servants and government-focussed suppliers. Community is at the heart of the WordPress ethos, and it felt natural to try and foster some of that same community spirit around Whitehall… even to the extent of inviting (notional) business rivals along.

Plus, if I’m honest, I fancied having a go at curating an event like this. I’ve never done it before, and I’ve actually really enjoyed the responsibility of drawing up my own dream running order. (No pressure, guys.)

Why now? Two reasons really. One is the government spending review: it’s no coincidence that we’re doing this a week before George Osborne wields his axe. We need departments to understand that they don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands, or millions, on websites – when the WordPress-based approach will deliver equally good sites, and arguabl better, for a fraction of the price, and in a fraction of the time. Departments need to find savings, and we’re raising our hand to help.

The other is the growing interest of established agencies and The Big Consultancies in WordPress. I’ve had too many bad experiences lately, with people claiming to have WordPress expertise – based on little more than ‘well, how hard can it be?’. The fact is, to get the best from WordPress, you need a thorough knowledge of how it works. Yes, the Famous Five-Minute Install will get your personal blog up and running… but it won’t be industry-strength. The professionals I’ve gathered for the event know this, and we know what to do about it. Frankly, this event is us marking our territory.

The running order features everyone I could have hoped to get along – including Peter Westwood, one of the five WordPress lead developers, and Mike Little, who basically started it all. If anything, I’m wondering if the schedule is too good: each speaker gets just half an hour each, although we’ve got the option for them to ‘get a room!’ if there’s enough interest to extend a particular discussion.

We should have enough bloggers and twitterers in the room to ensure the best bits get thoroughly reported, for those unable to come along, or too slow to bag a ticket. Watch out for tweets with the hashtag #WordUpWhitehall during the day; and I’ll try to collate a list of blog posts after the event.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to cue up some Finnish oompah music, and put my name on a donut.