In part two of this series, the logo and venue for CreatorCamp Ottawa had been finalized and confirmed.
We chose Wiki technology for the site because of the speed at which we could establish the CreatorCamp website and the ability to allow others to contribute. The premise is anyone can edit the page and do things like add themselves to the list of registrants and even submit their name as a possible speaker. It’s that general simplicity that makes Wikis so popular for many purposes including organizing “camp” type events.
Alas, Wikis can be a bit daunting for people who are unfamiliar with the technology. That is, most people have no problems navigating a Wiki (e.g. Wikipedia) but don’t have the know-how or interest in figuring out how to edit an embedded page. It was a growing concern of mine that the Wiki was getting in the way of people registering for CreatorCamp — and it had only been about 12 hours since the Wiki was officially launched. So I interrupted Bob on Gchat the morning of Nov 18 to suggest we move registration over to Eventbrite, a service designed specifically for managing event registrations and free for events don’t use the built-in registration fee processing feature.
me: Just want to get your take on me creating an Eventbrite for CCyow2010 to make for easier registration for the non-social media community.Bob: yes- seems like a good idea-, then we can lock down the wiki – I actually dreamed the wiki got spammed last night
We techie folks have weird dreams. In our defense, Wikis are often the target of spammers and other nefarious folks which has led Wiki owners to implement some cursory security controls. A side effect of those controls is they add a layer of simple-complexity making it less intuitive for participants of the site.
I created an event for CreatorCamp Ottawa and manually re-registered everyone from the Wiki to Eventbrite. We decided to maintain a parallel registration list on the Wiki as well since it allows people to add biographical information; something registrants had already done though not something we specifically promoted. Given that fewer than people made that effort, my guess is the extra steps in the process are sufficiently complex that noone will bother. Besides, the audience is creative folks, not social media creative folks which means they may not be as familiar with the technology as geeks like us.
Bob also did some coding to make sure the most current list of Eventbrite registrants was kept updated on the Wiki. I haven’t spoken to Bob about it but I believe it was an experiment in coding and to consider options for future CreatorCamp events. That’s us, always thinking of the next thing.
Here’s a quick review of key decisions, actions and lessons during this summary period:
- In the non-tech community, a Wiki is best suited for static information rather than open participation
- Make registration as easy as possible
- Eventbrite is simple and flexible, and free for events that don’t use Eventbrite’s fee processing
- Never be afraid to make changes mid-stream as long as you don’t inconvenience existing registrants
- Two heads are better than one, even when they think alike
- Wiki is pronounced wee-kee (just like kiwi)