Conference Season 2011

Spring is here and it’s time to get educated. Yes, I suspect that a lot of you reading this are still in school, and aching for the days when you won’t be sitting in a room being educated. Tragically, I have to tell you that once you get out in the Real World, you really begin to relish the few chances to get together with colleagues, perhaps in a strange city, and learn new things. That’s what I’m doing now.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be attending (or keeping watch on) these great events. For most of these, you’re more than welcome to join me:

Society for Technical Communication Summit
Dates: May 15-18, 2011
Location: Sacramento, CA Convention Center
URL: http://summit.stc.org/
Twitter Hashtag: #stc11

This is the annual conference of my professional organization, and my employer is sending me so I can be a better tech writer. As a bonus, I get to see possibly the most famous technical communicator in the world. Tim O’Reilly is our keynoter Sunday night, and while you may know him as the god of technical publishing, I just learned from this interview at South By Southwest that the publishing business started during a slack time in his tech writing consultant business. There’s much more of interest in that hour-long podcast, but I’m really looking forward to hearing him.

This will be my second STC conference, and the last one was quite useful. I’m confident it’ll be another good experience.

WriteCamp Milwaukee 3
Date: June 4, 2011
Location: Hide House, Milwaukee, WI
URL: http://www.writecampmilwaukee.com
Hashtag: #writecamp

This local gathering/unconference of writers of all genres is a great opportunity to break out of the isolation of the Writer’s Life, see what other people are doing, and learn something new. It’s the brainchild of my friend Boone Dryden.

I’ve proposed two WordPress-related sessions. I’ll give one or both, depending on interest.

In any case, it should be great fun and always interesting.

Open Help Conference
Date: June 3-5, 2011
Location: University of Cincinnati, OH
URL: http://openhelpconference.com/index.html
Hashtag: ??

I wish I could get out of town to attend this gathering of documentation teams for various open source products, but I’ll try to follow this online.

Folks from Ubuntu Linux, the GNOME project, FLOSS Manuals (I’ve also written about my experiences with FLOSS Manuals here) and Mozilla will be there. One of my favorite tech-book authors, Anne Gentle, will also be talking about community building.

WordCamp Chicago
Date: July 30-31, 2011
Location: DePaul University, Chicago, IL
URL: http://2011.chicago.wordcamp.org/
Hashtag: #WCChicago

One of a zillion WordCamps that happen every year, where people spend a weekend talking about WordPress. Someday we want to have one in Milwaukee, but this isn’t too far away. They’re pulling together a program as we speak, and nobody knows yet who will appear. I’m hoping it’ll be great!

Meanwhile, the second Milwaukee WordPress Meetup is in the works, for sometime in June. More info to come on that!

So whether you can make any of the above events (and I’d love to see you), do try to find like minds this spring and summer, and don’t put your brain entirely on hold.

Do you have a favorite conference? Hate one or more of the above events? A preference for one or another WriteCamp session? Other spring-like thoughts? Share them in the Comments window.

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