When I first saw @PortlandRain I was skeptical. I thought it was some sort of Twitter marketing ploy by one of the firms in town that specializes in Social Media Marketing. But the more I've followed @PortlandRain the more I've realized that it's not marketer, but some sort of artist or poet using Twitter as their canvas.
Just check out some of these recent @PortlandRain tweets:
Believe it or not, PotlandRain isn't at home. Please leave a message at the bee-eep. I must be out, or You would be we t. Where could I be?
Had a long night. Taking a few hours off this morning.
Only one day of rain and @PortlandSun is back! Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue
I'm never gonna stop the rain by complaining. Because I'm free (&Thankful), Nothing worrying me
@PortlandRain has been getting a fair amount of attention lately, first with an interview with the Oregon Red Cross Blog and then one with the Portland Water Bureau. @PortlandRain was even mentioned on a recent episode of 7 Live @ The Square.
However, @PortlandRain really hit its tipping point today as a rain storm blanketed Portland and @PortlandRain stormed twitter. I think I saw as many references today to @PortlandRain as I have to #bacon this whole week. @PortlandRain even seemed to trump the highly anticipated release of WordPress 2.7.
Since the launch of @PortlandRain there have been a lot of other weather related twitters (including @PortlandSun and @PortlandSnow), but none seem to have the level of whit and character as @PortlandRain. Portland has long been known for its rain, so it'll be interesting to see if @PortlandRain finds national prominence.
I was fortunate enough to catch Bram Pitoyo's live broadcast of the Portland Web Innovators meeting. While I enjoyed watching Rick Turoczy give an effective 'State of the Portland Tech Union Address' I couldn't help but think back to another point in Portland's Tech History.
Back in 1995, Portland was abuzz with the Internet. Since the web was relatively new (think Web 1.0, or maybe 0.95b1), the excitement over it and opportunities created by it connected people from traditional Portland tech, software engineering universe, and non-tech entrepreneurs who saw the opportunity to use the new technology to fuel business.
It was out of this unique mix that the Portland Internet community was born. In this space a few factions existed: The SAO (The Software Association of Oregon), which existed prior to the web, consisted mainly of hardcore technologists and engineers; Netogether, run by Lenny Charnoff, it existed as a local business networking and discussion forum designed to bridge the gap between the technology and the local businesses who could benefit from it.; Internet Professionals Northwest (aka Internet Entrepreneurs Association) which flourished under the leadership of Mike Pritchard and provided a mixing point between technologists and entrepreneurs. Continue Reading
I've lived in Portland for 15 years and in that time I've seen tremendous change and growth in the Portland internet community. The Portland tech community has gone from early seedling groups like Lenny Charnoff's Netogether and Mike Pritchard's Internet Entrepreneurs Association to full blown, large scale, sold out events like Ignite Portland and WordCamp Portland. It's been an amazing thing to watch.
Sitting in the sold out room for WordCamp Portland I was struck by just how dynamic and exciting the internet community in Portland has become. There's a part of me that doesn't want to write about it, doesn't want the rest of the world to know about our little secret (but I think the secret is already out). Big things are happening here in Portland. When I say big things, I don't mean some major Internet company is going to be opening its doors, and I don't mean there will be some huge announcement of some grand Oregon based product. The magic of what's happening here is that it's a million little exciting things that all add up to a very significant and flourishing community.
Aside from my realizations of just how great the community is. I did learn some very specific and helpful things:
- WordPress 2.7 looks fantastic. Automatic has opened their ears to the people who use their software the most and they've been very serious about implementing the changes we all want to see.
- You can build a blogging site from the ground upwithout huge capital and without deep technical knowledge of php, mysql, css or even html.
- With the right tools you can: automatically backup your word press database, upgrade WordPress with one click, support Open ID, switch your theme while you work (and not have the new theme go public), easily support video.
- You can use your blog as the hub to unify all your social networking programs (aka tubes) including Friendfeed, Twitter and let your blog feed your networks.
- If you can't decide on a theme to start with for your blog, K2 is a good place to start.
- The Firefox Web Development Toolbar and Firebug are two tools every developer should have in their toolkit.
- If I'm at a conference where Justin Kistner is doing a session I won't make the mistake of missing it again. 10 Proven WordPress Plugins was interesting, but I kicked myself after talking to people who came out of his WordPress Ecosystem session. (Same goes for Marshall Kirkpatrick, whose RSS session was called 'mindblowing')
- The people who run CubeSpace are simply awesome. If I'm ever in need of a place to meet clients or hold meetings they've got my business.
- Adding people to Twitter via cell phone (just tweet Follow GeoffK), is easier, faster and has more impact than swapping business cards.
- I need to check out: Tweetdeck, Ning, Ping.fm and Vidoop.
- The perfect food to serve to bloggers are: Coffee, Bagels, Pizza, Soda, Beer and Mediterranean Food.
In all, It was a full Saturday well spent, unbelievable value at $10 and an event I'll absolutely attend again when it comes around net year.