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Despite the snow and ice, a crowd converged on SCAD Atlanta Jan. 8-9 for WordCamp 2010. The conference drew nearly 400 personal bloggers, small business owners and corporate employees from across Georgia and other states.

People crowded the Friday evening opening session in event space 4C, many of them tweeting about the conference in progress.

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“I am just tweeting away in my blog for my friends back at home who couldn’t make it to this conference,” said Rachel Selber, a student and a personal blogger who hoped to gain more insight into the blog publishing tool WordPress. “I am very excited to be here and learn how to get started and improve my blog.”

Others gushed about the conference location.

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“SCAD was a great venue for the conference,” said Dave Coustan, content and engagement director for Almighty in Boston and one of the conference speakers. “As someone who is more on the content/creative side of the Web, it was inspiring to be surrounded by the creative works of SCAD students and grads.

“I liked the fact that as I sat in the hallway and worked on my laptop, as I looked up and around, my gaze was drawn to all sorts of engaging canvases on the walls,” he said.

Held in various locations around the world and in Atlanta for the first time, the conference is designed to cover all things WordPress.

“Rather than a for-profit conference series, WordCamps are locally organized by folks who are passionate about the software and community around WordPress, and want to bring together like-minded folks to learn from each other and share what we know,” Coustan said.

Brandon Sheats and Tessa Horehled were the local organizers for  WordCamp Atlanta 2010. They have no official connection to WordPress or Automattic.

According to its Web site, WordPress.org, WordPress started in 2003 “with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing and with fewer users than you can count on your fingers and toes.”  WordPress has since evolved into a widely popular blogging tools and a full-content management system with thousands of plugins, widgets, themes and security features.

Conference speakers discussed the blogging tool’s increasing efforts to combat hackers.

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“When hackers inject spam links and files into your themes, plugin and other core files, you won’t even know because all links will be hidden using CSS,” said WordCamp speaker Syed Balkhi, founder of WPBeginner.com and CEO of Balkhis.com.

“Your site will be dropped from Google, which you will lose your rankings, traffic, and revenue from that site,” and WordPress aims to prevent that, she said in her Saturday lecture, “Protecting WordPress from the Inside Out.”

In addition to lectures, WordCamp featured more than 20 other events including a two-hour workshop for WordPress beginners and a question-and-answer session for users at all levels.

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“I’ve only used WordPress for six months, and it’s truly a testament to what WordPress can do for web developers,” CP Morey, a web developer.  “I have only one word to describe my experience during this conference — awesome! I truly recommend other WordPress users and nonusers to attend this conference if it comes to their location.”

For more information about WordPress, you can visit www.WordPress.org.

If you missed the conference, check out videos of some the lectures through Ustream.