I’m a bit late in getting this post up, but life happens 🙂
Two weekends ago marked my entry into the wondrous world of WordCamps. I spent September 15-16 at WordCamp NYC and loved every minute! I would encourage anyone and everyone even remotely interested in WordPress to attend. Here are a five reasons why:
- WordCamps are designed to be accessible regardless of ability, skill, or any other criteria. Sure, there are some tech-savvy talks and workshops, but there are also introductory sessions for new WordPress users, as well as sessions for non-developers. Take it from this non-developer. I attended sessions on GDPR, ethics around machine learning, the importance of accessibility in websites, and a workshop on DIY content creation. In addition to breadth and depth in topic and experience, and unlike some of those big tech events, the WordPress community endeavors to keep the price of entry low, around $20USD per day. There is currently a proposal to adjust this price tag for inflation, but the goal is still to keep the price of entry as low as possible.
- WordCamps are locally based. The organizers and majority of speakers and attendees are local, so if you’re attending your local WordCamp, you are likely to meet folks who live and work in your community.
- WordCamps are entirely volunteer run. In a world where work hours have increased and wages have stagnated, I firmly believe that passion and self motivations is what drives volunteers. To me, that makes WordCamps all the more impressive. All WordCamps around the world are organized by volunteers. Do you have any sense for how much time it takes to plan, budget, market, fundraise, and execute a 1 to 2 day event for 50 to 2,000+ people? Yet there were more than 120 WordCamps around the world in 2017. Even the speakers are volunteers.
- You’ll learn a lot. WordCamps have many sessions throughout the day and offer talks on a range of topics. If you’re interested in WordPress and the tech industry, you’ll learn something. If you’re an experienced developer, designer, contributor to the WordPress open source project, you’ll learn something. Anyone in between and around that spectrum, you’ll learn something. Can you just trust me on this one? Also, most WordCamps have a Happiness Bar, where you can get help with your WordPress site.
- I met really cool people. There were personal bloggers, developers, publishers, podcasters, artists, designers, and many, many others. The unifying factor was that they all used WordPress in some way! Everyone I spoke with uses or wants to use WordPress in a different way, and all were happy to share their experiences. Even though most had more WordPress expertise than me, I didn’t feel out of place or disparaged. Rather, I felt inspired and encouraged.
All in all, it’s a smashing good time, and I can’t wait for the next WordCamp. Between now and the end of the year, I’ll be attending WordCamp Vancouver, WordCamp Portland, WordCamp Seattle, and WordCamp US. If you attend, I look forward to meeting you!