If you are in the WordPress world, I whole-heartedly believe that you need to attend a WordCamp at least once (a year), if not more.
I attended my first WordCamp in 2010 in New York City. I had been using WordPress for just under two years at that point, and was living in Connecticut, so NYC was only a few hour train ride away. It was exciting to be around so many people that used WordPress, and in so many different ways – bloggers, podcasters, small business owners with WordPress websites, theme developers, plugin developers, and people with WordPress-adjacent businesses (hosting, etc.) It was heady.
That same year, just a couple of months later, I attended my second WordCamp in Boston. I am still in contact with some of the people I met at those events (reason #1), and still use some of the tools that I learned about, like PassPack and GravityForms (reason #2).
WordPress has changed a lot since then, and I find WordCamps to be a useful way to keep up with the big changes in the WordPress world (reason #3).
When I moved back to Pittsburgh in 2010, I wanted to try to bring WordCamp to this fabulous city (which has so many other amazing things). I joined a group that was working toward that goal, but it didn’t get off the ground as successfully as it needed to. Fast forward to summer of 2014, when I was contacted by another local WordPress enthusiast who wanted to revive the WordPress Meetup group, and was looking for some assistance in managing it – yay!
I learned about a WordCamp coming up in Dayton, OH (about a five hour drive away) and one of the other co-organizers expresed an interest in going also, so we made a road trip out of it. She and I didn’t know each other too well, but we had 10 hours in the car together (round trip) to get to know each other, and discovered that we were both interested in having a WordCamp in Pittsburgh. So we got the ball rolling and started talking to the right people to make it happen.
While we were at WC Dayton, and later at WC North Canton, we talked to some of the organizers of those events who also expressed an interest in the inaugural WC Pittsburgh, and they offered to help us if we needed it (reason #4).
Just a few weeks ago, I attended the inaugural WordCamp US, held in Philadelphia, PA (also about a five hour drive). I learned so much at this that it warrants a separate blog post to cover it all. After this fantastic 2-day event, they held a Contributor’s Day event, where WordPress enthusiasts can give back to the community by helping out with WordPress in a variety of ways (reason #5).
Back now in Pittsburgh, my co-organizer and I are busy planning the inaugural WC Pittsburgh, and I look forward to posting more about the details of that as we’re ready to announce them.
So, in case you weren’t paying attention, here’s my
Top Five Reasons To Attend WordCamps:
- You meet fellow WordPress enthusiasts who are always ready to talk to other WP fans and share tips and secrets. In fact, all WordCamp speakers are volunteers.
- Learn about new plugins and tools that you can use to add functionality to your site or improve it’s function and your marketing eforts.
- WordCamp is a great place to learn about the recent and upcoming changes in WordPress. The current goal is three major releases of WordPress each year, so keeping up with the new features can be tough. The major releases add function and features to make the software more usable and accessible to all users.
- Those that feel passionately about WordPress are almost always more than willing to help out a fellow WordPresser. That’s one of the things I love most about this community – the giving and sharing, and willing to help others.
- Speaking of helping others, the amount of people that showed up for Contributor Day (not sure of the exact number but I’d be willing to guess it was several hundred) was amazing. Teams included Core, Design, Accessibility, Support, Polyglots, Documentation, Theme Reviews, Marketing, Community, Meta and Training. Hundreds of people wanting to help make WordPress better, more reliable, more available, and more understandable. Love it.
I love being a part of this community, and look forward to attending several more WordCamps in 2016. If you’re looking for one in your area, check our WordCamp Central. If you’ve been to a WordCamp, I’d love to hear about your experiences there. Drop me a note below and let me know!