Brian has been attending WordPress WordCamps around the country for a couple of years now, but I just attended my very first WordCamp this past weekend in San Francisco. A WordCamp is a mini conference or workshop all about WordPress with tracks and sessions appropriate for advanced developers, mid-level consultants. And newbie beginners alike.
What blew my mind is that the WordCamp San Francisco attendees were such a diverse mix of designers, developers, business owners, bloggers, employees, freelancers, students, consultants, and more.
You see, I left the WordCamps to Brian to attend because I thought I didn’t belong. I thought that because I am not a skilled developer and can’t talk code off the top of my head, that I would be out of place. But Brian kept telling me that I had to experience a WordCamp for myself to understand what it was about. So we bought tickets for WordCamp SanFrancisco and planned a mini vacation around it.
My perceptions about what a WordCamp was were shattered.
- I saw WordPress core contributors sharing tips with newbie WordPress users
- Developers were sharing code with other developers, People were sharing tools and resources and offering help with projects
- Users were getting advice and insight from industry leaders
- Developers were asking users questions and listening and valuing their insights as users
- Consultants, designers, and bloggers were supporting each other
The WordPress Community Came Together As A Whole
It may sound weird, but there was an outpouring of love and respect for the platform that is allowing us all to build a variety of successful, thriving businesses. As well as a community desire to continue to improve it, build on it, and support it.
The WordCamp attendees also came together to support each other. The collective thought — displayed in action — that every person mattered and could contribute value to WordPress in some way was one I have never experienced at an event ever. This was an entirely different event. No selling. No marketing. No self-promotion. No grandstanding. No egos (almost). Imagine that?!
- No one withholding information or “secrets” that could help another and make a difference in their business/life simply because they wanted to get paid for it
- No one helping you just enough to get you interested, then telling you that you must hire them or buy their home study system to learn the rest
- No one passing out business cards or promoting their own stuff (in fact, I only saw a handful of business cards being exchanged the entire event)
- No one hosting marketing events in secret in their hotel room or walking around with order forms
WordCamps Are a Must-Attend Event If You Use WordPress At Any Level
WordCamps offer training, education, and support for people at all levels that use WordPress. They are also vehicles to meet others in the community. (And they’re always about $20-$50. That’s it! Seriously. I’m not joking.)
Most of us learned what we know from other WordPress users, designers, developers, bloggers, and experts on their blogs, on Twitter or Google+, or in the WordPress support forums. For many of us, our code bases are compilations of our own code, code that others have publicly shared, and forks of code snippets we have found.
We are where we are because of the WordPress community — because the community in general believes that a rising tide lifts all websites. The reality is that thousands of people around the world have been able to start and grow successful WordPress centered businesses, and thousands of businesses profit online everyday using the free, open-source WordPress software … and without the community that surrounds and supports WordPress, most of us wouldn’t be where we are today.
WordCamps Provide A Space Where Anyone Can Give Back And Learn
Yes, you will learn something new if you attend a WordCamp. You will improve your skills and make new connections. But more important, you will be involved in an incredible community of brilliant givers, and part of a movement that is bigger than any one of us.
As I mentioned, a rising tide lifts all websites. So, let’s work together to raise the tides. Let’s make the internet better together. Let’s make WordPress better and make it even easier to use. Let’s provide more training and help and support to those new to the software. Let’s create more plugins and themes. Let’s give back and help others like we were helped …
Are you in? I know I sure am.