The first thing that struck me at WordCamp Seattle was the inclusive sense of community. People from all walks of life, hobby bloggers and coders, grandmas, hairdressers, and hackers, came together to discuss WordPress, how to use it, and how to improve it. People were so friendly, no snobbery, no cliques, no standoffishness…
I have attended small scale blog conferences before, but this was the first time to attend an event of this kind for me.
What is WordCamp?
WordCamps are non-profit conferences that are organized and run entirely by volunteers. No need to break the bank on wardrobe or ticket prices. This is definitely a come as you are event – be yourself, no one is there to see your shoes – and the amazingly low ticket price of $20 is offset by the many sponsors who make these conferences possible. I spent some time speaking to reps from the sponsors, and these people really get the community focus of WordCamp, and WordPress as a whole.
Nearly 700 people converged on the HUB at the University of Washington for WordCamp Seattle this year. It was huge, and so well run. There were panels for rank beginners and seasoned developers, and everyone in between.
So many useful sessions
The schedule was packed, so many talks from which to choose! Here are the sessions I attended (slides used by the presenters linked below):
- How to Pick a Theme that Doesn’t Suck by Stacey Lane
- I Started a Blog, Now What? by Kimberly Gauthier
- Making Sense of SEO for WordPress: a Panel with Jennifer Bourn, Joyce Grace, Scott Eklund, Michelle Castillo, Heather Johnson
- Free and Low Cost Ways to Grow an Amazing Blog by Kate Stull
- The WordPress Community + Relationships = a Booming Business by Alex McClafferty
- Speed as a Feature: Getting a Handle on Page Load Time by Zack Tollman
So many great talks, and of course, there were four different talks going through most of the sessions. But the slide shows and video of the events has been made public, so you can see what you missed at a later date. A note about the videos, there is one long video for each of the three rooms that covers all of the talks that took place in the room, so get yourself a really big cup of coffee before sitting down to watch.
This conference was just so rich with useful information and resources that two weeks later I am still processing everything in my head.
But that was just day one. Day two upped the community aspect in a completely different way…
I wasn’t really sure what they meant by Contributors Day, but it turns out they take the community built and open source aspects of WordPress pretty seriously.
Contributors day took place in a smaller shared workspace called the Impact Hub Seattle in Pioneer Square. Participants gathered together to contribute to the WordPress product. The group divided into teams to work on everything from documentation to help desk questions, to directly addressing bugs, to working on updates. No need to have advanced programming skills. People contribute as they are able to, and there is place for everyone who wants to participate.
OK, so obviously, I’m new to the world of open source, but the more I learn, the more I want to learn. I’ve been using WordPress since 2008, but until now, I never bothered to learn much about how it was built. Now that I’ve seen that process in action, I want more.
I love this world I stumbled into.
I learned that there are regular WordPress Meetups here in Seattle (also, around the world for those of you not in Seattle). I will be checking these out, so look for me at a Seattle WordPress Meetup soon.