Tomorrow starts a new chapter for many people in Northwest Arkansas, their first experience at a WordPress WordCamp and hopefully, the beginning or advancement of their own website. And I am so excited for them!
Why, do you ask? Well, because I remember attending my first WordCamp earlier this year in Kansas City, Mo.
I was not quite sure what to expect. Was it going to be long speeches of information that was way over my head, from people that marked me as a “nube” and bulldozed over me with their expertise?
It wasn’t that at all and in fact, it was one of the most welcoming and inclusive environments I have been apart of at a conference.
WordPress was created as a low cost/no cost, open-source content management system for easy updates of blogs and other information on a website.
It was created so people could take what they needed, add more to it and share it with others. There are plugins and themes that have been created for profit (and some have profited greatly) however, it’s part of the culture to keep things as easy to reach for everyone and exclusivity is not embraced.
The conference price is even kept at an extremely low price of $35 per person and in many cases, this includes meals and beverages throughout the day.
The First days: WordPress WordCamp
The first WordPress WordCamp was held in August 2016 in San Francisco, Ca., the home town of the creator of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. This was a place for people that use the tool and people that develop it, to come together and talk all things WordPress.
It became an annual event and the first WordCamp held outside of San Francisco was held in Beijing, China in 2007. These events are now held annually in many locations around the world. Wow!
What would I do at a WordCamp?
WordPress WordCamps are very much about learning and teaching but, also are incredibly interactive and promote collaboration and problem-solving.
At the first conference I attended in Kansas City, Mo., it began with opening comments that gave everyone the instructions for the day and tips on how to have a successful conference experience.
They offered different tracks based on what kind of WordPress user you are (or want to be) but, everyone was open to attend any of the sessions available.
We came back together for lunch (the food was great), listened to an impactful keynote speaker and then had more breakout sessions. The speakers were casually dressed (as were the attendees), they were very interactive.
They filmed the sessions to post online for people that could not make the meeting (a standard procedure I understand) and also to support the free sourcing culture.
They closed the day with a social event, inviting everyone to attend and meet new people, in a very relaxed environment.
Lastly, and one of the best things about this conference, is the room of volunteer subject matter experts (SMEs) that were willing and able, to take any question or issue the attendees were experiencing with WordPress and would work with them to try to fix it…..for free! I know, that is almost unheard of these days.
People are volunteering to help you with your blog, business or nonprofit’s website just because it is the right thing to do. I love that!
A WordCamp for you
Lucky for you, there is a WordCamp in Fayetteville this weekend, July 31-Aug. 2. and you can still get tickets at the door.
I was fortunate enough to meet some of the great people that are chairing the committee for this meeting.
They were also at my first WordCamp experience (supporting the regional WordCamps) and they are amazing individuals.
Very tenured, very experienced people that are passionate about WordPress and love to teach and help others make a better life through website development.
These volunteers have helped to create a great experience for users of all types and people of all ages.
As another side benefit, Michael and I will be speaking at the event so this would be a great opportunity for you to meet us and understand more about what we do and how we work with our clients to provide them the tools and training they need to succeed.
I, Felicia, will be talking about Blogging for Nonprofits and Michael will be speaking about Website Speed.
Again, just a reminder that tickets that be purchased at the door. If you can’t attend this event but want to see about future WordCamps or those in other areas, check out the list of upcoming WordCamps HERE.