Have I already shared with you how much I love the WordPress community? Well, it’s worth saying again and introducing others to the joys…
This past weekend was WordCamp London 2018 – one of the most popular in the world, apparently, and an amazingly inclusive, accessible and ever-evolving WordPress community event. Not that the others aren’t brilliant too, but London was my first (just two years ago) and the one that I help with, on the organising team now. So far the family have not pushed me to justify the amount of time I give to this but overall, well, WordPress has provided me with a means to create and support websites, so this is one way to give back, but also working from home means I don’t get out as much as a “normal” person might. I really can go days without seeing people other than my kids and briefly my husband; thankfully they are awesome so having my friends online can work for me most of the time. And then there is the WordCamp Awesome Effect – many of us experience this – you come away feeling inspired and raring to get back to business, and this year, for me, a feeling that I can do anything (useful in a year with some big ambitions). Each year this feeling amplifies and the result on my work is significant – I get more done, feel I “can” more than usual, and perhaps especially after this year of prolonged winter and catching cold after cold. Right now, I am awesome personified. Now to bottle that and go for it!
But why should you attend a WordCamp? Surely it is just full of geeks and techies. Not so. The talks are varied to appeal to anyone working with WordPress – so there are business development talks included with the tech talks and design talks, and peppered with self-development and care too. Stuff that makes a WordCamp useful for more people than you might imagine. You can see what previous events have included by looking at previous years for each WordCamp, for instance London will have https://2018.london.wordcamp.org/ and the previous year is therefore https://2017.london.wordcamp.org/; you can see all the WordCamps here. If I could go to one every month, I would.
Anyway – geeks and techies – they are actually really rather lovely. The whole atmosphere at a WordCamp is positive and I’ve yet to come across anyone who is not energised as a result.
This year the rather wonderful Ana Silva was our team lead and I’ve utterly enjoyed working with her. She provided exactly the right touch of leadership so that we felt trusted to get on with the job but knew she was there, keeping us on track and there for whatever we needed. I believe it is testament to her leadership and the supportive ethos of the team and community that I have suggested myself to lead next year (but do not tell the husband; he’ll have a fit). I would love the opportunity and have thought it through very carefully, taking into account my mobility and at times energy limitations , plus the fact that I am self-employed and so not sponsored in any way – but why not? We’d need more on the team, and to start as early as possible – generally allow the maximum wiggle room for everything, but the thing is, Jenny Wong in 2016 and 2017 and then Ana this year have set up and grown a system that anyone can follow. The Playbook – a document that basically means anyone can pick it up and cover the event if the lead cannot be there. We add to this every year, honing the event to the wonderful thing that it is. And now that the event is over and we wrap things up we could take the view that we are doing it again next year so what information do we really want to remember and carry forward, what do we want to do better or what can be replaced. You can be sure I’ll be picking everyone’s brains so that the team can continue the awesome that grows each year.
I did not get to watch any of the talks but know the videos will be live as soon as can be uploaded and many speakers share their slides too. I’ll spend a good deal of time following the links via Twitter and will update this post when the recordings are available for all of us.
There was a workshop for local school children on the Friday, led by Mike Little (a co-founder of WordPress and rather lovely chap too) – how amazing is that! It was a treat to see them walk in, a full classroom of kids, and go away with their special t-shirts, all having made their own websites. Love it.
And I want to say thank you – to Ana for having me on the team, to the team who really nailed it all, to the volunteers, my lovely volunteers, who got on with it and did not notice I was not there on the Sunday (my youngest’s birthday so had to leave Sat night), indeed seemed to be even more awesomely led by Ceri Power – I was not necessary – that is brilliant and exactly how it should be. Anyway – I think you get the idea that WordCamps are the best thing. Do go to one, and if you’re not sure about not knowing anyone, volunteer so you have to talk to people and get involved. Mind you, that’s what I did and look what I think I can do now…