This weekend I attended my very first WordCamp event in London #WCLDN. I was really looking forward to it and the opportunity to meet up with people whom I had got to know online in the WordPress Community. It was an incredible event for many reasons and here’s why.
The WordPress Community, WordCamp and Collaboration
My experience of the WordPress community to date has been an extremely positive one. It is an incredibly supportive and nurturing community where every person within it is respected and valued. It does not matter whether you have 2 months, 2 years or 20 years’ experience, everyone has something to bring to the table.
People come from all walks of life and backgrounds and there’s something new to be learned from every conversation you have. You come away with a little nugget of gold from everyone you meet and the best feeling of all is one where you have been able to help someone else. I can’t tell you the number of “light-bulb moments” that happened over the weekend for lots of us!
I know a number of us have come away feeling encouraged, motivated and confident. In a community where many of us work alone, it is fulfilling to feel a sense of belonging to something bigger and a safe place where we can talk about matters close to the heart, after all, we are our businesses and agencies!
You may know that I am part of the WP Elevation community and it was a thrill to meet other Elevators in person after talking for so long online. It was like meeting up with old friends!
I also got to meet people I knew of in the WordPress Community but who I had never had a direct conversation with before. I was a pleasure to meet Dan Maby who was a major organiser of the WordCamp London event, Andrew Palmer from Elegant Marketplace, Nathan Wrigley from WP Builds and Sebastian Webb from Microthemer.
My favourite word. There’s nothing more rewarding than being collaborative. You can be collaborative in a number of ways. Perhaps the most obvious way is by teaming up with someone and working together on a new project or developing new processes or even a product.
It doesn’t have to be as big as this either. You can collaborate by just bouncing ideas off one other, talking ideas through and helping others by sharing your experiences or knowledge to help them or be supportive just by listening and helping them work their thoughts, ideas and worries.
Collaboration can also be about introducing people you know who can help each other to make that project happen or lend that expertise to someone who needs help and advice.
It is so easy to underestimate the small things you do, most probably without thinking, that can make a big difference to someone else.
The big emphasis of a WordCamp event, of course, is to learn new things. The event is structured around a series of presentations throughout the weekend ranging from technical subject presentations, hot and current topics, development and business topics.
There were some extremely knowledgeable individuals who spoke at the event, many of them speaking at WordCamp for the first time. There’s nothing more inspiring than sharing your passion and that passion shone through in the presentations that I attended.
Piccia Neri – UI That Rocks Piccia Neri
Lee Jackson – Developing Your Story Agency Trailblazer
One of the biggest parts of the event was the inclusivity. The venue was excellent in terms of physical accessibility. A variety of dietary requirements were catered for at the event and each presentation was subtitled so that it was easy to follow the presenters, especially in the bigger halls, so we didn’t miss out on what the speakers were saying.
One of the topics that really resonated with me was the talk that Maja Benke did on Accessible Design. The presentation went through the aspects to consider in web design to make sites accessible to all. There are things that, as web designers and developers, that we can all do to make the websites we build as accessible as we can by bearing in mind and applying a few basic principles. It should be the foundation of all design, to then build the website from that starting point. To be inclusive is something that we all want in every walk of life, whatever the challenges are that we face. I will be writing more about Accessibility and what it entails in a future blog.
Maja Benke – Accessible Design wp1x1.de
The tech industry can be very male-dominated and sometimes this can make it a more challenging arena for women to progress their careers. I have only found the WordPress community to be extremely inclusive in this respect and each person in the community, whoever they are, are valued and respected. The fact that the WordPress community has such an inclusive ethos makes it an environment where people can thrive to be the best that they can.
Biggest Takeaways from WordCamp London
So, in summary, here are the biggest takeaways for me. For me, WordCamp London has been a place of:
If you work with WordPress and get the opportunity to go to a WordCamp Event then I recommend you do. Events take place all around the world so there should be one near you at some point. If you want to find out more about WordCamp London 2018 you can visit the website here
The presentations from the event will be available to watch through WordPress.tv as soon as they are published.
Listen to a Podcast from Lee Jackson at Agency Trailblazer all about WordCamp London 2018: A grouping of recordings, myself included, calls and soundbites from the event.
A huge thanks to everyone I spoke to during the event and continue to build those very important relationships, now and beyond in the WordPress community.