What Do You Get Out of It?

“What do you get out of it?”

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It was Sunday afternoon at WordCamp Columbus. During one of the sessions someone ask how many people had to pay their own way to WordCamps. I was one of a few that raised my hand. Afterward I was standing outside when I was  asked this question by a well respected member of the WordPress community.

My quick answer was this: to meet people and learn more about WordPress. Now, I am not the sharpest tack in the box. I probably could have given a much better answer if I had taken a moment to think about it.

As we all know, WordCamps are low cost conferences that can be 1, 2 or even 3 day events. To me, the cost of a hotel room and a tank of gas make these a very attractive learning opportunity. I am lucky that there are 3 WordCamps in Ohio and I can actually make this a one day trip.

I read this post written by Marina Pape on the WooThemes website after WordCamp Norway and these 2 sentences caught my attention:

“It’s not only for the content. Slide decks are up before talks are over and WordPress TV shares everything if you wait long enough. Business leads and sponsorship opportunities? Maybe for some. But my suspicion is most people do it for the unlikely friendships that form.

Everyone’s heard it, but the best thing you can do at WordCamps is talk to people, because you will definitely learn some things and might just meet a kindred spirit to add to your collection.”

In one way of thinking WordCamps “could” be viewed as a live Knowledge Base. Several sessions are offered, most have a Happiness Bar and you always approach someone with a question.

The Community is mentioned often and is a vital part of WordPress. I really haven’t found anything else that compares. Where else can a WordPress user like myself sit at the same table as some of the top experts in the world and feel comfortable & welcome.

So, when I answered that question with “To meet people and learn more about WordPress” , it may not have been the best answer but  it was good enough.

 

Community

It seems much longer ago than September 2014 that Matt Mullenweg wrote about the WordPress Community and giving 5 percent.

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I had been volunteering as a moderator with WordPress.tv for a few months. When I read Matt’s article, I suddenly realized that I was a part of something so much bigger than I originally thought. The WordPress Community is truly global. Through my involvement with WordPress TV, I have chatted with people not only in North America but in Asia and Europe too.

A few days ago there was an article on the Torque website called “11 Ways To Contribute To WordPress” This is a very good read on several different ways that people can contribute to WordPress.

In mid January there was a posting by Jen on the Make WordPress Community which included a flyer that can be printed out and used at WordPress event.

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Here is the link to the flyer: https://make.wordpress.org/community/files/2015/01/getinvolved-flyer-2015-v001jm.pdf

I plan to attend WordCamps in St. Louis and Dayton next month. Back to back weekends of WordPress awesomeness for sure! I am going to check with the organizers about bringing the flyers to hand out.

 

Five Percent

I first read about Matt Mullenweg’s statement about companies contributing five percent of their people to working on the WordPress core on WPTavern. I then read Matt’s post on his ma.tt site.  This is a great concept!

BUT!

What about small companies? What about people like myself who have no programming skills or experience?

Well, Johnny, I am glad you asked!

We can still contribute five percent!

Think about it. People can volunteer or speak at Meet Ups and WordCamps. Take a look at http://codex.wordpress.org or https://make.wordpress.org  and see if there is an area that you might have an interest in.

I am a big believer in giving back. If I am involved in something and I am getting value from that association, I feel an obligation to give back in some way. I am able to spend two or three hours in the early morning moderating videos at WordPress.tv. This has been a good experience and I have meet some great people. I am able to watch/moderate WordCamp videos from all over the world.

I have been lucky enough to attend four WordCamps this year – Dayton, North Canton, Columbus and Ann Arbor. Dayton and Ann Arbor were first time WordCamps. Each one was great and well worth the time and expense to attend.

Two tweets that were made during these WordCamps struck home for me.

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And….

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These tweets (and many others)  pretty much sum up what WordPress and WordCamps are about.