Just came back from WordCamp DFW. It was a great 1-day event in Arlington, TX and probably the only one I’ll get to in 2015. This was the Dallas area’s 2nd in a row since starting back up in 2014 and this year, the venue was bigger, brighter and better for having conversations in the hallways.
This year, they added a Kid’s Camp to show kids how to use WordPress and get them interested early-on.
I always get a tingly feeling before entering a WordCamp. The whole day is stretching out and even though I’ve got a good idea of the sessions I’ll attend, you never know what new, neat people you’ll meet and the conversations and friendships you’ll begin.
When you first walk in, you’re greeted with a great nametag/lanyard and cool swag. I didn’t pick up a lot of stuff this year, but I did get my t-shirt (great color and logo) and printed-out agenda. There was also a colorful Call-To-Action card on Getting Involved With WordPress. Even if you have no or little technical knowledge (like me), you can still help. For example, you can correct spelling and grammatical errors in documentation! I give back by being a WordPress Meetup Organizer for the OKC metroplex. I’ve been doing that now for about 5 years. Always looking for speakers – want to speak?
One of the speakers this year, was Morgan Estes, @MorganEstes, from our OKC Meetup group and also an employee of 10Up. He did a talk on giving back to WordPress called, ‘Scratching an Itch: Taking the First Step to Becoming a WordPress Contributor’. He did a similar presentation for our group a while back. He’s a really great guy and love this tweet from his wife and their oh-so-cute daughter.
Another session I attended was James Dalman’s Freelancer session. I met @JamesDalman several years ago when he worked for iThemes. Now, he’s started Happy Joe. “Our mission at Happy Joe is to stand up for our veterans and help them win the fight at home.” He and a team of volunteers and sponsors do this by holding WP Bootcamps around the U.S. They train veterans (and civilians) in WordPress and business skills so they can support their families. James is a veteran and dedicated to the success of this project.
Every WordCamp has a place where you can go and get your WP questions answered. Usually, I don’t have anything pressing, but this year I did. I visited @scottkclark about a Gravity Forms question. He was very knowledgeable about the subject and I learned a few new things.
There was another WP question I had with a plugin and I was fortunate to get first class help from @LewAyotte from @iThemes. He is a plug-in developer and I had a plug-in problem. We sat on the floor near an outlet for over an hour while he figured out a sticky eCommerce question I had. Eternally grateful for his time – thanks, Lew!
Here are a few that I took – check the Twitter stream for more #wcdfw.
WordCamps Are Amazing
You never know the new friends you’ll make at a WordCamp. I like to meet new people and last Saturday, I got to know two women. I was standing in the back and got to visit with a woman from Virginia, who has a Website development agency. it was interesting visiting with her.
I got my box lunch and went to sit by someone sitting alone and we struck up a conversation. She is very new to WordPress and I had the pleasure of explaining the difference between WordPress.com and .org to her. We talked about what a theme is and how plugins can make your site do even more. I gave her some resources to go to for completing her first WordPress installation as well as some hosting and training resources. The most important advice I give to those new to WordPress is to start with a site. You won’t really learn until you publish your first page or post, add some images, change your theme and add some plugins. You’ll make mistakes, oh yes, but that’s how you learn.
For $20, I got a t-shirt, lunch, all-day training and made and strengthened friendships. If you use WordPress, look for a meetup group near you and go to WordCamp.org and see what WordCamps may be around you.
Of course, $20 does not begin to cover the costs associated with a WordCamp. For that we extend our thanks to all the great sponsors and volunteers who worked many hours to coordinate and make this event a success. Then there are the speakers – probably close to 25 or so who spoke. These speakers don’t get paid and they usually finance their own travel in order to give back to this great community. Thank you!
If you haven’t been able to get to any WordCamps, just visit WordPress.tv for video of many WordCamp speakers – a wealth of information. How will you give back?