WordPress is more than a blogging platform. It’s a worldwide community of folks brought together by a common love of the blogging/content management system that has changed the way about 15 percent of us build a presence on the internet. One of the ways the community comes together face-to-face is at WordCamp conferences.
What’s it like to be a camper?
I attended my first WordCamp in Phoenix earlier this year. From the very beginning of my experience with the event I was nothing but impressed. A key factor in WordCamp success, based upon the two I have attended, is that there is no profit motive. It’s fellow community members organizing an event for and with other community members. Speakers aren’t paid either. They volunteer to speak and cover all their own expenses. Best of all, anyone can attend for a very modest fee (typically less than $50).
As an attendee in Phoenix I met some great folks and filled several pages of my notebook with ideas and takeaways. I still communicate with some of those folks on Twitter and other social media channels. Recently, I got ideas for some plugins to solve a WordPress problem I was having from a fellow Phoenix attendee. Overall, it was a great experience and I vowed to attend more WordCamps when time allowed.
When I found out the community was pulling together a WordCamp in Chicago this past summer I decided I would attend and sponsor this event in my own backyard. I’ve benefited far too much from this community to not give back in any way I can. I also asked Shelby if she’d want to apply as speakers and take our She Said, He Said project to a live format. Turns out she said yes and the Chicago organizers extended an invitation to speak. That’s the video you’ll find above and if for any reason you can’t see the embedded video here’s a link to the Jim Raffel and Shelby Sapusek: He Said/She Said video on WordPress.tv.
Also, when I got back from Chicago, I took the time to record my 5 WordCamp Chicago Session Takeaways. This is a habit I intend to follow through on after all future camps I attend.
What’s next for this camper?
Funny you should ask, Shelby and I are attending and speaking at WordCamp Detroit this coming weekend. They’re pulling together what promises to be a unique unconference experience in Detroit and I can’t wait to check it out. I’m also excited to attend camp in a city that is rebuilding and reinventing itself. I mean aside from the 14-16 hours of windshield time with Shelby sitting next me, to get to and from the event it promises to be a perfect weekend!
There is still time to register for WordCamp Detroit. If you use WordPress and can travel to Detroit this weekend you should consider joining us. If you are coming please be sure to track Shelby and me down to say hello. We love meeting the WordPress community at WordCamps.