What is a WordCamp and getting the most out of them

WordCamps

The greatest thing about WordPress for many of its millions of users is that there is always something to learn and always people willing to help. Many users are increasingly turning to WordCamps as a great opportunity to benefit from the worldwide knowledge of WordPress and the ever-ready willingness of the community to share and inspire.

What is a WordCamp?

WordCamps speaker

A WordCamp is an informal, community-based event, often held over two days, where WordPress users can share ideas on WordPress themes, work on projects, meet like-minded people, promote new developments or just listen and learn.

Although each WordCamp will be different in terms of organisers, speakers and attendees, they follow a similar format in terms of there being:

  • Lectures
  • Demonstrations
  • Presentations
  • Workshops
  • Discussion groups

WordCamps range in size from the premier annual conference in San Francisco, and others arranged under the official WordPress banner, to more frequent independent meet-ups organised by local groups and forums. However, the common thread is that each WordCamp is low-key and affordable for all attendees.

Who attends WordCamps?

WordCamps

Attending your first WordCamp may seem a little daunting. But the truth is there will be plenty of attendees just like you, whatever your status is as a WordPress user. Whether you are a casual user, a beginner, an experienced expert or a core developer there will be people you can relate to, and there is never any discrimination regardless of your technical knowledge or experience.

If you are attending a local meeting you may meet people for the first time that you have been sharing ideas with online. You might meet group leaders or plugin and theme developers that have already inspired or helped you.

What can I get out of a WordCamp?

WordPress users attend WordCamps for many different reasons, but the key objectives are always likely to be achieved. These could be to:

  • Find a collaborator for a project
  • Set up a local discussion group
  • Continue an idea or discussion formed online
  • To get a job or get involved in a plugin or theme development project
  • To solve a bug or set-up issue you have with your WordPress theme or website
  • Just to get inspiration and technical advice on setting up your own website

Keep your eyes open and check one out

News about WordCamps can be found on several different WordPress forums or by finding and following a hashtag on Twitter. The WordCamp Central site also has regular updates on upcoming events. However you find out about an event, when you decide to go you need to act fast. Buy your tickets early because most events will sell out. If you are unlucky and miss out on tickets, or if you want to see what the fuss is about before you attend an event, check out WP Armchair which collates and displays coverage from a wide range of WordCamps throughout the world.

Most of all, don’t be shy and just get involved.

Image credits: WordCamp 2009 2009 by Michael Dorausch, Flickr

WordCamp Fraser Valley 2008 by Raul Pacheco-Vega, Flickr

WordCamp by Scott Beale, Flickr