This past weekend, I went to WordCamp Nashville. It was a lot of fun — I helped at the Happiness Bar for most of the day, and also attended a session on Women in WordPress. Because my friend Jen was there, I also found myself the proud co-organizer of a brand new WordPress Meetup group — the Olean WordPress Meetup! Jen works on the WordPress community — helping grow it safely and in as smart a way as possible, while letting organizers (like me) have the autonomy to make their group an organic entity.
At the WordCamp, I got the chance to catch up with my fellow Automatticians (and I met the family of my friend Daryl, which was a treat), help out a few people, and also — most basically — see the variety of people using WordPress.* That variety is something that is really special and pretty amazing to see first-hand. WordPress is being used by every type of person for every type of reason. This particular WordCamp was interesting to me (although I didn’t realize this before I signed up to work) because 10 of the 22 speakers were women. Such a large percentage is a bit unusual, and the panel session I attended at the end of the day addressed it in part. One of the key take-aways from the session was that it’s important for women to be participants. In anything (not just WordCamp, but also, WordCamp). Show up, participate, and make your voice heard.
Do you know where your closest WordPress Meetup group is? Check here to find out: wordpress.meetup.com. Is the closest one kind of far away? Create your own group! An elusive truth (for me) is that it’s hard to maintain momentum when you’re by yourself. I work at home and during this past winter, sometimes the only time I’d get away from the house/office was to take the kids to daycare. Going to a WordPress event (whether it’s a WordCamp or a meetup for work) is energizing and refreshing. Spending some quality time with my coworkers and other people who are passionate about WordPress is a positive boost. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
*Just to note, WordCamps focus specifically on WordPress.org – the open source software, not WordPress.com.