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.

 

2 Replies to “What Do You Get Out of It?”

  1. Good stuff John. I feel the same way. Since I’ve started attending, WordCamps have changed for me into something totally different then they were originally. When I started I was diligently taking notes in every session, trying to learn all the tricks of the trade. Now I’m socializing with friends in the community, giving presentations and seeking out newcomers to help make them feel welcome. They are truly awesome events.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Kyle,

      My ideal WordCamp would be 3 or 4 “must see” sessions and the rest of the day networking / meeting /helping new peeps. Of course throw in the speaker dinner / after party. Columbus was actually the first after party I attended.

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