How to make the most of your WordCamp experience
The internet has changed us, and WordPress has changed the internet. As the world’s leading content management system it has brought access and opportunity to people who may not otherwise have been able to enjoy it.
With that opportunity comes a need for continued and ongoing education – online learning plays it’s part – but there is something very special about WordCamps and the community they provide. There aren’t many conferences in the world where attendees in t-shirts and shorts sit side by side with people in bowties and pinstripes. But there should be.
WordCamps are incredible. If you’ve never been to one before I strongly encourage you to check out WordCamp Central here, and see where and how you can get involved.
One of the downsides to WordCamps are that it’s hard to do justice to everything – and make the most of WordCamp and the opportunities that exist to learn more, and in more depth.
If you’re considering your first WordCamp, or looking for some hints and tips to make your WordCamp experience evnen better – then this post is for you.
For the last couple of years I been a regular attendee of WordCamp Atlanta, work commitments meant I can’t make it this year, so I made time to attend Wordcamp Miami instead. Both were great experiences – but for someone who lives 4,000 miles away in the Highlands of Scotland, not especially local.
Get Away – Make the most of WordCamp Intensives
So why fly 4,000 miles to attend a WordCamp? Well, there’s a few reasons – but mostly it’s what I like to refer to as WordCamp Intensive.
For the last couple of years I’ve taken some time before and after attending a WordCamp to have a ‘WordCamp instensive’. While WordCamps vary in length, most are usually just a day, two or three in length. While you can pack a lot into that time I’ve found having time to prepare for your experiences before hand, and learn from them afterwards makes for a much more in depth experience.
Granted, it’s a luxury – but with the ever evolving world of working on and in the web – giving yourself some time for education is a smart move. I’m a freelancer so it can be hard to give myself the time to learn and recharge – but WordCamp mixed with some good coffee shops has offered me just that.
By coming away to a WordCamp elsewhere I can get myself out of a comfort zone and see what others are working on – the clear head space away from the normal day to day routine also allows me time to dedicate 100% of my time to the Digital landscape and to look behind – and ahead. That’s usually a good investment for me, and my clients.
I can also set aside time to make the use of reading up on notes from WordCamp, including catching up on talks at WordCamps from all over the world over at WordCamp.tv.
Get Involved: Make the most of WordCamp – Support your local WordCamp
I was really pleased to attend WordCamp Edinburgh last year, although it’s still a 150 miles away from home, it’s my local WordCamp.
Whichever WordCamp you might be attending, getting involved in some level is really important – you’d be amazed at how you can contribute to someone else’s WordCamp experience.
Take the time to talk to people, become a volunteer, or submit a talk to present.
With the breadth of people that come along to WordCamps, there is also an incredible breadth of information to share. Sharing information in the Happiness bar is also a great way to help out others who might be stuck with exactly the thing you know about, while WordCamps are focused on all things WordPress – that inevitably includes a wide berth of topics, such as social media, design, writing or photography. Where WordCamps are concerned – sharing is caring!
Get Online: Make the most of WordCamp – Attend by live stream or post event over at WordCamp.tv
Getting to a WordCamp might be prohibitive for a whole lot of reasons, but that doesn’t mean you need to miss out!
An increasing number of WordCamps now offer a live stream service of sessions – and a vast video archive of previous sessions can be found over at WordCamp.tv – it’s an incredible resource and sums up the wonder of WordPress beautifully. Open source education for all. If you haven’t found it yet – take a look.
Wherever you’re headed – have a great time WordCamping.
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