WordCamp US, or Why I Love the WordPress Community

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Last week I attended the inaugural WordCamp US, where I spoke as well as attended the Community Summit. The Community Summit “is a smaller, work-focused event. Community leaders gather to discuss and work on issues that the WordPress community faces.” It was a great time, and between that, the actual WordCamp, and Contributor Day, I got to spend a lot of time with folks in the community from all over the world! Here are some of my take aways.

A Distributed, Close-Knit Community

WCUS confirmed for me something I kind of already know from other WordCamps: the WordPress Community is a distributed close-knit one. Arriving in Philly on Tuesday and attending the summit on Wednesday felt like a family reunion. There were lots of people I was excited to see that I hadn’t for 6-12 months or even more. Further, there were people I have only met/talked to online that I got to meet in the real world.

Working with those folks at the summit specifically felt really special – we all came together in one place to discuss important issues surrounding the WordPress community. It was like we work together in an office together every day, developing a rapport where we were candid but respectful.

That close-knit feeling continued through the weekend at the actual conference. As excited as I was to see some really great sessions (and give my own talk), I was even more excited to spend time someplace else.

The Hallway Track

The Hallway Track is when conference attendees congregate in the hallway to network, catch up, and discuss. I got to catch up with a lot of people, spend some quality time with coworkers that I don’t get to see in real life every day, and float some ideas by people whose opinions I value. Getting from place to place took a long time in the best possible way.

Between that and the after parties, I had a blast just talking for 5 days straight. I am so grateful for such an amazing group of people. I loved exchanging ideas, discussing possible partnerships, having candid conversations, and getting incredible feedback on my talk and ideas. I also can’t express how great my coworkers and friends at Crowd Favorite are. It really confirmed that I’m working at the right place, involved in the right community.

Javascript is the Future

If there is one technical takeaway from WordCamp US, it’s that Javascript is going to be very important to every WordPress Theme Developer in the coming years. With the release of the WordPress REST API in 4.4, there will be a big shift. Make no mistake: this is one of those big tech shifts where it’s important to stay on top of what’s happening. These shifts are what drum out developers who don’t want to change.

Thank You WordCamp US!

I want to publicly thank the WordCamp US Organizers first. Putting on a conference of this scale is no easy feat, and if there were any hitches, they went unnoticed by the attendees. You guys and gals did an amazing job; congratulations! I’m really looking forward to next year.

I also wanted to thank everyone who came out to CigarCamp US. I always get nervous planning events like this, especially when there is such stiff competition! I’m happy to say the event was a success! I especially want to thank WP101 for sponsoring our cigars and our generous drink benefactor.

Finally, thanks to everyone who came out to my talk. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and I can’t wait to give an extended version at WordCamps in 2016.

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