If conferences are not your thing, I understand. They were never mine either, but only until I attended WordCamp for the very first time. And at my third one, I actually got to speak.
My friends don’t consider me very social, which is kind of ironic since I’m in the business of marketing and social media. But you can’t ever know what you’re good at until you give it a go, right?
And I’m not saying I’m good at public speaking because I’m not. However, I did it only once, so maybe I just need to try again and again until I get a hang of it.
So I encourage you to do the same, by the way. You should always try to get out of the comfort zone, and instead of sitting in front of your computer all day, discover something new about yourself. Perhaps WordCamp is the right place to do it.
In short, if you haven’t been to WordCamp yet, it’s high time you consider going. Let me tell you a story of WordCamp Belgrade, the very first WordCamp in Serbia. It was held in April this year, and I still reminisce about it.
Improving yourself through interaction
WordCamp Belgrade was a pleasant surprise for me. I’ve never seen so many open-hearted people in a single conference hall. There’s certainly something to those open-source communities working on software voluntarily.
From the very beginning of the conference, throughout the presentations and later chatting over drinks, everyone was so friendly and just happy to be there, happy to contribute to the great atmosphere.
WordCamps are packed with knowledge, that’s for sure, but you’ll probably feel more relaxed and energized after attending than you would by lying around doing nothing.
Before, I never understood why anyone would want to travel 3000 km to get to a conference, but somehow here I am, planning a trip to Seville for this year’s WordCamp Europe, and I already feel that it’s going to be the highlight of my summer vacation!
Yes, we have to talk about food. It’s another thing that I found exceptional at every WordCamp I’ve been to. It doesn’t matter what your preferences are, you’ll always find something tasty.
If you’re thinking that WordCamp is just a large meetup, you’re only partly right. The effort that goes into organizing such an event is huge. I’ve been in close contact with the people who pulled it off and I can tell you firsthand that the value you get for the ticket price is insane.
WordCamps are about individuals, like you and me, and our take on how to make the internet a better place, how to make our online presence easier to maintain, how to make our ideas reach greater audience, and how to sell our products and services.
WordCamps have sessions that are meant for developers, designers and entrepreneurs, so if you’re in any of these three categories, you’ll find something for yourself, no doubt. You’ll learn about the WordPress platform and how it can help your online presence.
You’ll also meet many interesting people. People you’ve just occasionally seen in your Twitter and Facebook feeds and, believe me, it’s much better talking to them in person. Everyone’s so approachable and looking to meet others.
Another thing I wasn’t really fond of in the past were parties. With WordCamp, though, it’s different. The afterparties are all about having a good time, relaxing after a long day and connecting more personally with people.
You’ll be able to talk and bond in a way that only dimmed lights and a few drinks can enable. I’ve heard some great life stories, anecdotes and many jokes during the Belgrade’s afterparty.
The organizers always take it a step further with this one and make sure you don’t forget the night out. You’ll probably be a little tired after a long day, so I suggest you take a nap before the party.
Did I mention that there’s always someone to take you sightseeing. You’ll learn about the people, culture and the city, so try not to miss the opportunity if you hear anyone shouting “free tour.”
You feel needed
Contributor day is an occasion for you to work with your peers and a chance for you to talk about code, design, your future endeavors and even partnerships. It’s usually the last day of WordCamp, and it gives you the opportunity to connect with many people who are close to WordPress or even at the source of things.
Use that to your advantage if you’re looking for a career change.
If you want to get involved and get noticed quickly, I recommend you ask around how to become a volunteer and help organize future WordCamps. By being a part of this great mix of work and fun, you’ll get one of the best job references out there.
See you there!
Attending WordCamp has many benefits:
- You learn how to blog and work with WordPress more effectively.
- Manage your business more efficiently.
- Learn a ton about WordPress design and development.
- Learn about marketing and social media trends.
- Meet, engage and contribute to a friendly and helpful community.
- Bonus: Get a free t-shirt, taste great food, meet new friends, and have a lot of fun.
By the way, if you’re looking for a new face to meet at WordCamp Europe in Seville, I’ll be there, so send me a tweet. If you can’t make it, just choose an event near you from the WordCamp 2015 schedule and buy your ticket ASAP!
Photo credit: WPSerbia.