My First WordCamp #wcldn

For the ones that don’t know WordPress, haven’t heard of WordCamps (WordPress conferences) or don’t know of the WordPress community, then most probably you don’t know that last weekend the WordCamp London was taking place at the Campus of London Metropolitan University.

I know of WordPress, in fact I have been using it for a few years, I knew of the WordCamps, I attended one 3 years ago over the Internet (live streaming) that was taking place in San Francisco, but I had never physically been in one. Either because I missed it or because I had other plans I hadn’t had the chance to go to one. At some point I considered going to to one in another European city but I was told or was under the impression that the talks would be in the local language that I do not speak; so I decided not to go.

I did not know anything about the WordPress community, because although I wanted to contribute, I did not feel I had enough experience or the necessary knowledge. I could help with the Greek translation but soon enough I realised that there were enough people doing that and the translation was at 100% level. So I abandoned the whole idea altogether. I kept on using WordPress, installing on my server for my clients’ websites, trying all sorts of plugins, installing all sorts of themes, customising them, changing them, making mistakes and learning from them.

Towards the end of last year I checked online and saw that WordCamp London would be between 17 and 19 of March 2017. So, I bought my ticket nice and early. Not knowing what to expect I went quite early on Saturday morning to LondonMet’s Holloway campus for registration and to attend the various talks.

First thing I noticed was the volunteers that were very helpful and knowledgeable. Registration was quick and easy with no queues, very informal and no hassles. I grabbed a coffee and soon I was chatting with another developer who compared to me was a WordCamp veteran. Pretty soon I realised that there is a great community around WordPress. Anyway, I went for the Opening Remarks/Presentation and then started going to the different talks/presentations that were running throughout the day in three different auditoria.

So for the first part of Saturday I wasn’t really impressed by the talks. They were not as much in depth as I would have liked. I am not going to name names, but there was a talk on a subject that I have found difficulties with in the past. So I went to see how the real pros do it; right? Well it turns out that the speaker gave a very nice analogy for the problem, but he did not give out any details. Ho you do it, with what methods, what tools; nothing. Just a nice analogy and loads of notes that he was reading from a screen, funnily enough. I am sure that I would have done a better job at presenting the same subject. It turns out that I am no that inexperienced after all. Talking about it with somebody they told me “we’ll see you present the subject at the next WordCamp, then”.

we’ll see you present the subject at the next WordCamp, then

The second part of the day was better, more useful to me would be the right description. It was better with practical help from people that are definitely WordPress experts. Quite happy by the end of the day, I had to head home for a dinner party so I could not attend the social.

On Sunday morning, back to the WordCamp, for some more talks. The talks that I attended were a mix of WordPress development as a business and hands-on practical things. All in all very informative, interesting and sometimes amusing.

The WordCamp as a whole was very well organised, good value for money thanks to the sponsors who also had loads of freebies (a.k.a. swag) to give away as well as trying to sell you their products and services. There were also a few lucky draws. The best prize was an Elektra coffee machine offered by Timpani. The best freebie in terms of value was 1 year’s WordPress Hosting by SiteGround. And the most useful freebie was a 32GB USB drive by Timpani.

The best thing about WordCamp was meeting all those people who make WordPress what it is

The best thing about WordCamp was meeting all those people who make WordPress what it is. Mainly the contributors as well as the users, bloggers, designers, developers, marketers and everybody else who uses WordPress one way or another.

Would I go again? I certainly would and I will. I promise I will see you all again guys. Thanks to everyone who helped organise WordCamp London 2017 as well all those who attended. Special thanks to @carolinapoena for the chat at lunchtime on Sunday.

I have been looking to see which the next WordCamp I can attend. I might even give a talk on a subject! 😉