You may be asking, “Meagan, What are these WordCamps you keep talking about?”
A WordCamp is a fun, friendly, accessible, and affordable unconference where one can learn pretty much everything about using WordPress to create websites. From technical support through to marketing advice, and everything in between – if it’s related to the web, you’ll find it at WordCamp!
Each WordCamp is different based on the needs of each city’s community. Check out the Official WordCamp Website for a more detailed explanation and to see a list of the known upcoming WordCamps around the world. And check back often, as WordCamps are always being created!
This past weekend I spoke at WordCamp Toronto 2013, aka #WCTO2013. This year it was a 2 day event, jam-packed with great speakers and hands-on workshops. As a result of the ever-growing Toronto WordPress community, Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus became the venue host. And what a lovely location indeed – take a look at how gorgeous and happy this Happiness Bar was:
Happiness Bars are one of my favourite WordCamp features. The sheer Happiness that comes from people finding a solution to a long-standing problem, or having an answer to a question that has bugged them for months, is so very inspiring. Taking a picture of that exact moment is a challenge for even the most skilled photographers, but I encourage you to explore the Flickr pool and see those moments of happiness for yourself!
This year, 4 concurrent tracks were offered for Day One: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Watusi (a grab bag for those hard-to-classify offerings). One is free to attend any session they desire – you do not have to stay in one track all day. In fact, you can learn quite a bit by diving into the deep end and attending a session completely foreign to you.
As is tradition, the Afterparty was filled with engaging discussion, entertaining dancing, and enjoyable company. Did I mention the adorable snacks? They had those too! You know what they say – never leave a WordCamp without at least making an appearance at the Afterparty 😉
The real magic happened on Day Two, a day filled with interactive panels, workshops, and classes of all kinds. As most of you know I’m a big fan of interactive communication, so it was with great pleasure that I joined my fellow WordPress speakers on the Marketing and Blogging panel. Not only was the discussion engaging and entertaining, filled with tips and tricks of all kinds, but many laughs and smiles were shared as well! Following this, Ruth Maude of Dandelion Web Design and I hosted the Drop In Website Clinic, where audience members submitted their website and received constructive feedback from those in the room. With such great diversity in website designs/purposes/audiences, every participant walked away with ideas and inspiration for taking their own projects to the next level!
Slides, Handouts, Et Cetera
The slides for my talk, “DIY Or Have It Made? Here’s How To Decide!”are available here on Slideshare. This presentation offers an overview of the entire website creation process and lists the many roles and responsibilities involved. Of course, not every site needs every role and responsibility, but it’s a good list to pick from when starting your own project.
Sidenote: the slides mention a handout – it’s a limited-print zine (you know me, I was feeling creative!). Thankfully there are 30+ people with it in their hands, if you really want the handout, find one of those people and ask nicely for a copy! (Hint, try using the #WCTO2013 tag on Twitter.) As a bonus, I guarantee that by doing this, you’ll make a great WordPress friend, quite possibly even an accountabilibuddy 🙂
Sadly, you can’t get a copy of our little WordPress Ukelele Jam. That was a very limited-time performance for those in the room that day… or at least I didn’t record it!
And with our little community song left playing in my mind, my Ontario WordCamp Tour 2013 draws closer to an end. But fret not, my Pressy friends! Planning for WordCamp Ottawa 2014 is already underway, and I’m pleased to be contributing my skills in bringing it to you next year. Connect with the WordPress Ottawa Group on Facebook to stay in the loop!
I hope to see you there, at many other WordCamps around the world, and online with blog posts and other communications! Remember – while WordCamp might end, the friendships you make and inspiration you gain can live on forever, if you believe and keep the spirit alive 🙂