Guide to attending your first WordCamp

So first things first, what is WordCamp?

wapuunder wordcamp brisbane 2015

WapuUnder

WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. The first WordCamp was held back in 2006, in San Fransico and the first WordCamp Australia was not long after that in Melbourne 2007. There have been 11 WordCamps down under since then in Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. Seems Queensland is the place for WordCamps and Brisbane will be holding it’s second this coming July.

Although I have been using WordPress for over 5 years, in one way or another, and developing full time for almost 4 years now, I attended my first WordCamp in 2016. Being someone who does not like to do things by halves, I also spoke at this WordCamp as well. So far I have attended two WordCamps and have been a speaker at both and believe nothing has had more of a positive impact on my knowledge and, most importantly, confidence as WordPress consultant/developer than these events. If you are thinking about simply attending, stop thinking and click the “Purchase Ticket” button and if you think you have something to share, then Apply to Speak.  Here is how to prepare for your first WordCamp.

Pack the Essentials

wapoolaba wordcamp sunshine coast 2016

Wapoolaba

However, you like to take notes, Laptop, iPad, good old pen and paper, make sure you have everything you need. All your cords, chargers, spare pens/pencils and prepare a backup. If you use your laptop most of the time, make sure you have a backup method as there is a good chance you will run it flat. There will be camera’s in the events and each session will be recorded, with the speakers making their slides available at the end. You will also have plenty of chances to talk with speakers during the event and at the social after-party on Saturday.

Get your Social Media sorted

social media is used heavily during the event, twitter, facebook, snapshot, Instagram etc. It’s a great way to ask questions and share what you have learnt during the day or during a session. It’s also a great way to connect with each other and make new connections in the community.

Ask questions, talk to everyone if you can.

At some point in time, we all needed to know something more or perhaps, share an idea and see others think. I believe confidence is the greatest barrier to progressing in any profession, the dreaded “imposter syndrome”.  I suffered from it for a long time and I can safely say there is no more welcoming community than WordPress, it’s all about sharing and I know love nothing more helping people learn more and sharing my ideas. I always follow one simple rule, never BS. If you don’t know, say you don’t know and you will most likely have someone recommended who does know.

Most Important, Have FUN!

Wapuura sydney wordcamp 2016

Wapuura

WordCamp is about learning and I guarantee you will come away with so many ideas and so energised, you will be looking for the next event as soon as you get home but don’t forget to enjoy yourself. There is a great social on Saturday night, usually held within walking distance of the event. This will be another great opportunity to ask questions, share ideas and make new connections. Make sure you have plenty of business cards to share around with all new friends and contacts, your phone is fully charged to enter in those details or you have a notepad handy as you will need it.

If you still have doubts, have a look for your nearest WordPress Meetup at https://www.meetup.com/. There are meetups all around Australia and as many as 5 WordPress meetups, at one time or another during the year, in south-east Queensland alone. They are not full of geeky code guys, not completely anyway, they are from all aspects of WordPress. From users to site administrators to front-end developers and social media experts all there for the same reason, to share what they know.

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