Tuesday Trainings: I miss giving talks at WordCamps

This year we’ve changed the format of Tuesday Trainings to better get directly at the issues that seem to be on the minds of folks in our community. How are we doing that? Great question. We’re either seeking to answer commonly asked questions or address commonly heard complaints, concerns, and confusions. If there’s a question you’d like to see answered or a topic you’d like to see discussed please share it in the comments or email me at support@wordcamp.org with the subject line Tuesday Trainings. Now onto this week’s topic.

I miss giving talks at WordCamps 🙁

Yeah. I do too. Speaking at WordCamps, even just attending them and speaking with fellow attendees, is always a highlight for me. I love being able to spend time in such an amazing atmosphere with great people and share my knowledge, expertise, or just curiosity with those around me. This pandemic has seen the longest stretch of time I’ve not been to a WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. since WordCamps were invented. It’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to recreate that level of camaraderie in an online space. 

Okay that was just me saying I feel it too. I wanted to make sure you knew I was on the same page with you. But now let’s seek a solution.

Is there anything I can do that is like giving a WordCamp talk while we’re still online only?

First I just want to say that you can still apply to give a talk at an online WordCamp. I know it isn’t the same. I know it feels different. But it’s still a good way to share your expertise with others. So that’s an option. For me though it is not THE option. It’s not the one that makes my heart beat harder as I think about connecting with the community. 

For me that has been speaking at WordPress meetupsMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook.. You may be asking yourself what the difference is. Great question. Fantastic question really. What is the difference and why does it matter?

You see we used to have A LOT of WordCamps every year. Hundreds in fact. There were very few weekends throughout the year when there actually wasn’t a WordCamp happening. In fact most weekends if you wanted to attend a WordCamp you had your pick of two or more. Now the WordCamp calendar is all but empty save for online, often regional WordCamps. 

But do you know what there are a lot of? WordPress Meetups. There are WordPress meetups every week. And most of those meetups are looking for speakers. And while these events are still happening online in most of the world, they have started to much more closely resemble the feel of small grassroots WordCamps. The audience is smaller and more interactive which gives you a better chance to connect with individuals and get to know them. There is time and allowance for Q&A and audience discussion. There are a bunch of people who know each other from an existing community. But even with all that local togetherness it’s not surprising to see a familiar place from somewhere else in the country or even the world. But somehow you also get to feel yourself connecting with the community you’re talking with. For me it’s been a rediscovery of my love of connecting with WordPress communities.

Is there anything else I can try, maybe something even more interactive?

Well I’m glad you asked. Because there is but you have to stick with me for a moment because it might not seem, at first, like I’m right. But I assure you I am. 

Have  you thought about contributing to Learn WordPress

I know, it’s not an event. And it’s new. And you have to apply and do a whole thing to make it happen but hear me out. 

You can have all the fun of presenting without the pressure of being perfect in one take. Your message can get in front of an infinite number of people because, just like a WordCamp talk, these videos are uploaded to WordPress.tv for all the community to enjoy. And while I realize none of this is interactive and it might not have that community feel to you, the part that comes next is all interaction.

Once your Learn session is posted you can organize a discussion group to talk about your session with those who have attended it. Or you can skip the whole part where you create a talk and you can find a topic you’re interested in and lead a discussion group with others about it. Even if the talk isn’t one that you created.

But it’s still not a WordCamp talk…

I know. These are not perfect solutions. But right now more than ever I’m feeling the truth of perfection being the enemy of good. If you miss the WordPress community it might just be time for you to get out there in the best way you can right now. 

Whether that’s attending a meetupMeetup Meetup groups are locally-organized groups that get together for face-to-face events on a regular basis (commonly once a month). Learn more about Meetups in our Meetup Organizer Handbook., speaking at one, creating a workshop, hosting a discussion group, or just reaching out to others in WordPress SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/. to see what they’re up to. Let’s make sure we’re all staying connected and keeping the spirit behind the WordPress community alive.

What can I do about it RIGHT NOW?

If you’re interested in speaking at some meetups leave a comment below to let WordPress Meetup organizers know what you’d like to speak on. Teams are always looking for speakers, this could be a chance to make it easy on them.

If you’re interested in contributing to Learn WordPress head on over to Learn.WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ to get involved.