(Updated to keep in tune with WordCamp Kathmandu 2017) WordCamp Kathmandu 2017 is only a few days away. It is the country’s most popular WordPress conference with the number of attendees, from experienced designers, developers, and writers to just enthusiasts and beginners, in the hundreds. Many of the attendees will have already attended WordCamps in the past so they know the drill to getting the most out of a WordCamp. But what if this is your first WordCamp?
The thought can seem intimidating. There are a lot of people, a lot of things to see and learn, and all in a day. Firstly, if you’re not aware of what a WordCamp is and why you should attend one, we highly recommend reading our past article on that exact subject. We have made it easier by linking the post here. Let’s say hypothetically that that post managed to sway you from an “undecided” heart to a “certain” attendee. Then, we move on to the main purpose of this article. That is, to provide you with tips for attending your first WordCamp.
A WordCamp isn’t the easiest thing to step into unprepared. People are welcoming and the schedule is pretty straightforward to follow and plan around, but it can seem a lot if you’ve never been to one before. To help you out, we have taken the liberty to gather some tips that will help you survive a WordCamp. Actually, they will help you do more than just survive; they’ll show you how to have a blast.
TIPS FOR ATTENDING YOUR FIRST WORDCAMP
Because each WordCamp is organized by local volunteers, no two WordCamp conferences are the same. Therefore, it is imperative to stay organized. From the location of the venue, the talks and their timing, and even the assigned parking lot. Ready your laptop, notepads, pens, and yourself.
Keep Track of Your Attendee Badge
Your WordCamp attendee badge is your admission to the conference and contains coupons and your food tickets!
Bag Your Swag
After the registration, you can check out a variety of merchandise from the sponsors of the event like t-shirts, key chains, pens, and such. They are absolutely free! And who does not love free stuff? But the problem with free stuff is they go fast! The key to getting the good size t-shirts and other merch from sponsors is to get them early. So right after registration is a great time to check out the t-shirts and grab swags.
Know the Schedule/Tracks
Usually, WordCamps follow some sort of structure like this:
- Opening Remarks
- Morning Sessions
- Afternoon Sessions
- Closing Remarks
WordCamp sites will post a schedule ahead of time and usually have a printed schedule at the event. Just pick out the sessions you want to attend and roll with it.
Leverage Social Media
From personal experience, Twitter is the most effective social media platform to leverage during WordCamp. Because every WordCamp has its own unique hashtag, you can easily follow it to see what’s going on in other tracks or who else is in attendance. When you attend a track, it’s common to tweet insights from the presentation speaker – they’ll really appreciate the shout out – or simply let the speaker know you enjoyed their track and think they did a good job. This is also a great way to let others at the event know what you are interested in and may encourage them to connect with you.
Another social media tactic that is becoming increasingly popular is live video. Facebook Live is a fun way to connect with your Facebook audience and give them a behind-the-scenes look at what’s going on.
Don’t Be Shy and Self-Conscious. Network.
WordCamps attract many different folks who work with WordPress in diverse ways like bloggers, developers, hobbyists, designers, etc.
So, if you’re a blogger, know that you’ll find people like you. Don’t assume that you’ll be the only representation of your personal or professional demographic.
You’ll also meet famous people at WordPress. Well, famous in the WordPress world at least.
You may get a little star struck, you’ll want to meet them, but you might be tempted to walk away if a lot of people are talking to them, they just look particularly busy and important or you are simply shy.
Remember that WordCamps are extremely welcoming. Walk up to them, be confident, smile, introduce yourself, and strike up a conversation. Everyone there is looking to make new friends and possible business partners, employers and employees.
The happiness bar, lunch, and after-party are all great ways to do all that. They are also great to try and connect with speakers. Sometimes WordCamp speakers are limited on time for questions after their talk, so connecting with them after can allow for more time to really connect.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun
The whole point of WordCamp is to learn, engage with others, and be a part of the wonderful WordPress community. Let go of all the inhibitions and have fun. You’ll be wiped out by the end of the day – information overload, awesomeness overload, and social overload. But chances are high you’ll already be thinking about your next WordCamp…
We hope these tips for attending your first WordCamp will help you ready yourself for the upcoming WordCamp Kathmandu. We are so excited and cannot wait for WordCamp to begin. Hope to see all the old and many new faces.
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