WordCamp: What is it and Why to Attend One?

(UPDATED to keep in tune with WordCamp Kathmandu 2017) Hey, WordPressers, WordCamp Kathmandu 2017 is not far away – May 20 – and the organizers are putting the finishing touches on this fabulous event dedicated to WordPress. If you haven’t yet registered, get your tickets before they’re gone.

Lunch, some cool WordCamp swags and drinks to the after-party are included with every ticket purchase, which probably makes WordCamp Kathmandu 2017 the best WordCamp in Nepal to happen to-date.

In this post, I hope to convince you that if you can attend a WordCamp, you really should. You’ll get more from a WordCamp than you could from years of reading WordPress blogs, buying WordPress books and subscribing to WordPress vlogs.

What is a WordCamp?

A WordCamp is a fun, nice, open and free place to be. Informal and community-organized conference centered on WordPress. These events are organized, paid for, and attended by the local WordPress communities in accordance with guidelines published by WordCamp Central and principles of the WordPress Foundation. They are unlike any other web industry event. They have a format and an atmosphere all of their own and that makes them very special.

Who is it for?

It is open to all, and WordPress users, developers, designers, and other enthusiasts should all feel welcome at a WordCamp, regardless of their experience level. WordCamps do no discriminate.

What can you expect?

WordCamp is all about WordPress. All content is firmly focused on using or developing on WordPress. Issues around blogging, business and social media that pertain to WordPress use may be included.

WordCamps are not meant to be big, fancy, expensive conferences. It is meant to be low-key local gatherings that allow everyone to attend, meet, share, and learn WordPress together. However, it is not uncommon to meet attendees and speakers from other parts of the world.

Sessions generally span a variety of formats, including lectures/presentations, workshops, Q&A, panels, interviews and much more.

Reasons to Attend a WordCamp?

Affordable Attendance

While many conferences are profit-driven, most WordPress events remain affordable, continuing with the platform’s open-source philosophy.

This is especially true for official WordCamps, with prices capped at a very reasonable about $20/day, which includes lunch – many WordCamps cost even less, too.

There are very few events in any industry that can compete with WordCamps in terms of value. With so many events and locations scattered all around the world, attendance is becoming more accessible than ever.

Learning Opportunities

A lot of WordPress experts will be in attendance. If you consider yourself to be a “WordPress specialist” it probably pays to keep abreast with all the latest developments in your industry. What better place to do this than a WordPress conference?

The talks scheduled by the organizers are presented by specialists — the people who have been there and done it all before. Listen to what they say, take it all in, and you could learn a new skill or give yourself a refresh yourself on an existing one.

Meet Like-minded Individuals

The best thing about WordCamps, and about WordPress in general, is the people. Most WordCamps have a few hundred people attend. Some are even larger than over 500 attendees. With these numbers, you can almost always find users who are in similar situations as you. You can totally nerd out about WordPress.

WordPress has a massive community of users and developers with an ethos that’s quite different from many other sections of the web industry. People from the WordPress community aren’t afraid to share their knowledge, expertise and code, and no-one worries about trade secrets. WordPressers don’t worry that you’ll steal business from them if you know what they know because that’s not how they think. People are very welcoming and don’t treat new WordPress users any differently from how they treat old hands.

Work Opportunities

A WordPress conference is a great place to find work or hire the right person. In a room full of WordPress enthusiasts and specialists, there are almost certainly opportunities for you to seize. Perhaps, you’re looking for a skilled developer or you’re that skilled developer that another individual is looking to hire. These opportunities come in all shapes and sizes.

Perks

Though it’s not mandatory, many WordCamps use some of their budgets to create commemorative t-shirts or other swag (this is significantly cooler when there are good designers on the organizing team) and/or to provide food and beverages to attendees at the event. These things should definitely be considered potential perks rather than guaranteed entitlements, as each organizing team decides for itself how to spend the money they’ve raised from sponsorships and ticket sales, and these are often the biggest expenses. Information about what’s included with each ticket purchase will be listed on each individual WordCamp’s website.

Get Inspired

Undoubtedly, your biggest takeaway from attending a WordCamp is the inspiration. Meeting people, hearing their personal stories and the way they’ve developed their careers with WordPress will certainly push you to take your business forward and explore new opportunities.

Support Your Local WordPress Community

Because WordCamps are held all over the world, many users take their local event for granted.

A lot goes into planning a WordCamp, though, with volunteers supplying all the man-hours. If people don’t show up, these selfless volunteers rightly question whether that time was well spent. And if they decide the answer is “no,” well, the future of that particular event could be under threat.

If you want to ensure that your local WordCamp is a regular feature on the WordPress calendar, make sure you turn up and show your support.

Fun! Fun! More Fun!

We almost forgot to mention the most obvious part of WordCamps: they’re fun! Getting to geek out for a day or two with other people just as obsessed with WordPress as you are is just plain awesome. You’ll meet people who are crazy smart, insanely inspired and inspiring. Most WordCamps follow the conference with an after-party at a nearby location where you can have a few drinks with your new friends and hatch your (WordPress-based, of course) plot to take over the world.

So… You’re convinced. What Next?

If we’ve convinced you that you should attend WordCamp Kathmandu 2016, that’s fantastic! The next step is to register. If you haven’t, get your tickets before they’re gone.

Attending an event can be daunting – especially if you don’t know anyone there. Fortunately, the famous WordPress community spirit is present at all WordPress events, and people are incredibly welcoming to newcomers.

In other words, don’t let fear put you off. The benefits are there for all to see. I guarantee that you’ll have fun, learn a lot, and meet some great people.

Please share the excitement on Twitter, Facebook, by email, via carrier pigeon, or however, you like. We will be posting the schedule soon — so you can start planning what sessions you want to attend. We’re spreading the news with the hashtag #WCKTM and will be sharing more on our kick-ass speakers and more soon.

WordCamp Kathmandu 2017 is happening on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Hope to see a lot of you there!

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