What is a WordCamp?
Having attended (and spoken at) dozens of WordCamp’s across the US and Canada, I sometimes forget that to people outside the WordPress community, the concept of a WordCamp is foreign. The simplest explanation of a WordCamp is that it’s a conference for WordPress but unfortunately, that description fails to give even the most basic nuance to what a WordCamp really is.
What .. is WordPress?
To truly understand what a WordCamp is, it’s vital to understand that WordPress, an open-source software package that powers about 25% of the Internet, is completely free.
It’s free to download, it’s free to use, it’s free to alter, it’s free to give away.
It’s completely, 100%, absolutely, free.
And that’s where the power of WordPress comes from, not only is it free to use but it’s free to contribute to. If you don’t like the documentation, you can login and change it. If you don’t like the code, you’re free to improve upon it. In fact, if you want to download WordPress today, rebrand it as your own, and fork it, you’re free to do that to.
With that level of openness, it’s no surprise that a community of like minded, enthusiasts emerged .. and that, spawned the WordCamp.
WordCamp’s are, at their core, community run conferences focussed on the WordPress publishing platform. The events are organized, and paid for, but the local WordPress communities, under strict guidelines setup by the WordPress Foundation.
The first WordCamp’s were hosted in San Fransisco in 2006, but these days there have been WordCamp’s in practically every corner of the world, most countries, and it’s even grown to have national / regional events in larger cities.
Who is a WordCamp for?
As with our local WordPress Meetups, WordCamps are open to everyone with an interest in WordPress.
Designers, developers, authors, publishers, marketers, SEO fanatics, photographers, business consultants, local entrepreneurs, travel bloggers … absolutely everybody should find something useful at a WordCamp, especially users who find technology a hurdle for their online business.
Each individual WordCamp is highly focussed on the local market, with sessions and panels formed from the local business community. WordCamp’s are a low-key event, often held on a weekend with both attendies and speakers dressed in casual attire.
Many WordCamp’s feature subjects such as:
- developing themes and plugins for WordPress;
- making money / earning a living online;
- branding and online marketing;
- working with advanced features in WordPress;
Additionally, some WordCamps include:
- training sessions;
- breakout discussion rooms;
- one on one technical support (often called a Happiness Bar)
WordPress.TV has an extensive collection of WordCamp talks that are free to view, and learn from!
If you’re obsessed with WordPress, a WordCamp is for you!
Local Niagara WordCamps
There are a number of local WordCamp’s for us here in Niagara, including our own! If you don’t mind traveling a little ways, here are some great local WordCamps to check out.
- WordCamp Niagara Falls
- WordCamp Buffalo
- WordCamp Rochester
- WordCamp Hamilton
- WordCamp Toronto
- WordCamp Ottawa