“Bringing the WordPress community closer.”
Thanks to WordPress, I was able to set up this blog three years ago without any professional help.
Since that time, I have had the privilege of having several online interactions with many other WordPress users and I would say, it has been mutually benefiting. But the interaction has remained online as I have never attended any terrestrial event for all wordpress users.
All that got to change over the last weekend as I attended the WordPress Conference – codenamed Wordcamp Lagos or #WCLagos2018 – on 10 March 2018, where the beautiful packages embedded in the event’s theme of “Bringing the WordPress community closer” began to be unfolded before my very eyes.
For the first time in my life, I was under the same roof for a whole day with many people that have anything to do with WordPress.
Bloggers, Coders, web designers, digital marketers, lawyers, entrepreneurs etc, were there. And you know what, there was something for every one…
According to the information provided by the organisers of wordcamp Lagos on the event site, here is an insight into what a Wordcamp is all about:
WordCamp is an all-encompassing term referring to a conference, a community organized and officially sanctioned event to deal with all things WordPress…
They range from a one-day event to a three-day event depending on the local community organizing it. They comprise of but not limited to conference-like sessions, panels, interviews…, kids-camp, short or multi-hour workshops, and (en)lightning talks.
People attend to share ideas, learn about WordPress, talk about opportunities, and meet other WordPress users in person…
For over a decade now, Wordcamp sessions have been reported to have taken place in many cities across some dozens of countries of the world. Lagos has now joined the league of world cities to have hosted a WordCamp conference.
WordCamp in my City of Lagos
Earlier in the year, I became aware that such a program was coming up here in Lagos – my city of residence; and I had made up my mind to attend.
Gratefully, I realised that my schedule could accommodate it. So three days to the event I was able to complete the online registration and on D-Day I showed up for the workshops.
This was my first experience with a WordPress wordcamp and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
In fact, I later got to understand that this was the first city WordPress conference in Nigeria and in West Africa for that matter.
It was such a huge success by my own estimation, I had to go to one of the organisers to ask, “When is the next one holding please?”
Apart from the fantastic venue chosen for the event – The Civic Center, Lagos – there were many other reasons that made it worthwhile for me. And it is my pleasure and privilege to share my experiences with you.
8 reasons I think you should attend a WordPress wordcamp
1. Improve on your knowledge with WordPress
Generally speaking, the conference improved my understanding of the workings of WordPress as an “online open-source website creation tool” which presently powers 30% of the internet.
And specifically, I also gained improved knowledge in some areas of blogging, search engine optimization, digital marketing, web development in a developing country, to mention but a few.
I guarantee you that should you attend a WordPress conference as I did, there would be something new for you to learn from the various ideas exchanged at the forum.
2. Networking opportunities
It was not all about learning new things. The conference also afforded me the rare opportunity of having face to face interactions and networking with all kinds of WordPress users, from within my country and abroad as well.
From bloggers to web designers, coders, CEOs, digital marketers, online payment companies, photographers, etc, I was able to engage with some of them in very meaningful conversations.
Now I can say that I have expanded my physical sphere of the WordPress community by reason of that conference.
Indeed, the WordPress community was brought closer to me on that day! You can have the same experience too.
3. Inspiration from people
There are many ways to receive inspiration; one of which is through the the people who have gone where you wish to go or have done what you want to do.
Many things about the conference left me largely inspired. But the one that stood out for me was the personal story of Labi Francis, “a blogger, front-end developer, SEO expert, social media strategist and tech enthusiast.”
I sat in his class as he shared the story of how he grew from being a new comer with WordPress to the enviable position where he is right now. His humility was so apparent as he told his story of how WordPress has transformed his life.
And who says WordPress is incapable of changing your own life as well?
4. Very affordable fee
For a pre-registration fee of N3,500.00 (about 10 US dollars) per person, I found the conference to be very affordable and easily within the range of anyone who has any interest in WordPress.
To think that for that amount, you got to listen to multiple speakers, use one of the choicest high profile event centres in town, get one WordPress branded T- shirt for free, have a sumptuous lunch at a magnificent lagoon-front restaurant is nothing short of amazing.
It is an experience you would not like to miss. And I’m glad I didn’t miss it. That’s why I’m sharing my experience with you, hoping that you would be encouraged to attend the next WordCamp event in your community.
5. Some Freebies for everyone
Apart from the free WordPress branded T-shirts already mentioned, there were other free items given out to all participants as well. These included, small shopping bags and WordPress branded stickers of various sizes.
Also, for anyone who needed a taxi ride home after the program, a taxi company which was on ground at the event offered free (or discounted) taxi ride to the tune of two thousand Naira, an equivalent of about six US dollars.
I would definitely have benefited from the offer if I hadn’t driven to the event myself. So you see? There are alot of side benefits waiting for you when you attend a WordPress conference.
The kids were not left out of the conference. The organisers made arrangements that also included kids (under their parents supervision) who have interest in coding, web designing and WordPress generally. The good part was that they were separately and specially catered for, for a fee less than 30% of what the adult participants paid.
Although there might be limited spaces for kids, parents and guardians are encouraged to attend WordCamps with their kids. So next time you want to attend a WordCamp, please do not say no to your teen or preteen geek who wants to tag along with you. Both of you will learn and have some fun in the event.
7. Opportunity to volunteer
I learnt earlier that “All Wordcamp organisers and speakers are unpaid volunteers; they offer their services as a labour of love.”
In the Lagos event, I could see that the volunteers were extremely friendly and very helpful, giving guidance and directions to the attendees during the program. And the help desk lived up to their name: very helpful.
So if you are a WordPress user – front end, back end or anything in between – and you want to offer your services free of charge, for the benefit of the WordPress users around you, a Wordcamp will be a good place to volunteer your time and talent.
During one of the side conversations I had with some people at the conference, I learnt that there are other WordPress meetups which also offer the platform for sharing ideas, volunteering and mentoring.
You may want to seek out the one in your community for active participation and collaboration with other WordPress users.
8. The after-party.
An “after-party for you to meet new friends, business partners, employees, employers, and life partner,” scheduled to take place at the conclusion of the day’s events was also included in the package promised by the organisers.
Unfortunately, I am unable tell you how this one went down because I didn’t wait to witness it. Sorry!
In the final analysis, I was convinced beyond all reasonable doubts that the the Wordcamp event delivered great “content and value” to all the participants.
So if you want to have a swell experience like I did at the just ended #WCLagos2018, please make plans to be part of the next WordPress Conference holding in your community.
What are your own experiences with WordPress Conferences? Share your story in the comment section.
©Copyright 2018 | Victor Uyanwanne