Not too long ago I was listening to my local National Public Radio station and heard a segment about an upcoming event in Cincinnati, OH for WordPress called WordCamp. When I heard the broadcast on the radio that day my ears perked up. This is because once upon a time a couple of years ago I was fooling around on my computer and started a free WordPress blog. It had been sitting dormant until recently when I purchased a domain name. So after listening to the show I decided to register for the camp with the intent of picking up some information that might help with setting up my blog and understanding some of the features of the software.
Turns out I found what I was looking for and also came away with 5 unexpected takeaways:
1. I didn’t expect to come away understanding open source software. I’ve heard the terminology and had a loose grasp on the concept. One speaker explained it well and recommended the book The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric S. Raymond which I have on hold at my local library. (This even led to an aha moment later when I was home cooking which I’ll tell you about another time.)
2. I was awestruck with the changes to my alma mater. WordCamp 2016 in Cincinnati was held at the University of Cincinnati’s main campus. I am a UC alumni so I didn’t expect to be so taken with the campus. The old building architecture has been smoothly joined with some marvelous more modern looking buildings bringing back feelings of nostalgia combined with excitement and curiosity. I didn’t expect to have such an awesome lunch catered by Classic Fare Catering leaving no doubt one of the best ways to my heart is through my stomach!
3. I was also surprised to hear so much emphasis on community & networking. It makes sense due to the nature of the WordPress project. I learned about resources available within the virtual WordPress community. I also learned about in person meet-ups within the community. I had been having a few small glitches that I was unable to work through on my own and learned what a WordCamp Happiness Bar is like. They had my problems fixed in less than 10 minutes.
4. I didn’t anticipate getting a refresher course on writing. I was given tips to remember when writing content and headlines. I wasn’t really looking for writing instruction, but was glad to get reinforcement of information I’ve learned before.
I enjoyed learning some new tips and tricks I’ve never heard before too. For instance, when you can’t think of anything else just write about or post cute pictures of cats or kittens.
5. Lastly, I certainly didn’t expect to be presented with information that would have me consider posting video content. I don’t mind watching a video from time to time on the internet, but hadn’t previously considered including it on my site. After seeing how simple it can be to add it and how popular videos truly are I think I would be foolish not to use it.
Okay. I know. I cheated. Technically that was more than 5 things.
If you’ve never been to a WordCamp I encourage you to go when you see one nearby. Even if you don’t have a website, business, or blog I’m sure you’ll encounter new ideas and interesting people.
What have you got to lose? AND… To quote a WordPress guru, “It’s only forty bucks!”