What is a WordCamp and What Was Artbees’ Takeaways From WordCamp Thessaloniki 2018by Maziar Firuzmand
I have been in WordPress industry for 8 years now, and if you ask me what the best thing about WordPress is, I’d instantly say it’s the culture.
WordPress may be the only CMS that is built around a culture of giving. WordPress is basically a free publishing platform and millions of people, businesses and brands are using this platform to launch websites and run businesses without paying anything for their publishing platform or the company behind it. Artbees is one of these companies.
Affected by this culture of giving, many of these people and businesses tend to give back to WordPress in different ways. One of which is through WordCamps. WordCamps are events organized by the WordPress community for the WordPress community. Every year, dozens of events take place in different countries and cities, and thousands of people get together to share, learn and experience everything WordPress! Together.
One of them was held this past week in the beautiful city of Thessaloniki and Artbees had the pleasure of attending it and meeting the Greek community of WordPress. There are many activities done in a typical WordCamp event. There are two types of local and continental WordCamps and based on that, different elements may be included in a WordCamp event.
Everyone who has a story worth the WordPress community’s attention comes on stage and presents their story. While talks are related to WordPress most of the time, they don’t necessarily always have to revolve around it. Anything that may come useful to the WordPress community, from development to design to marketing to mindfulness, may be found among the discussion topics in WordCamps.Talks are held within different tracks based on the size and type of the WordCamp event and may take 10 to 40 minutes based on its format.
WordCamp Thessaloniki had some interesting topics such as:
- IA For WordPress by Lena Lekkou
- Using Acceptance Test in Your Plugin by David Remer
- The Art of Inbound Marketing, Revolutionize your Digital Presence by Marina Vasilevska
- Modern Development Practices with Gulp by Alessandro Kaounas
- The 7 Pillars of Design (and how they apply to our lives) by Raffaella Isidori
Maziar from Artbees talked about WordPress & the Problem of Diversity
I had the pleasure of kicking off the talk sessions in WordCamp Thessaloniki on Saturday, December 15, by speaking about WordPress & the Problem of Diversity. This was an examination of diversity within the WordPress community, accompanied by the story of Artbees as an example of a company dealing with diversity or lack of diversity in different forms during its lifetime.
The response to this talks was exceptionally rewarding given the fact that topics such as this are basically less covered in WordCamps or other tech events. Getting such a positive response about diversity was an indication of a diverse and vibrant community of WordPress in Greece. Full video of this session will be available on wordpress.tv soon.
Panel discussions are built around a topic with 3 to 4 guests and a host gathering on stage to discuss a particular topic, share ideas, comments and suggestions for around 30 minutes. A Q&A will then be held for another 10 to 15 minutes. In WordCamp Thessaloniki, I had the pleasure of being a panelist for a discussion regarding Gutenberg — the newly introduced WordPress editor — as the product designer and CMO of Artbees.
It was both exciting and enlightening for me to discuss the hot topic of Gutenberg, the community’s concerns, and the future of WordPress after Gutenberg. While there were differences in viewpoints among the four guests about Gutenberg, the importance and vitality of a new editor was a common theme among all guests. Full video of this session will soon be available on wordpress.tv as well.
WordCamp Thessaloniki was a local WordCamp, but continental WordCamps include Workshop sessions as well, which may take anywhere from 90 to 270 minutes. Workshops are a good opportunity for attendees to get hands-on experience in different technical and non-technical matters.
WordCamp events are run by volunteers and organizers (who are also working voluntarily) and no one is getting hired to do a bit of work, be it managerial work such as organizing and coordinating people or service work like bringing coffees to attendees. So, you may ask who funds these events, right? It’s sponsors. There are two kinds of sponsors:
These are usually permanent sponsor partners such as GoDaddy, Jetpack, Bluehost, and WooCommerce. They have yearly contracts with the WordPress Foundation to sponsor a particular number of WordCamps throughout the year.
Local sponsors are those the organizing team manages to find or those who apply for sponsoring through the WordCamp event’s website. Sponsorship applications follow particular guidelines. For instance, the product or service which is going to be promoted during the event should be licensed as 100% GPL.
Jupiter X sponsored WordCamp Thessaloniki
WordCamp Thessaloniki 2018 was the second WordCamp event Artbees sponsored. We had the pleasure of sponsoring the event with our brand new Jupiter X. We were excited that many in the Greek community of WordPress already knew Jupiter X. In fact, we managed to see many web designers, freelancers, and agencies who are or were using Artbees Themes, Jupiter or The Ken.
Our second experience sponsoring a WordCamp event was more than rewarding since it not only helped us to support an event which is basically run by volunteers without much financial support, but it was also an opportunity to meet and network with the Greek community of WordPress. Additionally, we managed to discover great WordPress-based companies and plugins we will definitely plan to work with in future.
WordCamp events are 2 to 3 days based on their type, but the first day is always the Contributor Day. During Contributor Day, different MakeWordPress teams such as core, design, marketing, training, community, polyglot and more form their contributions team, and people interested in either of these areas join and contribute based on their skills and interests. Contributors get rewarded with a badge from the team they served (terms apply) and/or credited whenever applicable for their contributions.
Unlike the other WordCamps we have attended, the WordCamp Thessaloniki chose the second day for Contributor Day. You could see heated debates and collaboration sessions in the core, community, and other teams. The Artbees team also contributed to the MakeWordPress Marketing team.
Every WordCamp has a Trend
Depending on the date of each WordCamp, one or more themes or topics may be trending in the event, so you can find more talks and workshop about them. For example, the trending topic in WordCamp Europe was GDPR as it was a month after the official launch of GDPR in Europe. Or in WordCamp Thessaloniki, you could see how the talks would center around the release of the new and controversial WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg.
WordCamp Thessaloniki was a great experience!
We have attended local WordCamps in the past, but WordCamp Thessaloniki 2018 was very well organized that you would sometimes think it’s a continental WordCamp! Artbees is so happy it could be an active part of the event both as a sponsor of the event and as speaker in the talks and panel discussion. It was also a golden opportunity for us to know fellow developers, designers, marketers, and WordPress-based agencies in Greece.
We will definitely go back to Greece for more WordCamps in the future, but maybe in summer time or during less-cold weather. I want to thank Evangelia Pappa, Takis Bouyouris, Vasilis Baimas, Kostas Fryganiotis and all other great members of the organizing team for a smooth and rich event, and wish them success in winning the opportunity to run WordCamp Europe 2020 in Athens.