For those in the WordPress community who have spent time attending volunteer meetings in various countries across the globe, the WordCamp concept is extremely familiar to you. For others, informal “get-togethers” among programming and designing peers who share common interests may seem a bit difficult to achieve, but as the popularity of WordPress grows, so does the willingness of community members to look for innovative ways to share ideas.
The official website defines the WordCamps as “casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress, the free and open source personal publishing software that powers over 25 million sites on the web. WordCamps come in all different flavors, based on the local communities that produce them, but in general, WordCamps include sessions on how to use WordPress more effectively, beginning plugin and theme development, advanced techniques, security, etc. To get an idea of the types of sessions typically seen at WordCamps, check out the WordCamp channel at WordPress.tv.”
2012 WordCamp Review
WordCamp Central coordinator Andrea Middleton recently posted a rundown of the 2012 WordCamp statistics, which in some areas nearly doubled the results from the previous year. According to Middleton, 15 more WordCamps were held last year (67 in all) than in 2011, with about half of the events conducted outside the United States. The number of sessions presented at WordCamps more than doubled to 967, while the number of event speakers – 877 – also came close to lapping 2011’s results.
One of the most encouraging parameters of the informal meetings is the fact that sponsoring companies increased from 313 to 498; meaning that more businesses are becoming involved and identifying with the value generated by the WordPress open source platform and the community members who are constantly working hard to increase functionality. A total of 22 WordCamps were held at first-time locals last year, with October 2012 being the busiest month overall worldwide with 13 reunions along with one BuddyCamp.
Creation Of WordCamp Sub-Committees
Middleton stated in her post that “this year, we also expanded the video camera kit program, which ships video camera equipment from WordCamp to WordCamp, to reduce the cost of recording WordCamp sessions. We now have 8 kits in the US, 3 kits in Canada, and 2 kits in Europe. Related: 445 WordCamp videos were posted to WordPress.tv in 2012, almost double the number from 2011.”
The registration process has evolved, with the CampTix plugin now used to manage and sell WordCamp tickets. Late last year, a WordPress Events contributor group was formed, and there are now six sub-committees in charge of improving WordCamps: WordPress.tv Event Moderators, New Organizer Mentorship Program, Multi-Event Sponsorship Program, WordCamp Base Theme Page Templates, Event Planning Training Materials, and the Review WordCamp Guidelines sub-committee.
Upcoming WordCamp Events
There are 11 WordCamps scheduled from now through April 2013; four of which will be held within the United States (Georgia, California, Tennessee, and Florida). On February 9th, a camp will be held in Bologna, Italy with a subsequent camp set for February 20th in Jerusalem, Israel.
In case you’re wondering the first WordCamp ever was organized in San Francisco, California by Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg in 2006. WordCamp Central says that “WordCamps are attended by people ranging from blogging newbies to professional WordPress developers and consultants, and usually combine scheduled programming with unconference sessions and other activities.”
Brainstorming is an integral part of these events, but sharing WordPress news and ideas is probably the most constant facet of the meetings. WordCamps allow developers and designers to put ideas into actual themes, plugins and applications.
If you would like to find out more about how you can attend a WordCamp in your area, you can refer to the 2013 event schedule. There is also a separate page dedicated to providing insight to first-time attendees on what to expect when they participate in their initial WordCamp.