When you use a technology stack, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the roadmap and where things are going. This can be done by following the news, but I believe that you also need to connect with the people who are building and using it. WordPress is a useful tool, well-known for its strong and highly-opinionated community. I decided to attend the WordCamp Netherlands 2022 conference with the team.
My personal goal was to meet some new people, reconnect with the regional WordPress community, and take inspiration from the talks. On the other hand, I also wanted to give back to the community by sharing knowledge and insights.
My WordCamp Takeaways
Talk: The Brand of You
When it comes to personal branding, it’s easy to limit your thinking of it as “being influential”, but it’s so much more! Vassilena Valchanova introduced “The Value Flywheel”, a 3-step process to help you become a person of value.
Everything starts with being present; the world must become aware of your existence. Then you should bring value to people by sharing your knowledge, so your network becomes aware of your specialties and can relate to your message. Getting people to engage is the next step. This can only be achieved by bringing interesting and valuable information to the table. It’s also possible to share personal information. To close the flywheel and grow your reach, the impact of engagement from your network should reach new people.
Hearing this talk reminded me of my mission to help communities grow and thrive. My first step will be to restart the WordPress Hasselt Meetup and then I will visit other Meetup groups in Europe. 🤩 Maybe even give a talk?
Talk: WP & IndieWeb as OSs of the Web
On a more technical conceptual level, Ton inspired all attendees with his talk about IndieWeb. Most of the content we put online is only visible in the silos of the GAFAM companies. As developers of websites and platforms, it’s important to know there is a whole other world of tools and protocols to connect independently and make content known to your network. Ton introduced himself as a “home cook developer”, who built scripts and automation on top of IndieWeb tools. One of his most important tools is his WordPress blog, which he considers to be his OS.
In his talk, Ton made a pledge to use WordPress comments with microformats to make IndieWeb stronger and more user-friendly.
I disabled the comments, trackbacks and pings on this blog to prevent being spammed. Ton gave me a good reason to open them (again) and use them as a tool to connect with people.
The (underrated) Hallway Track
Going to a (WordPress) conference also involves meeting new people. The WordPress community is so diverse; you can always connect with like-minded people or be challenged by different opinions.
During one of the coffee breaks we discussed the new foldable phones: they widen their screens! So how should we, as OSs of the web, implement this behaviour? Do the browsers trigger an event that we can use to write the code to enable a resize? Should we introduce new breakpoints? Make everything even more fluid? Theme and editor developers will have to find a way to handle this.
Another important aspect of WordPress is the updates; both Core and plugin updates must be executed regularly! As a website owner, you need a process for this.
Often, you can just click the update button. But how can you be sure the updates were carried out flawlessly? How can you automate the control process? Richard and I discussed some possible approaches to delivering high-quality updates.
It’s been a very long time since I attended/organised a WordCamp, but I will join them more frequently. Apart from the in-person meetings, there are many opportunities to meet and collaborate online.
Thanks to the organising team, and see you next time!