Welcome back, WordCamp US

Author: KAdam White

Photo by Paul Clark

Two newbies and three veterans walk into a WordCamp.

A newbie says, “Oh gosh, what do I do?”

A veteran says, “You do you.”

Human Made has long been a proud participant and organiser of WordCamps the world over, and the return to the great WordCamp US was as smooth as we could have imagined. It’s been too long since the WordPress community could gather in numbers within the Americas, but the delay and reduced scale of WCUS did nothing to detract from the energy of our reunion in San Diego last weekend. 

Now that we’re back home, there are so many highlights that flood our minds: 

  • The scale of differences between how people speak up, lean into (or away from) conflict, and do “hierarchy” in the workplace can be vast among cultures.
  • WordCamp is a safe place even for those of us with social anxiety.
  • Conversations aren’t just about WordPress. Topics run the gamut from agency culture, business strategy and project challenges, to travel tales and imposter syndrome.
  • On the concept of value: One organic, agenda-less conversation can prove pivotal, and make the entire trip worth it just for that.
  • Rollerskating and tube socks are still very much a celebrated thing. We are happy about this. 

We weren’t surprised to find that the focus of this WordCamp was on the hallway track, and it was a thrill to reconnect with our peers. However, all our conversations in the gardens, hallways and after-parties were set against a stellar lineup of presentations.

Fuelling up before a day full of WordPress.

This year the focus of those talks was very much on people, not code. As a global team, our very own Petya’s talk on “Developing Cultural Intelligence” kicked off the second day with a topic near and dear to our own hearts. Automattic’s Cami Kaos pulled no punches when discussing diversity and inclusion in her talk “Uncomfortable Truths of Belonging”. Alley’s Christina Deemer delivered a superbly practical guide to how to support cognitive disabilities in her talk “Embracing Minds of All Kinds”. The superb technical presentations on the schedule took intimidating concepts like Full Site Editing and broke them down into approachable, human-scale opportunities.

This focus made sense to us because code is native to the Web, but humans aren’t. The WordPress project has not stagnated during the pandemic, and in a time where we were kept apart, the Web has held our communities together. The Block Editor has improved, full-site editing is possible, developers become more comfortable with it by the day, and we’re not about to stop making incredible publishing experiences with WordPress any time soon. 

However, face-to-face time is a critical complement to our online collaboration. We’d missed this, and it was incredible to see you all again. It is a true privilege to stand in the same room with your peers, clients, and competitors at Contributor Day, and work together towards the unified goal of making WordPress better. We were thrilled at the enthusiasm of the first-time attendees, and salute the organizing committee for making WordCamp US happen in a difficult year.

We cannot wait to spend more time together with you all at more WordCamps and Meetups in the near future!

See you soon, WordPressers.