The power of community: WordCamp San Francisco

WordCamp San Francisco 2014 (aka “WordCampSF” or #wcsf14) was a great example of what a community event can and should be. There were more than 1,000 attendees at the Mission Bay Conference Center this past weekend for reconnection, fun, learning and sharing of both code and hugs.

Why community matters

WordPress.org itself is a community-driven organization. Volunteers created everything in the WordPress.org project, “from the code to the documentation.” When a notable portion of the community comes together, the project takes a surge forward. (On a side note, I’m an avid fan of whitewater rafting, with the Upper Gauley being my favorite river. When you have a good crew working together, the boat lunges ahead on each paddle pull, as everyone works in unison. WordCampSF felt the same way with respect to WordPress.)

WordCamp San Francisco
WordCamp San Francisco
GoDaddy Booth at WordCamp San Francisco

At WordCampSF, community members were getting together all over the city, at events and meetings in the various areas of the venue. What this means is that, for this project, many hands are truly making light work as people share their ideas and their time. In addition to contributing code and presentations, there were hundreds of volunteers handling tasks ranging from registration to staffing the “Happiness Bar” (WordCamp’s version of the Genius Bar) to running the mic during Q&A sessions in the main hall.

There may have been some evening shenanigans, too.

WordCamp San Francisco Afterparty

It was buzzing.

In conjunction with the sessions at the event, there were ongoing community and contributor activities. Since anyone can contribute to an open source project, the assembled individuals volunteered hundreds of improvements to the project over the past few days. It’s impressive. Here’s just a sample from the WordPress Codex from the last day or so.

WordPress Codex

In particular, some of our GoDaddy compatriots including Chris Klosowski (creator of WPPush and PostPromoterPro and contributor to the eddwp plugin), Kurt Payne (creator of the P3 plugin), Adam Sink, Stephanie Dorame, Mendel Kurland, Lily Liang and others volunteered their time and considerable expertise during the event.

Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, was also there. She did the closing keynote interview with Jen Mylo. Jenny’s awesome. So’s Jen.

Swagtasticness

It was a tech industry event. That being the case, there was swag, and lots of it. T-shirts, drink tumblers (“Tumblaaaah! Get yer tumblaaaah heeere!”), stickers, notebooks, you name it. While our stampable notebooks were gone almost instantly (note to self: bring more next time), we do still have a few stickers left. Drop a note in the comments if you’d like us to send you one.

WordCamp San Francisco - GoDaddy Swag
WordCamp San Francisco Swag

By the way, the folks over at MailChimp knocked it out of the park with their swag. Knit monkey hats. C’mon. That rocks.

WordCamp San Francisco - MailChimp

Where is WordPress going?

An annual highlight of the WordCamp circuit is Matt’s “State of the Word” presentation, and this year’s did not disappoint.

WordPress Status

A few highlights:

  • According to Mullenweg, WordPress now runs on 23 percent of websites.
  • WordPress has had more than a million commits.
  • 785 people contributed code and more to five major WordPress releases since the last WordCamp San Francisco.
  • 2014 was the first year non-English WP downloads surpassed English downloads.
  • There are now over 34,000 WordPress plugins and mor than 2,700 themes.
  • WordPress has outgrown its IRC-based developer communication tools, and the project will now self-organize using SlackHQ.

You can view the video or slide deck above for the full thing, or head over to Matt’s post where he gives an extensive list of the highlights of the year.

What’s next?

In his presentation, Matt also noted that this would be the last WordCamp SF. After many years, the event has outgrown the Mission Bay venue, and will be re-thought and re-envisioned for next time. Brian Krogsgard at Post Status notes:

“WordCamp San Francisco has been here in Mission Bay for 7 years, and it’s the last year here. Next year, things are going to change. There will be a WordCamp US (Matt notes it’s a working title) that will be modeled similarly to WordCamp Europe. The name, location and date are yet to be determined.”

So that’s a wrap on #wcsf14. Would love to keep this conversation going. If you were there, what did you think?


Originally published at Garage.