Ipstenu.Org

WordCamp is Better with People (But LiveStreaming is Pretty Cool)

So I couldn’t make WordCamp San Francisco.  I really wanted to go.  Words cannot explain how much I wanted to go (nor how much I covet the shirt).  But I have one (yes one) unallocated vacation day, and I have a family, and they put up with me going to Montreal so I need to keep this for them.  WordCamp San Francisco had this thing called ‘Live Stream’ where you could pay $30 to watch the events.  Knowing that I’d really only have one day, Sunday, to watch (since I can’t stream media from work), I sighed, shook my head, and knew I’d watch on Twitter.

Then I was given (yes, given!) a free pass to the LiveStream as a thank you.  I’m really fond of this community.  If there’s one thing working for The Man has done that I see as a detriment, it would be that I lost the ability to remember what to do when someone says thank you.  It took Jorja Fox glaring at me to shock the system.  On top of that, I rarely do things for accolades, so I forget about them.

Now it’s true that it was weird and nice to be able to sit in my office, on the big monitor (yes, I plug my laptop into the nice 22″ monitor) and watch/listen to lectures while sipping coffee in my jammies and slippers, with a cat in my lap.  And, thanks to Twitter, I was able to chat with people off and on.  It was totally awesome.  Except I missed being with people.

WordCamp’s aren’t about the presentations.  They just aren’t.  The most fun and learning I had at WordCamp was not sitting and listening to people, but talking with them.

So why did I never go to them at all until this year?  Frankly, I was scared.  I was scared I didn’t know ‘enough’ or that I wasn’t cool enough or that it’d be like high school all over again.  Instead it was like we all wish High School had been.  Yes, people knew more than I did, but other people knew less, or knew different things, and the scope of all of our knowledge and skills and ideas was staggering.  I told Kathryn that I was shy when we met in Montreal and she laughed (probably not believing me).  I do tend to babble when I’m nervous, but I was terrified being in a group of strangers.  I still get that way.

Maybe we need a greeter at WordCamps.  Someone who gets there early and just says ‘Hi, is this your first time?’ and if so, take a bit to talk to the person about what’s going on, what to expect, and where to go.  That was probably a little to ‘Welcome to Wal-Mart’ for a lot of you, but why not?  I draw the line at blue vests.  Making WordCamps about the people is something that’s just a fact.  They are about people, because the people are the product!I’m not alone.  How many of you are scared to go to

This is WordPress.  You are WordPress, as am I. WordCamp or a Meetup or an UnConference because you’ll be alone?  We’re all scared at doing new things.  That’s why a lot of us stay with a job longer than we should, or with a partner.  At least we’re not alone.  And at least we know what to expect when it comes to acceptance and rejection.  The cool thing about WordPress is that we’re all there for the same thing, so sitting down by someone who’s alone and asking ‘Hi, what do you use WordPress for?’ is a great ice breaker.

Is Livestream worth it? You know, yes.  Yes it is.  I would do it again (if I wasn’t already negotiating to go to WCSF next year and blocking time out now).  But if you can’t go, because let’s face it, we don’t all have the time/money at the right point in time, then spend the $30 and watch the Livestream.

And right now I feel like a heel because apparently Jane Wells gave ME a shout-out on Sunday and even though I was watching, I missed it! I hang my head in shame and will help people with basic CSS questions for the week.

Oh and if you missed it, here’s Matt’s State of the Word 2011. Extra points if you know where the slides come from.