When I sat drinking Zombies with WordPress Wrangler Tom, in Sandanista in Manchester, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. WordCamp Europe.

ZOMBIES

WordCamp Europe was in Paris. Uniting 1900 attendees from around 80 countries. There were another 1000 or so who joined via livestream. It was something amazing to behold.

I embarked on my journey. The first time I had ever abroad travelled alone, I felt so intrepid!

Where have I come to?

Arriving in Paris, I saw my first glimpse of my hotel. Where had I gone to? Aubervilliers is where WordCamp was held. It was rough as hell! Although my hotel was considered ’boutique’, my bathroom was in the hall. There was a combo lock from the outside and nothing on the inside. The combo lock had 4 numbers: 1234. My combo was 4321. I did not feel safe.

Regardless I had some new friends to meet up with, and Uber is everywhere. So, I jumped in a taxi and made my way out.

The first day was contributor day. If you don’t know what a contributor day is, read this post.

After a hard day’s work and some new friends made, we went into Paris for a few drinks. At least I felt better after a drink or two. I spent a happy hour in a kebab shop with two Israelis, chatting about nothing. See, this is what I love about WordCamp. My list of conversations with people around the world was growing.

Onwards to WordCamp Europe

The next day was WordCamp in earnest. My first stop, the Swag hall because we all love swag. I made a point of chatting to everyone I could and cramming my JetPack bag with stickers, bags, sunglasses, fidget spinners and anything else I could lay my hands on.

It was a hot day. I hadn’t considered this. Everybody filtered outside for lunch and sat in the grass. So, I decided to mooch around and speak to new people. I met a couple of guys from Lisbon, who told me all about the city which was great. I’m off to web summit in November so it was good to get the heads up.

That night, I was still unhappy with the hotel. So I moved to the budget Ibis Aubervilliers. It was like a hospital room in prison. But at least it had AC!!

That evening, I went for a steak and a couple of mojitos, with Dave and Steph, a couple I met at WordCamp Manchester. I had the nicest night, just chilling outside a restaurant in a Parisienne street.

 

What were my highlights?

It was fantastic to meet Morten Rand-Hendrikson. Someone who taught me how to use WordPress via Lynda.com. Also Zac Gordon, who did the same via Treehouse.  I was developer starstruck! It was also great to watch a talk on the history of WordPress by Mike Little and Matt Mullenwegg.

The After Party.

After the final day, it was time for the after party. I’m sorry WordCamp Europe but this was a huge disappointment. The twitter feed of people wanting to leave said it all. Because the food was sparse, and it took an hour to get it. When i say sparse, we had a hot dog so it was a bit of a let down.

I want to demystify WordPress Contributor Day. I’m currently working on organising and shouting out about the contributor day for WordCamp Manchester so I thought I would come to Paris and see the biggest WordCamp Contributor Day in Action.

When I first heard the term ‘WordPress contributor day’ I imagined it was a day for all the volunteers and speakers to get together. I’m not sure to what purpose, I didn’t think that far. But in case you did have any strange notions like me, here’s what it is. A contributor is anyone who wants to contribute to WordPress.

When I learned this, I thought I would have to know how to code the hard stuff and I don’t have that level of proficiency. This is not the case at all. l. In fact there are a dozen or so ways you can be a contributor.

Contribution isn’t limited to WordPress Contributor Day

Joining the slack community first is always a good idea. That way you can see all the different things going on every day. WordPress Contributor Day isn’t aren’t just limited to WordCamps. Do get yourself a wordpress.org account if you haven’t already and sign up to slack to join the dialogue like thousands of others. Here’s how to do that!

WordPress Core

Although you need to know some code, you don’t have to be an expert. There are contributions available at all levels. you can report bugs, test patches and fix bugs. There are even a list of newbie bugs available for you to look at if you are just getting started. You can see them here. For more reading see the contributor handbook on WordPress.org.

Design

Has core spooked you a little? You are more of a front-end type of person right? Why not join the design team where you will be able to input on how the user intarface of WordPress is shaped. This includes user testing. Remember, developers can make everything work, but without an intuitive user journey, it won’t be that great. That’s why thousands of designers have contributed to make the UI what it is today. So you can see just how far WordPress has come, this blog post shows 8 years of WordPress Dashboards and how it evolved

Mobile

This is suitable for Java, Objective-C or Swift Developers. Again, it’s good for anyone with an eye for UX design too. Mobile also needs testers, especially on Android, See the call for testers here.

Accessibility

As you may have guessed this team work on making WordPress as accessible to all as it can possibly be. This includes coding standards, audits, testing and also accessibility of the handbook and other resources. This group meets weekly on Slack.

Polyglots

You may not know a shred of code, but you may be able to speak and write more than one language. If so, The WordPress Community need you! Aside from joining in at WordCamps, there is also a global translation day you can join online.

Support

You can join the forums on Slack. Everyone knows how do to something, so from supporting users up to developers. Here is a quick start guide to what the support forums are all about.

Themes

If you create themes for WordPress, there is a team dedicated to reviewing themes that are submitted to the theme repository. This group is open to anyone who wants to help out. Read more about them here.

Documentation

Everything needs documenting and in a way that people understand. The documentation team make this possible. This could be contributor documents, developer documentation or the WordPress Codex. Again they have their own slack channel and regular meetings.

Training

If you know how to use WordPress, then the community would love to have you! It doesn’t matter where your skill level lies. There is the need to edit, write, audit, copywrite, teach and even review lesson plans for content. The team meet regularly in slack.

Meta

It’s the meta team that keep the wordpress.org websites up to date. This team work on a number of projects so the best way forward is to have a look and see if any of them match your skills and interest.

TV

All things video, A lot of learning, announcements, talks and training is available on wordpress.tv. The WordPress TV Team keep this maintained. If you know anything about video, join this team, but If you don’t, well they need captioners and translators too.

Flow

As the name suggests, this team are responsible for the whole WordPress experience, across all platforms, ensuring user experience is synchronous, seamless and well, flows. Because their description is a little arty, I would join in the Slack channel and see what’s involved! Details of how to do that are here.

CLI

WordPress-CLI for anyone who doesn’t know is the Command Line Interface. Making installation, automation, staging and deployment much breezier. If you are intrigued, check out their contributing guide for more information.

Marketing

Last but not least, The best product in the world is nothing without an audience. Even WordPress in all it’s ubiquitous glory still looks for ways to reach more people. If you are an ideas person this group could be for you. WordPress are looking for ways to market to agencies, the end user, and the community at large. So many users and developers still don’t realise there is an active communitu out there and what it is that they do. Hence this post. So if you have some marketing skills, it could be on the sales side, or the data analytics side, this team needs your help!

Not every WordPress contributor day involves all teams so the best way to get involved with WordPress at any stage is to join the slack team and jump right in!

October gave rise to my first WordCamp in Manchester and a fun time was had by all. If you have never been to a WordCamp there is something for everyone in the WordPress community, whether that be as a designer, a developer or a website owner. It turned out to be a great weekend put together by the WordPress Community.

There were a host of fantastic speakers full of knowledge and expertise and there was something to learn from everyone. With the exception of the lightning talks, all talks were recorded and will be on WordPress TV.

WordCamp 2016 Manchester kicked off to a flying start with a slap up meal at Sandanista, Royal Exchange. Seriously, thanks to Claire Worthington, organiser, I have never seen so much grub at a buffet!

I caught with the other organisers and speakers from the event and got ready for the next day of volunteering.

Volunteering at WordCamp Manchester

Early next morning I headed into the university of Manchester for my shift, where I spent all day helping on the information desk, swiping loads of WordPress #Swag and telling everyone about my Manchester Wapuu.

Factory were proud to be a micro sponsor of WordCamp Manchester this year, but amongst the bigger sponsors we met representatives from Automattic, 34SP, Jetpack, WooCommerce, Bytemark and more.

There was a host of talks on various WordPress and web related topics. Sadly, I didn’t really get to listen in much as I was on the volunteer desk. I was convinced however to give a lightning talk by Claire Worthington.

The Lightning Round.

Every business including ours has faced difficult clients from time to time and had to part ways, so I did my talk around the top ten signs to look out for when qualifying for a new prospect.

Its sound business advice to qualify your customers, and can save any service based industry a lot of hassle down the line. Likewise its also important to ensure your agency is a match for you. So this is what I based my lightning talk on. It was met with lots of applause, so I was happy and stepped down, palpitating wildly.

That evening we all got together at Black Dog Ballroom in the Northern quarter for drinks, networking, pizza, chips, drinks, pizza with chips on, drinks and more drinks.

WordCamp was brill. I can’t wait for next year.

Made By Factory are Web Designers in Manchester. We specialise in bespoke hand crafted WordPress experiences.

 

 

 

What’s a WordCamp you say? WordCamps are locally organised conferences that cover everything WordPress related and are attended by everyone from WordNoobs to experts, creators, & contributors. WordPress if you haven’t heard of it, is responsible for over a quarter of all new sites on the web. As a CMS, WordPress has rapidly increased in popularity and is often our platform of choice. WordCamp told me to create a Manchester Wapuu for WordCamp 2015;  I was ‘proper chuffed’.

Wap-who? Why make a Manchester Wapuu?

So who is Wapuu? Understandably he came from Japan. When Co-Founder Matt Mullenweg visited the Japanese WordPress community in 2009 and they asked could they create a mascot – Matt agreed, but in the true spirit of WordPress it had to be under the GPL licence and Open Source. All original credit goes to illustrator Kazuko Kaneuchi. Since then, Wapuu has often been the mascot of many WordCamps & he has started to represent many countries, so to me it was a great honour to make one!

WordCamp asked me to create a Manchester Wapuu, so immediately the humble bee sprung to mind.  Not everyone knows this but the worker bee is the part of the heraldry of Manchester, appearing on the coat of arms. You will also find bees tiled into the floor of the town hall & often appear on lampposts, bridges & even bins. Of course most people will know them from the tins of Manchester’s famous ale: Boddingtons. The bees signify the hard work & industriousness of Mancunians at that time; the hive of activity the city was during this era & continues to be to this day.  Everyone who knows me, knows I am a proud Manchester lass, so sorry if I’m buzzing on about bees a little too much.

A Co-operative hive

Interestingly for any Rochdalians reading this article, you will know that Rochdale is the home and birthplace of the Co-op & when the first store was built in 1867, it featured a beehive & this became a subsequent trend for new cooperative buildings so the links are very strong. With this in mind I felt it was fitting to incorporate the bee into Wapuu for WordCamp Manchester 2015. The upside down W is to signify Manchester and Manchester WordPress User Group (MWUG) also adopted this.

Another cool thing about Manchester is that Mike Little, WordPress’ other co-founder resides here. I caught up with Mike to ask what he thought of my Manchester Wapuu. He loved it and reminded us to submit it back to the archives! So hopefully my little dude will ‘bee’ as popular as some of his friends. Included below are a gallery of my personal favourites – enjoy!

References:

The Unofficial Wapuu Fan Club
Wikipedia: Symbols of Manchester
Creative Tourist: Tour of Manchester – The Bees The Bees!

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