Think you have to spend truckloads of money to attend an epic tech industry event in New York? Think again. WordCamp New York 2018 is proof that extraordinary content can come from people willing to volunteer their time for the good of the community.
On September 15th, our very own Leslie, Heather, and Mike set off from Phoenix, Arizona to attend the annual event in New York. These are their stories (Law and Order reference, anyone?).
What were some of your favorite things about WordCamp New York 2018?
Leslie: By far, one of my favorite things about WordCamp is interacting with such a diverse group of folks who I share similar digital passions with. During WordCamp New York, I got the chance to sit down with Carole Olinger from Plesk to chat a bit about the event. “The New York event makes it possible for anyone to attend, which I love. The WordCamp community is all about diversity and inclusivity,” Carole said. “I saw people with disabilities – they found their way here and they enjoyed the event. That’s pretty inspiring.” This event wasn’t Carole’s first rodeo, she’s a self proclaimed WordPress community junkie. She’s organized three WordCamps in Europe and she’s attending a total of 16 this year!
— Carole Olinger ? (@CaroleOlinger) September 15, 2018
What was your favorite session at WordCamp New York?
Leslie: Aside from networking and relationship-building, WordCamp is a prime resource for knowledge sharing. I had the pleasure of attending Alana Lemon’s session on Overcoming Writer’s Block. A first-time WordCamp speaker, Alana said she was inspired to present because she had experienced roadblocks when trying to publish her work online. Alana’s recommendation for other first-time speakers? Be ready to get social. “I wasn’t prepared to have people take such an interest in me or my writing. I realized during the event the importance of having your website and social media accounts easily accessible for your audience.”
What about you, Mike? What was your favorite session?
Mike: I was lucky to attend sessions spreading that diverse, inclusive theme. Rachel Cherry [https://bamadesigner.com] is a proponent of accessible websites, wanting to make sure sites are able to be shared by vast groups of people, no matter their limitations. During her session, she shared a startling statistic that shows that’s currently not the case: Up to 20% of websites aren’t accessible to those with disabilities. To put that in perspective, imagine being a business owner, and only being able to serve 80% of your potential customers that come in the door! Accessible, inclusive sites shouldn’t be an afterthought. Her pro tip: to provide accessible tech, diverse needs like visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive disabilities should be considered at every step of a project.
I know it was your first WordCamp, what did you think?
Mike: Despite being nervous for my first WordCamp, I felt welcomed and included throughout the event. It’s a sentiment shared by fellow first time attendee Christina Best. Christina, who is finishing her doctoral degree in education, also happens to be an aspiring author. She came to WordCamp NYC looking for inspiration to re-start her writing site. During our chat, she confessed she’s started and stopped her site more times than she cares to count, citing lack of time or motivation. But WordCamp was an eye-opener for her. Not only did she come away with a lot of resources and connections to help re-start her site, she also had a changed, determined perspective. Her biggest takeaway: “Just get out there and DO IT,” Christina said. “Go out there and get started, whatever ‘started’ looks like. You can get started with a bad site, but you can’t get started with *no* site.”
Mike: If you’ve been nervous about attending your first WordCamp, take advice from Christina, and a fairly well-known shoe company: Just do it. You’ll be thankful you did.
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Mike. Did you attend WordCamp New York? If so, what were your thoughts? Favorite sessions? Let us know all about it on Twitter @ifyouwillit @heatherdopson @lyonsdenphx @theazleslie
Image by: Image by @J_Strotman on Twitter