Over the past year or so I’ve come to a simple conclusion about why I like WordPress.
It’s the people, stupid!
Sure, its legendary open source architecture has made it one of – if not the – most successful open source projects in history. In 15 short years it has come to dominate the CMS space, accounting for 34% of all web sites and its reach is growing.
How cool is it? It’s not just that WordPress is free, but countless themes, plugins, and WP-related services are free as well. But to say that the WordPress ecosystem is a billion dollar industry built on the concept of giving the code away and letting everyone have access to it, is missing a big point when it comes to recognizing what is the best thing about WordPress.
It’s the community.
It’s the people who go to WordPress MeetUps, and WordCamps – not to mention the countless numbers of developers who have contributed to the WordPress project – that make WordPress what it is.
But people new to WordPress aren’t likely to know what is the best part until some time has passed. In my case, I was using and teaching WordPress for about 5 years when a student suggested I attend a monthly WordPress MeetUp in New York City. I came to think of those MeetUps as WordPress training for me. Since then I’ve given 3 talks myself.
One MeetUp I attended was on the need to use SSL for all web sites. It came at a perfect time. When I was competing for a new project, passing that information on to the prospective client sealed the deal.
Even before that first MeetUp, somehow I heard that there was this thing called “WordCamp” in New York, a yearly WordPress conference featuring people presenting all kinds of talks about WordPress. The very first talk I heard was from Syed Balkhi, founder of WP Beginner among other things. He gave a rapid fire rundown of about 50 plugins. I felt good about already knowing about many of them.
Since then, the many WordCamps I’ve attended (and spoken at) have expanded my knowledge of WordPress and given me a wider view of the future of computer mediated communications. It has allowed me to meet and make friends with very bright, engaging, curious, and fun people. While sometimes I’ve come to think of the community as a cult (you can check in but you won’t check out), it has let me, as a remote worker, to connect and stay in touch with people I’ve really grown to admire and care for.
I’d love to list them all here but it’d take too long.
You could say that the people who make up the far-flung WordPress empire are “open source” too. Like the software itself, they evolve and share and, in so doing, become better than what they were before.
Maybe you’ve already attended a WordCamp or two. Or maybe you’re on the fence about coming this year to hear our fabulous speakers and to talk with web hosts and others who are sponsoring the event. My advice is to get off the fence and meet us in September!
Get your ticket nowso you can learn a few things and have a good time with a bunch of great people.