Dear WordCamp Organizers: Lets Remember Our Roots and Remember our Beginners

I’ve been using WordPress for, like, forever. I totally dig that WordPress is all about democratizing publishing and encouraging everyone to share their thoughts and creative expression. There are so many peeps in the community who’ve dedicated their time to teaching others how to use and rock WordPress.

One of the sickest ideas to bring WordPress enthusiasts together, apart from local meetups, is WordCamp (for those new to the WordCamp scene, it’s a locally run WordPress conference, ya know?). There’s just so much to learn for users, designers, developers, and everyone in between… whatever they call themselves.

But yo, here’s the problemo – there’s a major lack of workshops for beginners. Only a few WordCamps actually do this. WordCamp Miami, sometimes WordCamp St. Louis, and a couple others have hosted beginner workshops. But that ain’t enough, man.

Why don’t we run Beginner Workshops alongside WordCamps, including WordCamp US? We could attract more peeps who genuinely wanna learn the basics but find the regular talks too complex. Yeah, WordPress had a market share of 32% by the end of 2018, and it’s definitely popular and growing, but we can do better, ya know?

I’m part of communities with beginner and intermediate users who’ve switched to Wix or SquareSpace or had major concerns about learning WordPress. Sure, I’d point them to places like WPBeginner or WP101 and, but we could do more, man. Most of these folks want hands-on help. Even in my local St. Louis WordPress community, as a co-lead, I get emails or DMs from peeps asking about beginner workshops.

Getting peeps to volunteer is tough, and it often costs to arrange a venue, even if we have sponsors to cover the expenses. But WordCamps are a dope way to attract beginners and solve the problem. WordCamps are already a safe and inclusive space, so it ain’t like other workshops (online or offline) that are just marketing other products.

Teaching WordPress is mad easy, and there’s even a guide in the Make WordPress Training Handbook. You don’t even have to use the handbook, but it’s there to help, dude.

Now, I ain’t saying we forgot about our new or fairly new WordPress users, but we kinda did, especially when it comes to WordCamps. I’ve been to a bunch of WordCamps and seen lots of talks. Some of the beginner talks ain’t really beginner level. And some conferences lean more towards designers and developers instead of content creators, ya feel?

This is a HUGE problem, man! I’ve been on the organization team for almost a dozen WordCamps, and I’ve spoken and volunteered at several dozen. We gotta keep all our users in mind when selecting talks and events. Some peeps might think panels are a drag, but if you have an awesome moderator and a dope panel lineup, it can be a real asset. Plus, if you combine that with a sick beginner workshop, you cover all the bases and make sure beginners leave feeling confident in using WordPress.

Being inclusive ain’t just about gender, race, or age, man. It’s about the user level in any technology.

When I went to WordCamp Miami in 2016, I was also a speaker. I volunteered to help out during the WordPress Beginner workshop. Syed Balkhi and Ptah Dunbar had a packed room – almost every seat was taken. There were probably over 300 peeps there. Syed and Ptah took them through the whole process, from getting a domain and hosting to installing and using WordPress. People were stoked and totally engaged in the workshop. When it ended, I saw so many happy