As a dedicated meetup organiser within the WordPress community, I have encountered a common challenge that many of us face—rekindling the attendance numbers we once enjoyed before the pandemic disrupted our lives. Attending WordCamp Europe this year and engaging in conversations with fellow community members revealed that I am not alone in this struggle. Even in the UK WP community slack channels, similar discussions regarding dwindling meetup attendance have emerged. It’s clear that we need to find new ways to invigorate our local WordPress communities. Let’s discuss the “Next Gen WordCamps”
While larger flagship WordCamps offer a diverse range of experiences, they can sometimes make attendees feel anonymous within the vast sea of participants. Additionally, the expenses associated with attending such events might not be feasible for everyone, especially considering the uncertainties surrounding travel and the absence of events like WordCamp London this year.
Fortunately, there is a proposal for the future of WordCamps that aims to address these challenges. The concept of “Next Gen WordCamps” is gaining traction, suggesting a more precise focus on particular topics or content types curated for specific audiences. These WordCamps would be more accessible and affordable, offering attendees the opportunity to delve deep into areas of interest, as well as being more inclusive with more opportunity for diversity. Imagine attending workshop-style sessions on full-site editing, block development, or exploring dedicated job boards and WooCommerce-focused WordCamps or specifically focused for minority or under represented communities. The possibilities are exciting, and these Next Gen WordCamps could breathe new life into our local communities.
Embracing the spirit of experimentation, these WordCamps would encourage innovation and exploration, paving the way for fascinating outcomes. Admittedly, the initial feedback regarding this concept has been mixed. As an organiser, I understand the importance of maintaining diversity within our events, as a more focused approach could potentially impact attendance numbers. However, by conducting careful experimentation, we can strike a balance that combines precise content with inclusive programming.
One challenge that arises is finding an appropriate name for these Next Gen WordCamps. I might suggested titles like WordHuddle or WordSummit but I’m not very good at naming things like this 🙂 but, it does offer a glimpse into the fresh and dynamic direction these events might take. Regardless of the name, the underlying goal remains the same—to provide accessible training, foster networking opportunities, and celebrate the vibrant WordPress community.
While flagship WordCamps in the US, Europe, and Asia will undoubtedly continue, it’s the in-between WordCamps that require our attention. The Next Gen WordCamps represent an exciting opportunity to revolutionize the WordPress event landscape, emphasising innovation and experimentation. By harnessing the power of these gatherings, we can accelerate the development of 21st-century skills, unlock professional opportunities, and forge valuable partnerships.
Ultimately, the success of these Next Gen WordCamps relies on the collective efforts of organisers, attendees, and the broader WordPress community. As we embark on this new phase of WordPress events, let’s embrace the spirit of collaboration and open-mindedness, recognising that change and adaptation are vital for the continued growth and prosperity of our local communities. Together, we can breathe new life into our meetups and WordCamps, shaping the future of WordPress events for both current and future WordPressers.