Thoughts about Southern California WordCamps

I was at the awesome WordPress Orange County all day yesterday and attended remotely via live stream for portions of today.

While I was there, my gut feeling after looking at the rest of this year’s calendar was confirmed. I heard from several people that WordCamp Los Angeles and WordCamp San Diego aren’t being planned for this year as they typically would be. Naturally I’m distraught at the thought, but I’m also wondering if part of the reason is that there are several smaller nearby regional camps that have popped up over the past year? Some of these newer camps include WordCamp Riverside, WordCamp Santa Clarita, and the upcoming WordCamp Long Beach.

This trend can be an interesting one in large part because it means that the community is growing in size and sophistication as well as leadership to be able to sustain these new area camps. It’s good to have been able to have gone to two camps within driving distance in the last two months and also know that there are two more camps within that same distance before the end of the year. Instead of having one or two major camps nearby, I’ve now got twice the amount.

Of course, with all the extra awesomeness that this provides, I also wonder about the ideas of community cohesion, leadership, continuity, and even burnout. Should we have better regional conversations about these camps, their timing, and their content? Are we possibly spreading ourselves too thin? Is there enough leadership and continuity to continue all these individual camps on an annual basis for the next 5 years? Are the benches deep enough that we’re not working toward burning ourselves (and our volunteer base) out? Would it be better to have a little less? Should we alternate having bigger camps in LA and San Diego with the smaller ones in nearby cities? What does that look like? Are we thinking about longer term sustainability?

I’m mulling over the idea of spearheading either a WordCamp Los Angeles, to keep the central continuity, but I’m also wondering about doing something like that with a slightly smaller Pasadena Camp. I also started a discussion yesterday about doing a kids’ WordCamp in the LA area when I found out that there is already some organization and institutional support for these in other cities. And of course this all comes with my pre-existing plans for doing a local area IndieWebCamp sometime within the next calendar year. All of these ideas are appealing to me, but I only have a finite amount of time for planning and executing them.

In the coming weeks, I’d like to reach out and touch base with all of these nearby camps to hear other’s ideas on the topic and their long term plans to see what the best way forward might look like. Has the central organization run across these rapid growth problems in other metropolitan areas in the past? What was were the near-term and longer-term results? Without some additional data, I feel like I’m operating in a bit of a vacuum. Is it possible that as a major market city that the LA area is the first to see potential effects like I’ve described?

This post mostly serves as an informal dump of some preliminary ideas and potential concerns for the future; I’d welcome ideas and additional thoughts.

Thoughts about Southern California WordCamps was originally published on Chris Aldrich

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Reflections on WordCamp Santa Clarita Valley 2019

Reflections on WordCamp Santa Clarita Valley 2019

I really had a grand time at WordCamp Santa Clarita Valley yesterday. I’d like to thank the visionary Joe Simpson, Jr. and his entire group of fantastic organizers and kind volunteers for putting the entire thing together. I couldn’t imagine a better launch for a brand new camp.

College of the Canyons was a fantastic location for the camp and even had some excellent outdoor patio and dining space for lunch.

I do wish I’d been able to make my schedule work out to have been able to attend on Friday. I’m particularly bummed that I didn’t get to see Glenn Zucman’s presentation as he’s always doing some of the most interesting and creative things with WordPress. I’ll wait patiently for WordPress.tv to deliver it for me.

Some of my favorite highlights:

  • David Nuon wearing a blonde Richard Dean Anderson wig during his talk MacGyver plays with blocks: Using the Gutenberg editor in new and surprising ways
  • Chatting with Kat Christofer of Woo Commerce about how she and the Woo team create better documentation for their product. I think there’s some things we can learn for documenting pieces of the IndieWeb experience with WordPress. She also mentioned the beginning of a new short Mustang road trip.
  • Joseph Dickson going old school on Upgrading Kubrick for Gutenberg. His highlighting the fact that the editor is able to better mirror the ultimate output as a time saver is an intriguing idea.
  • Not that they aren’t always in general, and I didn’t think about it until reflecting on it today, but I also want to mention the spectacular diversity of speakers and attendees at the camp. It really made for a better and more well-rounded experience. I’ll give all the credit to Joe and his team who I suspect are directly responsible for designing it to be that way from the very beginning.

On a more personal level, my two favorite parts included:  Seeing the viceral reactions of a handful of people as the proverbial light switch was turned on when they realized the power and flexibility of the posting interfaces provided by micropub clients during my talk. There was also a palpable rush at the end while using a few minutes of extra time demoing some examples of my website and and the power of Micropub, Webmention, and backfeed along with some other IndieWeb goodness. I’ve already had a number of people following up with additional questions, conversations, and emails.

For those who may have missed them, here is a link to my slides from the Micropub and WordPress talk and a link to some of the bigger pieces I’ve wrtitten about with respect to WordPress and IndieWeb technologies in the past. Naturally, these are only a supplement to the hundreds of others who are working in and documenting the space

I’ll also give a special thanks to Joseph Dickson for the photo/tweet of me just before the talk:

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A selfie by Chris Aldrich with other campers in the background
Hanging out with old friends and new after WordCamp on the patio at Draconum.
Joseph Dixon, Erik Blair

Reflections on WordCamp Santa Clarita Valley 2019 was originally published on Chris Aldrich