Ultimate WordCamp Survival Guide

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I recently had the preveldge of going to my first WordCamp. This was the first WordCamp ever held in Kansas City so there were a lot of first time campers there. For those of you who are not familiar with this technology conference, it is basically an event for WordPress publishers, developers, designers, and all around WordPress enthusiasts. From my experiences I thought a guide with information how to prepare for your first WordCamp might be helpful to others.

I recently had the preveldge of going to my first WordCamp. This was the first WordCamp ever held in Kansas City so there were a lot of first time campers there. For those of you who are not familiar with this technology conference, it is basically an event for WordPress publishers, developers, designers, and all around WordPress enthusiasts. From my experiences I thought a guide with information how to prepare for your first WordCamp might be helpful to others.

Use Twitter

To paraphrase Syed Balkhi of WPBegginer, if you are not using social media because you do not like it, get over it. When going to WordCamp make sure that you are ready to use Twitter on whatever device you bring with you. Failing to embrace Twitter at WordCamp will result in a lot of missed conversations and other great information. For instance, the organizers in Kansas City tweeted the winning ticket numbers for prizes. There were also other campers live tweeting other sessions, which was great since it is impossible to be in both presentations at the same time.

Be Prepared to Network

While the main goal of WordCamp is to learn more about WordPress it is also a great time to meet other likeminded folks and learn from them as well. Do not go in with the attitude that you are just there to attend the various presentations because you will miss out on a lot of educational opportunities. The speakers at WordCamp are not the only WordPress experts in attendance, far from it.

Bring Business Cards

Business cards are the one major thing I wish I would have brought that I did not. There is no excuse for this either since you can get them from Vista Print or Moo free of charge, all you do is pay the shipping. Even if you do not think you will need them try to bring some, it makes exchanging your information with others much easier. Your time will be better spent visiting with others about all things WordPress instead of trying to spell your Twitter name or email address.

Do Your Research

The presentation schedule for WordCamp will be posted way before the event ever takes place. Take this opportunity to download the schedule and do a little research on the different sessions. You may be a designer but there is a chance the publisher or developer talk that may interest you. Doing your research ahead of time you will be able to lay out your game plan and attend the sessions that most interest you. By keeping an open mind and not limiting yourself you will be able to get a lot more out of the conference and really enjoy yourself.

Be Familiar with WordPress

While WordCamp is an educational opportunity, the sessions are typically aimed at intermediate to advanced users. I am not saying that beginners should go, but if you are new to WordPress and attend do not get frustrated if things seem to be over your head. WordCamp provides an excellent opportunity to ask campers and speakers questions and get a better understanding of certain aspects of the CMS.

WordCamp Must Haves

  • Notepad and Pen – Even if you bring a laptop/netbook with you an old fashion pen and paper will also come in handy. Especially between sessions when you want to jot something down but do not want to go through the hassle of firing your PC up.
  • Smartphone/Laptop/Netbook/Tablet PC – Bring a device you will be able to use Twitter on. I used my iPhone and it worked just fine for me, plus I did not have to carry a laptop around. Though I will say a laptop or tablet PC is great for checking out resources presenters share during the presentation.
  • Chargers – If you bring one of the above devices bring your charger. I can only speak for WordCamp KC but they had ample power strips to plug your devices into and charge them.
  • Backpack – Bring a bag to make carrying around your swag much easier. Though you may prefer to just go out to your car in between sessions and leave it there. Avoid overburdening yourself trying to carry all your stuff around. It will make your WordCamp much less stressful.

Other WordCamps may vary but I can tell you that we were provided with adequate food and beverages through the conference. This included breakfast, lunch, and snacks as well as cold drinks and coffee.

The bottom line is, if you ever have an opportunity to attend WordCamp and you are the least bit interested in web design, development, blogging, and of course WordPress, GO! It is a great opportunity to meet a bunch of great people and learn many new things.

Please feel free to share your WordCamp experiences or ask any questions about the conference in the comments.

 
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Comments (2)

  1. Sam C. Thursday - 23 / 06 / 2011 Reply
    Hey Andy, In your "Wordpress Must-Haves", You forgot add the mocha mojo and coder juice!! (coffee and mountain dew) LOL :) -- @samcohennet
    • Andy Crofford Thursday - 23 / 06 / 2011 Reply
      Good point, Sam. I don't drink caffeine so that is probably why I forgot those.

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