I was at WordCamp Norrköping 2015 last weekend. Not only was it my first WordCamp ever, it was also my debut as a speaker!
One of the organizers had read the article I wrote about explaining the basic concepts of git, and asked me if I wanted to hold a session about it at the upcoming WordCamp. The very thought of doing it made me shrink back in fear and my stomach turn upside down.
For me, that is an indication that I should do it. I live by the principle of facing my fears and continuosly expanding my comfort zone. Living on the edge and all that. Personal growth.
So after the nerves had settled down a bit and I had a chance to think more rationally about it, I decided to apply as a speaker. And my application was accepted. Now I actually had to do it! The horror!
It went, under the circumstances, well. There’s a ton for me to learn but that is the point. I already have many things I will do differently the next time.
For one thing, I didn’t know how technical the audience would be so I decided to keep the topic less advanced. I could definitely have gone into more technical details and depth. It was also a bit short, but I guess better too short than breaking the schedule for everyone else.
The other things are on a more technical note, like making the smaller text of the slides larger and using desktop mirroring for the projection. That would mean less hunting for the cursor when things go south.
Ah well, I’ll just have to do another presentation next year 😉
The sessions were very good and I wished more than once that I could be in two places at the same time. Some things are maybe less applicable to my current work since I’m usually not working on large scale projects. But as a technology nerd I always enjoy other people talking about their setup and how they work. And who knows when the time comes where I will need the knowledge of scaling.
I have read many people say that the connecting with people in between sessions is often more valuable to them than the sessions themselves. This was true for me.
Having face to face being the first point of contact is something I prefer to cold emailing someone to say hi. And that’s coming from an introvert.
My decision to speak was in part a strategy of removing any connection hurdles. Speaking was the greatest barrier-breaking thing I could do. It introduced me to everyone that attended the talk, and I could demonstrate that I knew what I was talking about.
Even though nobody had heard of me before, we could quickly jump straight into interesting discussions without me needing to prove anything. I also automatically had a topic for conversation and could bypass any awkward moments of trying to find something to talk about.
Think of it like jumping into the ice cold water before the sauna. I’m very thankful that my talk was an early session. The relief after the tension ensured I was in a happy mood during the rest of the day. Without it, I would probably have stayed in a corner all day and missed out on so much.
The contribution day
The second day was a contribution day. We divided into self-selected groups based on what we wanted to work on: a theme review team, a core team and a translations team.
I ended up joining the translations team where we talked about the language pack development around WordPress and hurdles we have met when doing translations.
The translations team put together a Swedish guide to translating that was published on the Swedish WordPress portal. Two themes that were popular on the .org repository were also translated into Swedish: StoreFront and GeneratePress.
I started working on gathering a glossary together that will help everyone use a common language when we translate WordPress themes and plugins. This is something I have been wanting every time I end up translating something for a client. Which is basically every project.
It is nowhere near finished but at least work has begun. Above all, it will need input and discussion from others in the Swedish WordPress community. I bombarded the poor other people in the translations group with questions of how they translated this or that.
This whole event for me was great because it has broken my isolation. Up until now, I have been working on things by myself but not had any real contact with other Swedish developers. I am no longer an island.
The reason I went to the WordCamp was I wanted to meet other people who do the same thing as I do. That is exactly what happened. And the people were great.
Next time I will both have familiar faces as well as new ones around me. Who knows, in time I might even be considered a part of this thing called the WordPress community. 🙂
Thanks to everyone who attended, and see you next year!