Wordcamp, Nashville, Technology, Entrepreneurs, Blogging

Look Ma! I went to WordCamp!  Yeah I’m in to Hair, Style & Nails, but I’m also a techie who loves to learn.

If you don’t know what WordCamp is, well basically, it’s a day long event filled with workshops on various WordPress related topics, from beginner to expert levels.  This year WordCamp Nashville was only $20!  No that’s not a typo, it was a whopping 20.  I’m not sure if that’s the way it always is, but that’s pretty much all I needed to hear to be down.   That $20 included access to any sessions I wanted,  lunch, coffee & bottled water, free t-shirt (s) and of course sponsor swag. My fav!

I was a little on the fence about attending this year’s event, which would be my first WordCamp.  Before attending, my impression was “Oh boy, this day is gonna be filled to the brim with tech geeks hyped about code and making constant Big Bang Theory references”, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The rooms weren’t filled with Sheldon look-alike’s at all, it actually turned out to be a very laid back, relaxed atmosphere with some awesome sessions and it was much more diverse than I imagined it would be.

Although, the women to men ratio was pretty impressive, I did take note from my observations as an African-American female attendee,  that there really weren’t that many people of color at the camp.   I know the average attendee might not think that way, but it seems like I’m always running in circles that have few minorities in them or low women counts.  I get the same kind of results when I attend Music Industry or Music in Film panel sessions, so I wasn’t shocked but just a little disappointed.  My blogger buddy and I were the only 2 female chocolate lovelies (sometimes instead of saying boring old AA, I like to refer to myself as something decadent & sweet)  that I saw, which made me think, I’d really like to start seeing more ethnic diversity in future events. Translation,  I’d like to see more women & men of color taking advantage of the wealth of information and opportunities that are available, to connect with others in the tech & entrepreneurial community here in Nashville.  So I’m hoping by writing this post it will encourage others to attend next years WordCamp or to at least get their feet wet in the beginner’s track.

I felt there truly was something for everyone at this event.  It was broken down into 4 tracks.  1) For Beginner’s  2) For Intermediates (this is the track I attended)  3) For Developers and 4) Help Desk 1-on-1 sessions.   These were 1-on-1 Q&A sessions, each hour with the WordPress “Help Desk”, which I thought was really cool.   Although I didn’t get a chance to take advantage of that, the fact that they were available to attendees made it even more worthwhile, especially for anyone that may have been struggling with a technical problem on their WordPress site.

Nashville, Business, School

Image credit: Pytennessee.org

This year’s camp was held at the Nashville School of Law, which to me seemed like the perfect place to have an event like this.  The classrooms were equipped with stadium seating and outlets available in the table tops, making it accessible to plug-in laptops & other devices.

I’m not gonna lie and say that I didn’t have those moments throughout my day where I swear it was like the presenter was speaking “Charlie Brown Adult Speak”, you know like “Wah, Wah, Wah, Waaaaah” LOL.   But overall, each session provided me with something that made sense and made me feel empowered enough to believe I have the capability to implement these tips on my site or do them on my own for potential clients.  Oh! and I truly do have the ability, which I quickly discovered on Sunday as I implemented some Schema on my site, Yes, Yes!! Whoop,  Whoop!!

Kate O’Neill led the Keynote speech, which I thought was really inspiring, encouraging and insightful, not only from my women’s perspective, but also as someone that’s generally interested in technology and who is working toward marrying my multi-industry skills (music, banking, insurance, lifestyle blogging) with technology to create my niche business, here in Nashville.

The intermediate track sessions were great.  I learned so much about creating custom gravity forms, custom queries, Wire frames and adding schema data to my website so that I could have more optimized search results for my pages & posts.  My day ended with a stellar Women’s Panel, led by D’nelle Dowis of Berry Interesting.  It was an hour-long Q & A panel with 4 women from various backgrounds & roles like Web Development, Security and Design.  About 15 – 20 minutes at the end was dedicated to questions from the audience.  Here I had the opportunity to ask the women on the panel about ways in which I could network & grow my business in the Nashville area.  I received so much great advice from not only the panel, but from many people sitting in the audience like myself.  I really wasn’t expecting to get that much feedback,  and from so many people, so I was really humbled by the amount of great advice & encouragement I received.   I’d have to say that last 20 minutes of the conference was priceless to me.

I Love WordPress

I am so glad that I decided to get my lazy butt up and spend my Saturday sitting in a classroom vs. laying in my bed watching Netflix or soaking up sun at the park.   It was SO worth the sacrifice.

Who knows, maybe I’ll have an opportunity to present at a session someday in the future.  That would be cool, right?  See how my mind works?  I’m already thinking about ways to get involved.  So you know it must have been good, if I’m willing to volunteer for something.

Oh and let me not forget about throwing in my two cents about what I think the event could evolve into. So even though, I thought it was very well put together, awesome, super affordable, convenient and a nice learning atmosphere, I’d definitely like WordCamp 2015 to be more inclusive of those that strictly blog.  Since the platform was originally built as a writing platform, I’d like to maybe see a standalone blogging track or more sessions dedicated specifically to blogging on WordPress.  Maybe even a class about converting from Blogger to WordPress or from other platforms to WordPress, since this seems to be a common topic in the blogging community.

Anyway, I hope that I’ve given you some insight on what you can expect at WordCamp  and I’m glad to be able to share my experiences with you.  I hope I encouraged someone out there to attend WordCamp in your area or at least to do some research about it. If you’re one of those people on the fence about switching from your current platform to WordPress, let me just give it to you straight, because you know I like to keep it real with ya.  I just want to encourage you to go for it because from what I can see not only from this event, but also from my observations of technology & web development, WordPress is going to be around well after all of the other platforms fade one-by-one, because it’s so much more than just a blogging platform.  It pretty much allows you endless possibilities with your website. Plus everyone and their grandmother want’s to create the next best plug-in for it.  In the end, I’d rather be rolling with the big dog that I know is gonna give me marketable job skills while I’m continuing to do what I love.

Well until next time Stars,

StellarSignature

#NaturallyStellar  #WordCampNashville

Silver WordPress Image Credit: NoRebbo.com


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Founder, Editor-in-Chief of Women's Lifestyle Blog, Naturally Stellar | Beauty Contributor for Hype Hair Magazine | Freelance Writer and Content Creator| Candice is a passionate Nashville-based writer with a love for beauty, urban lifestyle, songwriting, travel, food and business. When she's not busy being Wonder Woman to her family, out exploring or catching up on her British dramas, you can find her sharing something interesting on her blog. Which more than likely she probably wrote at Noon, while eating a bowl of Captain Crunch.

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