First Annual WordCamp Wilmington: A Smashing Success
Last weekend, November 5-6, 2016, the first ever WordCamp Wilmington debuted at tekMountain, the top tech incubator in Wilmington, NC.
The 2-day conference proved to be a smashing success. There was a large turnout of web developers, designers, bloggers, and social media marketers, with the top tech minds in Wilmington delivering fantastic presentations.
What is WordCamp?
WordCamp Wilmington is the local extension of a larger project produced by the WordCamp Organization. The WordCamp Organization is made up of WordCamp.org and the WordPress Foundation. The first WordCamp was started by Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress, in 2006 in San Francisco. There are currently 636 WordCamps in 68 cities, 48 countries, covering 6 continents.
In short, a WordCamp is a weekend conference solely dedicated to the discussion of WordPress. WordCamps are organized by volunteers who work with mentors to ensure that every WordCamp follows guidelines outlined by the WordCamp Organization.
These guidelines are few and simple. First and foremost, WordCamps must keep the topic of discussion to all things WordPress, even when outside topics such as blogging, social media, and business arise. These elements of the industry can and should be tied in to WordPress discussions.
WordCamps should not be fancy or exclude any members of the community, no matter what their level of experience may be. They are meant to be affordable and inclusive. Presentations, including slides and/or videos, should be shared with the WordPress community on WordPress.tv. WordCamps should be locally organized and encourage attendees to connect and collaborate. Lastly, WordCamps should be fun and including goodies, like t-shirts, pins, stickers. Who doesn’t love goodies?
Why WordCamp Wilmington?
2016 marked the first WordCamp in Wilmington, NC. With WordCamps in only 2 North Carolina cities, Raleigh and Asheville, and the tech community in Wilmington taking off, local industry leaders and WordPress enthusiasts saw a need to bring WordCamp closer to home.
Over the past few years, avid WordPress developers, including DesignLoud President Derek Schmidt, began gauging and building interest with monthly WordPress Meetups at tekMountain on the last Thursday of every month. Once it became apparent that Wilmington had passionate WordPress users, volunteers organizers submitted an application to the WordCamp Organization and began planning, material creating, and speaker gathering.
This Year’s WordCamp Speakers
We were fortunate enough to have 27 speaker sessions at WordCamp Wilmington 2016. There were speakers for total newbies to seasoned web developers.
Notable speakers included:
- Peter La Fond, the Founder and CEO of My Internet Scout, LLC, a digital marketing firm serving businesses of all sizes in locations across the country. Peter shared his experience in his talk “Lessons for Beginners from Seven Years of Working with WordPress Clients,” sparing novice client service reps some of the trouble he experienced when he began.
- Shelly Peacock, an expert in WordPress and social media management who runs The SpinBird Group, a WordPress consulting and design business. Shelly’s talk “Frameworks for Freelancers – Double Time IT” shed light on managing time and building skills to get the most out of freelancing.
- Steve Mortiboy is the COO and Service Delivery Manager for Semper Fi Web Design. He also leads the team that develops plugins such as All in One SEO Pack. He is one of the organizers of Wordcamp Raleigh and the Raleigh WordPress Meetup Group. Steve presented “Fix Common Problems with SEO,” a helpful solution-based discussion of search engine optimization improvement through WordPress plugins.
DesignLoud Contributes to WordCamp Wilmington 2016
- Derek Schmidt, DesignLoud President and WordPress expert, presented “Tools for Speeding Up Custom Theme Development,” an intermediate to advanced level discussion of ways to cut costs and times when it comes to developing custom WordPress themes. Slides for the discussion can be found here.
- Ashley Thorpe, Graphic Designer at DesignLoud and creator of the logo and design of WordCamp Wilmington, presented a beginner’s tutorial on “How to Purchase and Setup a WordPress Template.” With years of experience and dedication to making websites visual stunners, Ashley discussed how to create a solid foundation for a beautiful and effective website.
WordCamp Wilmington 2017?
With the success of Wordcamp Wilmington 2016, we are looking hopefully toward another WordCamp next year. Ideally, WordCamp Wilmington 2017 will be bigger and better, with more speakers and more participants. We had a fabulous time meeting, mingling and collaborating with Wilmington’s tech talent. Thank you to WordCamp Wilmington’s sponsors, organizers, volunteers, speakers, and participants.
Did you attend WordCamp Wilmington 2016? What would you like to see at WordCamp Wilmington 2017? Let us know.