The power of the community: WordCamp Nepal 2015
We concluded the fourth edition of the Nepali WordCamp (aka WordCamp Nepal 2015) last weekend (21st November). In my opinion, it was a great example of how a community event can and should be. Year 2015 has not been so kind to us. It presented us with quite a few curve balls. First, the Great Earthquake in April, the on-going blockade and shortages and the ever-lasting political rollercoaster of our country. But, with the support of the community – YOUR support, we hit that curve ball right out of the park. I don’t think even a fraction of this would have been possible without our generous sponsors, energetic fellow organizers and passionate volunteers. Everything happened as planned: the sessions started and ended on time, there was hard core work done on themes and plugins in the workshops, and people had hearty chats with each other throughout the day — everything that a WordCamp should have.
The WordPress Community is AWESOME
We had very little time to organize WordCamp Nepal 2015. There were doubts if we’d find sponsors and co-organizers. We had reassured ourselves saying no matter how small the turnout would be, we’d give our best and finish WordCamp Nepal. Because in a community like ours, continuity and consistency is essential.
But to our utmost surprise, the sponsors’ slots started filling up one by one. People started contacting us to assist as organizers and volunteers. WordPress.org itself is a community-driven organization. Volunteers created everything in the WordPress.org project, “from the code to the documentation.” WordCamp is no exception. Volunteers help organize and run the conference to give back to the community.
The number of attendees (campers) went up to almost 250 people compared to approximately 200 last year. Not caring much about the obstacles, campers gathered from far away cities at the venue for connection-reconnection, fun, learning and sharing knowledge and stories. The volunteers handled tasks ranging from registration to passing the mic during the Q&A. Everyone I met was super-friendly. There wasn’t any room for egos because WordPress is open source and people gain influence by how much they contributed to the greater good of the project. WordPressers got to meet with their fellow community members in person, share their work with each other, and sow the seeds for future partnership.
This year, we had the schedule printed at the back of the attendee’s name tag so that the attendees can consult it easily. In terms of the content, there were many great presentations that addressed matters in and around WordPress. Raushan Jaiswal, from Codewing Solutions, presented a wonderful presentation of the top 10 WordPress plugins that are useful for bloggers. Sakar Upadhyaya Khatiwada from Proshore shared his idea of a more accessible WordPress and how it can be achieved. For those looking to make a vocation out of WordPress, there was a panel discussion on “WordPress for Career” with Roshan Bhattarai, Alina Kakshapati, Yam B Chettri and Sakin Shrestha on the panel. Chandra Maharzan acted as a moderator for the discussion. With an aim to encourage plugin development and developers, Bryce Adams from Automattic gave an excellent talk. That was one of the most popular sessions of the day. Digamber Pradhan from Web Experts Nepal presented his insights on WooCommerce: An E-commerce plugin for WordPress. Then Arjun Singh Thakuri presented the transparency report of his company, Access Keys. A burning topic – How to diagnose WordPress attacks – addressed by Roshan Bhattarai will definitely prove handy for WordPress users. The youngest speaker of the day, Rajeeb Banstola from Theme Grill revealed his insights on “Better WordPress Development Workflow”. To this year’s WordCamp, we added contribution sessions on themes and plugins beside the main talks. The presentations had something for everyone, people who have in-depth knowledge of WordPress, as well as newbies.
Everyone got SWAG. WordPressers proudly toted their new T-shirts, mugs, key-chains, stickers, bags and notebooks. Thanks Jetpack for sending us goodies for distribution. JetPack swag bags were a huge hit. All that SWAG definitely spread excitement. Everybody likes a little something to remember the event by.
WordCamp Nepal 2015 was the result of lots of hard work, energy and dedication. I have a huge list of names to thank but since they know who they are, I’ll condense it. Kudos to the organizing team who worked magic. Thank you to all the great speakers who kept the audience engaged throughout. The volunteers helped everything in the event run smoothly. The venue, Administrative Staff College, was spacious and their staff very accommodating. Last but not the least, you – the attendees – the WordCampers. Organizers can try to offer the structure and the like, but ultimately, it’s the attendees who set the tone with their level of participation, their reciprocation and enthusiasm. Know that each and every one of you made all the brainstorming and backbreaking worthwhile. Being a part of the community and welcoming new people to that community in this way is so thrilling and satisfying.
WordCamp Nepal 2015 has only just ended, yet I can’t help but get excited about WordCamp Nepal 2016. Really looking forward to next year, new challenges, and new accomplishments.