(Note: This post also appears on my other site, www.wpteach.com)
One of the best things about using WordPress is the amazing community behind it. Lots of times you hear talk of one community and another, but seldom do they live up to their hype. But that’s truly different when it comes to WordPress. Whether it’s a Meetup, a WordCamp, or simply asking a question on one of the forums, more often than not you readily get great information from people more than willing to help. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great people in organizing one WordCamp (so far!), attending and speaking at other WordCamps, and as a member (and now co-organizer) of the Toronto WordPress Meetup group.
My involvement with WordPress and the community has certainly expanded my knowledge and my network, and it has motivated me in many ways to contribute back to the community. Whether it’s through my new site, WPTeach, where I share my knowledge to help people build great sites using WP, or my teaching a course on using WP at George Brown College this semester, or being one of the organizers for WordCamp Toronto this past Fall (and, hopefully, going forward), I truly have immersed myself in the local community, and, thanks to the perks of my day job, been able to connect with the national WordPress community, as well.
One of the first things you learn as you start to organize or attend WordPress is that the popularity of the platform poses some interesting planning challenges. On one hand, you have people who are new to the platform and self-publishing in general, who need “hand holding” (for lack of a better term) through the platform dashboard and how to use the various built-in functions of the software. These people are sponges when it comes to absorbing whatever knowledge they can get their hands on and love things like Meetups and WordCamps. They are feverishly taking notes, asking lots of questions, and, more often than not, I simply get to witness their “lightbulb moment,” when the issue they have been struggling with suddenly becomes clear because of someone’s presentation or assistance. Those are the moments that make all the hard work and long hours worth the effort.
On the other hand, there are those people who have embraced WordPress as their developmental platform of choice and are now well past the ”teach me how to use WordPress” stage. They are either writing code or, at least, learning how to code themes, plugins, and maybe even contribute to the core development of WordPress going forward. Asking these people to sit in the same presentation as a new user usually ends one of two ways depending on the topic: the developer is bored to tears by such a rudimentary (to them) session or the new user is completely overwhelmed by the complexity of the topic that appeals to the developer.
Which brings me to the point of this post, and it only took me 490ish words! Here in Toronto, we have recently started a second WordPress Meetup group specifically geared to developers–hence the catchy name: Toronto WordPress Developers Meetup. The goal is to bring the amazing WP development talent we have here in Toronto together to share ideas, knowledge, best practices and maybe even job opportunities. By starting the second group, we are hoping to specifically cater to those who have more advanced (or who are ready to have advanced) knowledge of WordPress. We hope to help them increase their knowledge, give them an opportunity to network, and generally just meet people like themselves who share the same level of interest in the platform.
So with all that said here is the link to the new meetup group, Toronto WordPress Developers. If you’re a developer or are interested in learning how to become one, and you live in the GTA, we are looking forward to hearing from you and meeting you soon!!