by Richard Martin
What to Expect
First of all, expect a lot of people! We anticipate over 400 people at WordCamp Ottawa 2014. With this number of people, you will have ample opportunity to network with like-minded folks. Make a point of mixing with people—both attendees and speakers.
Second, expect to learn a lot about WordPress. There are three tracks targeted at different expertise levels, and each track has multiple sessions.
We are excited about our speakers. They are coming from Ottawa and a number of locations across Canada and the United States. Most are veteran speakers with a few first timers—all who know their topics well.
You should choose the topics that most interest you and move between tracks to find what appeals to you. Keep in mind that you will not learn everything you need to know about WordPress—it is too large a topic to cover on one day. However, you will get exposed to many topics and you will be motivated to explore these topics after the event.
Third, if you are new to WordPress, I strongly encourage you to register the Introduction to WordPress on the Thursday preceding WordCamp. Registration is required to attend. Once you register, you only need to show up with a willingness to learn. Laptops are not required. You can take notes using your favourite media.
What to Bring
A way to take notes—a laptop is not required
You will want to take notes. So bring your favourite way to capture what is happening. If you use a laptop to capture notes, bring that. However, a laptop is not required at WordCamp.
The sessions are not instructor-led tutorials where you follow them through a lesson using a laptop. They are mostly in presentation format. Each speaker is required to post their slides on the WordCamp Ottawa website so that they are available for you. SlideShare is a popular format, although some people may post PDFs.
Internet access will be available via WiFi. However, I have found that WiFi access in crowded locations, where many people are trying to access the resource at the same time, can be problematic.
Lots of questions
Spend some time looking at the schedule and plan your day. Prepare questions for the speakers. If they cannot address the question during the talk because of time constraints, they will be available during the day.
You might have questions that do not neatly fit into the session topics but still need expert attention. In that case, you should visit the Happiness Bar. The Happiness Bar is a special activity at WordCamp where local and visiting WordPress experts offer help and advice to other attendees who come up to the Bar with their questions. Many of our speakers also help at the Happiness Bar.
Water and snacks
It will be busy day. You will want to take in as much as you can, quickly move between sessions, meet friends in the hall, and make new connections. Make sure you are hydrated and well-fueled. While WordCamp Ottawa 2014 will have snacks and plenty of drinks, including coffee, and lunch, if you prefer you may want to bring a water bottle and some healthy and portable in-between-meal snacks like granola bars or trail mix.
You will meet new people at WordCamp Ottawa 2014. Bring business cards so that they can follow up with you after the event.
The WordCamp Experience
The focus of any WordCamp is to provide an environment where you learn about WordPress. At my first WordCamp in Toronto, I found that I not only learned a significant amount, I was impressed with how open and accessible people were. The emphasis is on sharing and developing the community. Believe me, it works.
Secondly, I think that you will be impressed with the diversity of people who attend. You might think that it is only programmers, coders and website designers at the WordCamp discussing bits, algorithms and data structures. Bloggers, small business owners, non-profits, educational institutions, media outlets, political organizations and more use WordPress as their preferred publishing platform. Expect to find representatives from each of these groups talking about their communications challenges and how WordPress works for them. And feel free to join in on the conversation.
Finally, things at a WordCamp run on time! Yes, they do. The agenda is packed tight with no room for overrun, so the organizers want to keep the event running smoothly.
Once the day’s work is done, you are invited to come out to enjoy a refreshment, and chat with friends old and new at our networking get-together.
For More Information
For more information, please visit: