My Experiences with WordCamps in India! [TDIS]

It is now over a week since I attended my second WordCamp. The first one I attended in Mumbai, India – where I was slightly disappointed with the lack of WordPress related discussions. But I was not really complaining and looked forward to another one in the city of Baroda. The WordCamp in Baroda was better than the Mumbai event as it had more WordPress related content being discussed and shared.

I thought, I would sit down and write my views on WordCamps that I have attended. The idea of this post is to take stock of how things might be at WordCamps being hosted in India and how could they get better.

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What I found lacking at WordCamps!

WordPress is not exactly very popular in India. It has a decent following but nowhere developed like it is say in western countries. I think there were some basic things that I found lacking at WordCamps I attended.

  • Local meetups arranged prior to WordCamps seem to be few if not completely absent. Having meetups will be a good idea as this will give a good idea to organizers on how much local enthusiasm is there for the WordCamps. It will also help drum up support for WordCamps.
  • People love to volunteer and get involved. But people who want to get involved need a platform to get involved. I think more work can be done to build better smaller local communities which can be more accessible.
  • The talk sessions sometimes are more centered around social media and SEO tips. I personally find this a waste of time when social media marketing tips and SEO tutorials are shared which have nothing to do with WordPress.
  • I did not come across any good sessions on basic introduction to WordPress. This I think is a must have session for any WordCamp.
  • I was also a little disappointed that WordCamps I attended hardly saw a mention of how people should contribute to WordPress. It is important that as open-source community we think of making and adding to WordPress more than just taking from it.

I won’t be too harsh on the two WordCamps that I attended as I saw organizers themselves sharing their experiences with other organizers very freely. This is crucial as sharing their experiences will improve WordCamps a lot more in the future.

What I would like to see in India’s WordPress community

I am using the word ‘community’ instead of ‘WordCamp’ on purpose.

  • I would love to see organizers write down a detailed list of difficulties they came across while arranging a WordCamp. This would be a great resource to future WordCamp organizers.
  • Another idea is for organizers to help first time speakers. First time speakers are often unsure about their sessions and maybe a list of things to do, guides on how to go about presenting a session and what they should talk about might be of great use to them.
  • Finally, I would love to see a session called ‘Basics of WordPress’ for people who simply have no idea of what WordPress is all about. This could be like a 10 minute session.
  • Finally, I would like a lot local casual meetups. It would also be great if people who take part in such meetups write and share what they discussed during these gatherings.

India’s love affair with WordPress is simply beginning!

I suspect India does not have a very strong WordPress community. There is a lot of interest in it surely but most students are not exactly aware of it. There are many WordPress developers who work freelance in India. But many of them are not exactly organized as a community. Hopefully with more WordCamps all that will change slowly by surely.

As WordPress is open-source, it’s biggest supporters will always be college going kids who do not exactly have a lot of resources but have the adventurous spirit to learn new things.

Considering India will have a lot of young people who might not find fancy jobs in IT, I am sort of betting on them finding their true calling with WordPress. :-)

Useful Links for WordCamp and WordPress Meetup Organizers

If you are interested in taking part in WordCamps or organizing them you might find some of these links useful.

Finally, as I was writing about WordCamps in India, let me inform you about the next one. WordCamp Pune 2013 will be held on the 23rd &24th February 2013.

Special thanks to Rahul Banker, who did a great job of organizing WordCamp – Baroda 2013.

Do drop in your comments and views about WordCamps and WordPress events in India.

Editor’s Note: This post is part of our TDIS ( Thank Devil It’s Sunday) feature, where we publish casual and personal posts.

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11 Comments…

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  1. Thanks for the wonderful write up BTW.

    about “I did not come across any good sessions on basic introduction to WordPress. This I think is a must have session for any WordCamp.” . . . Well we at WordCamp Baroda had one . . . not upto the mark but I think it was my duty to give chance to someone who’s willing to speak up.

    • Yes we had a basics sessions in Baroda – but it what we needed was a more interactive one which was more about questions and answers. Maybe that part of Q&A could have taken part before WordCamp sessions started.
      I think the one in Mumbai, had a hurriedly arranged “WordPress Basics” session as one speaker ended up missing the event.

  2. First time Speakers should be told precisely what they should cover and where to stop at. But the problem is, even they are first time organizers so, these things do happen.
    Liked the way you honestly jotted down whatever you felt about the events.
    It’s just the beginning.. Looking forward to next WordCamp at Pune :)

    • Rohit, I am sure at future WordCamps, organizers will take this into account and help out first time speakers in a more structured manner.

    • I feel it is more about the way we present stuff. I’ve a little know how about the technicalities and theory of presentations. I will try to publish these in the coming months, on an appropriate platform.

  3. Hi Aditya, First of all I wasn’t even aware that there is something like wordcamps even exist in India so thanks for sharing that. Second thing I feel rtCamp being one of the leaders in wp development in India (I personally use rtPanel in one of my sites) might help these events a lot more. I would love to attend a word camp where team rtCamp and team DW takes the leadership role. I will take a watch at these events now and will attend one if it takes place in Hyderabad any time.

    • Writing great code and organising an event like WordCamp are different cups of cake. We haven’t thought of the latter, yet. We are contributing to WordCamps in our own way: providing constructive feedback, creating useful and interactive sessions, spreading the open source love, amongst other things.

      In individual capacities, we are all free to join up and organise WordCamps. Probably that is the best way it must go, rather than a single company, organisation or brand organising it.

  4. Nicely penned! Hope some core members at Wordcamp make a note of your suggestions.

  5. While I can’t say much about WordPress communities in other cities, in Pune we do have WordPress usergroup Pune, where we do try to organize monthly meetups, but we could only do 2 meetups last year. Let’s hope we can do more meetups this year.

  6. I strongly agree that the development of more active local WordPress communities – centered around casual, monthly meetups – is the key to the growth of WordPress and WordCamps in India. WordCamps are not an end unto themselves; they should arise from the local community. In fact, the process of organizing a WordCamp is a great community-building exercise.

    The best WordCamps in the world provide great, original content, certainly, but they also help the local community come together in a way that helps make the WordPress project robust and very special.

    If you love WordCamps and want to organize one in your hometown, start with organizing a monthly, in-person WordPress meetup. Once you’ve had the experience of gathering a group of people in a room together to talk about WordPress every month for 4-6 months, then you have the best foundation in the world to build an awesome WordCamp.

    For tips and tricks on organizing meetups, I highly recommend http://make.wordpress.org/events/.

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