With WordCamp Vegas less than two weeks away, it's pretty much on my mind 24/7 at this point. Just making sure I've got all the details sorted out, food and shirts ordered, schedule sorted… It can be a bit overwhelming. But there's only so many times you can go over a list of tasks, right? RIGHT? Let me go look at the list again. OK, I'm back.
It's true, WordCamps are a lot of fun. I've got friends from all over the country coming in for the event. I get to hang out with the awesome speakers and sponsors on Friday night. Then, on Saturday, we'll have a blast at the after party. This year is going to be a bit extra special because on Sunday night I'll get to have all but one of the 9seeds team under one roof for a little food and drink. So yeah, I'm really looking forward to the fun.
But you know what is going to be just as fun? Watching it click.
Easy vs. Familiar
I've often explained to people that using WordPress is ‘easy.' But that answer can be a bit misleading. Sure, I find WordPress easy to use. I would hope so after using it for 10 years. If I didn't find it easy to use and was still using it 10 years later, I'd probably also still be rocking the Zach Morris cell phone and using AOL to access the internet.
Do you remember learning to drive a stick shift? I remember it being pretty intimidating. The first few times you try it you stall the car trying to take off. You shift gears in a herky-jerky sort of way. Having to stop on a hill is cause for a mild panic attack. But over time, you stop grinding the gears. You stop stalling the car. You get familiar with how the clutch feels and acts and before you know it, you're changing gears, changing the radio station while eating a burger and holding a 32 oz drink. It's just become second nature to you at some point.
Working with WordPress is the same way. For brand new users, hitting the dashboard and seeing the dozens and dozens of settings to play with can be very intimidating. ‘Easy' isn't likely to be the first word they would use to describe it. I find it important to remind myself of that fact before attending WordCamp or any WordPress meetup. A great number of the people in attendance don't have that familiarity to lean back on. Much of what will be talked about at the event is going to go over their head. But then…
The presentation starts. The crowd is listening intently. People are scribbling notes. Slides go by. Then the speaker says something that 99% of the crowd simply takes in stride. But for one person, that one sentence, that one slide, that one thought… for that one person it is the difference between being confused and knowing.
I've presented at several WordCamps and I speak regularly at our local WordPress meetup. If you ask me why I speak at them, it's for those exact moments. Watching somebody's face as they get that clarity, I find it intoxicating. After you see it once, you're going to want to see it again and again.