WordCamp US Nashville December 1-3, 2017 Review
This year’s WordCamp US was held in the bustling city of Nashville, Tennessee. The venue name where this software conference was held just kind of sucks you in… Music City Center. I envisioned hearing music everywhere I went and while that was not exactly the case I did get to enjoy some killer live jazz music for two days in a row over lunch. More on that later. You should add a visit to this most excellent convention center to your list if you live in the area or find yourself visiting this awesome place. Here is what a typical hallway looks like in this architectural gem.
Just posted Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee USA to #INSTAGRAMhttps://t.co/9x13F7Z185@ViaAStockADay #ViaAStockADay #500pxrtg #FotoDelDia #SharingTheBeauty #PhotoOfTheDay #PhotographyIsLife #Photography #Photo #Photos #Photog #Photogs #Camera #Cameras #Foto #WCUS 🆒 pic.twitter.com/bei33cOhsD
— A Stock A Day (@ViaAStockADay) December 3, 2017
This was my first time attending the national conference and I did not know exactly what to expect. I guess in my mind I thought it was going to be like the local Wordcamps I have attended only at a larger scale. In a way it was kind of like a local Wordcamp but it was really structured quite differently. The sessions were much shorter and there was more time to hang out and kind of do whatever you wanted. As a bonus this year I was one of 200+ folk were volunteered to help out which was a unique experience. I would encourage you to volunteer if you can it is a great way to give back to the community.
— Steve Stern (@sds52) December 2, 2017
The above clever Tweet is a reference to the impressive WordPress market share at a stunning nearly 30%! There was over 3000 attendees at this year’s WordCamp US which is impressive. People flew in from all around the world to attend. I really enjoyed this conference and everyone was very cordial and polite.
Reflecting on @WordCampUS with so much gratitude:
– To the organizers, who work so hard as volunteers
– To friends who brought so many laughs
– To those I was nervous to meet, who were so kind & welcoming
– To all who made it possible & believe in open source.
Thank you.#WCUS pic.twitter.com/GMiuvakToi
— Sara Dunn (@Sara11D) December 3, 2017
I attended several sessions on day 1 including The Impact of OpenSource Contributors in Journalism by RC Lations. RC is the lead developer at the Institute for Nonprofit News, where he works to help others democratize publishing using WordPress. RC is from Maine and informed everyone that just about all of the local news in the state are running WordPress. RC ran through a bunch of plugins and ideas. It was a wealth of information and I still need to go back through his deck and do some research. RC mentioned how Time magazine runs WordPress. Pretty cool!
While volunteering I met a really nice guy by the name of Whit Gardner who is a Nashville local WordPresser and was a wealth of information about the best micro brews, neighborhoods and restaurants. Whit explained to me that Nashville’s resurgence has really only just happened over the past decade and he credited the 68th Mayor of Nashville Karl Dean for making this renewal happen.
During his two terms in office, Dean transformed downtown Nashville by adding a new minor league baseball stadium, a riverfront amphitheater and park, and a new convention center dubbed the Music City Center. Dean was friendly towards business and often used tax incentives to lure companies to Nashville. Wikipedia
It was time for lunch and we were in for a special treat HOT CHICKEN! You cannot go to Nashville without getting hot chicken. On day 2 for lunch there was barbecue served with Chess pie. Never heard of Chess pie? Me either but it was really tasty and went surprisingly well with the barbecue and jazz music. Anyone know the name of this band? If so please comment below.
After lunch I attended Aaron Douglas: How Working Remote Saved My Life. I will let this inspirational session speak for itself watch below courtesy of WordPress.tv.
On Saturday I volunteered with a local SEO wiz named Ross Jones owner of 2 the Top Web Design & Marketing. Ross is an unbelievable wealth of information on SEO and all things WordPress so if you ever need help look him up. He is a character and a huge Tennessee Volunteers sports fan so be sure to give him a hard time about how bad the football team was at least in 2017 😉
I broke away from volunteering for a little while so I could check out Media Handling in WordPress Explained by Joe McGill. Joe is also out of St. Louis and I had the chance to catch him at several St. Louis WordCamps including one year when our kids were in Kids Camp together which was really fun. I would love to see Kids Camp come back in some capacity. Anyway Joe did a great job explaining WordPress media handling to a packed house.
I spent the afternoon chatting with folks, visiting vendors and then it was time for the keynote.
Recommended viewing: State of the Word, 2017 | Matt Mullenweg
After some high level overview and stats Matt handed the reigns off to Matías Ventura who gave a demo of Gutenberg the forthcoming block editor that will make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. It was great to see the new features in action even though Gutenberg will likely not be ready for production until April of 2018. I am going to try and get involved with testing of Gutenberg and I encourage you to do the same.
The after-party on Saturday night was at Adventure Science Center which was a perfect spot for everyone to meet up and cut loose a little bit. I climbed to the top of an indoor jungle gym, watched a planetarium show and hung out with attendees. It was a lot of fun.
In wrapping up I am very happy I made the trek down to Nashville from Saint Louis to attend this year’s WordCamp US. I feel like this conference continues to be a great value at only $40 and the community is filled with fantastic open minded folks.
I am also very proud of all the volunteers and organizers it was an amazing weekend and I hope to return next year if the stars align.
Until then I leave you with this poem called Code is Poetry which may or may not have included an F bomb and a mic drop 🎤.
Related content: Read my other WordCamp Reviews from prior years.