I was a speaker in WordCamp Rome, national event of the WordPress community. It was a pleasure to meet old faces and new, all in the context of positive energy and a perfect organization.
What makes the WP community so interesting is its diversity. Just take a look at the schedule and realize how we talked not only about code and open source, but also about marketing, social, entrepreneurship.
Another hint of this diversity is given from the presence of women, which are more and more needed in the tech world, and a wide age span (from 20 to 60 years old).
WordPress may seem a little outdated from a technical point of view, it has on its shoulders more than 10 years of incremental development. Despite this, it was kept up to date with machine to machine communication via the REST API. Soon the editing experience will be renovated with Gutenberg, built with React. Worth to note how the political weight of WordPress gave Facebook the necessary motivation to change React license.
WordPress is developed and supported by an international community of volunteers, coming from a wide variety of backgrounds. It gives work to hundreds of thousands of freelancers and web agencies, it’s the entry point for many teenagers approaching programming. It is an evident demonstration that technology is to serve people, real people living in a real world made of relations, emotions, dreams.
Too often we technicians have a technocentric view: the most valuable lesson I received from the WordPress community, lesson which I try to keep crystal clear on top of my mind, is that technology is just a tool.
WordPress is a civilization symbol.
This WordCamp hosted not only human talks. There was a chicken too, our dear Mr Watzlawick. We showed how to code a recommendation engine for WP in 100 lines. We also took a deviation to show how to measure similarity between texts and introduced the topic of vectorization (i.e. how to turn things into number so they can be fed to a machine learning algorithm). Here is the code and here the slides:
There are many people I would like to thank to make possible such a big inclusive event. Thank you a lot. Special kudos:
- Eugenio Petullà‘s leadership and the values he can communicate
- Andrea Volpini and his persistence in working on linked data
- Talks I liked the most:
- Luca Sartoni, offering marketing and career lessons based on his own errors
- Matteo Cassese, the italian version of Don Draper, who showed the basic elements of a successfull media campaign on the web
- Antonio Schiavone, making people aware of web accessibility
- Francesca Marano for her description as a whole of the community and its issues
As a conclusion, I invite you to JOIN THE COMMUNITY, not only using WordPress, but also by showing up at the nearest of the periodic MeetUps organized all over the world (italian ones here). Just take part as a guest, invite your friends, and when you feel comfortable propose a talk and share your experience. You will feel at home.
Credits: photos from here.