Today WordPress is powering over 60 million websites, and it is the most popular CMS in the world. It is being used by one third of the internet. This has created a global community that includes business owners, developers, digital marketers, students and more, who are all contributing to its Open source project.
What is both impressive and astonishing is that this community is closely knitted together and connects through locally organized, in-person community events known as WordCamp. Here participants mingle with each other over one thing – their shared love of WordPress and open source.
We are lucky to have with us Andrea Middleton from Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com. Andrea is part of a team that includes fourteen individuals who help WordPress community organizers. They are offering these organizers planning support for events, connect the community and contribute to the WordPress project. Her role is specifically focused on these in-person community events, meaning she is the best person to share with us how this all works.
With Andrea, we will get a complete walkthrough of how WordPress has today 700 groups across the world since their first community event back in 2006 which was Matt Mullenweg, CEO of Automattic. Together, we will trace back how Automattic ensured these communities were fostered by offering them support from full-time professionals dedicated towards these community events and gatherings.
The biggest challenge here is obvious: how do you bring together so many diverse communities together and ensure the events are engaging and interesting? Andrea shares with us how at WordPress.com and Automattic the goal is to offer guidance, training and freedom for anyone that wants to host these events in their local community, creating events expressive of their localities.
It’s a classic “bottoms up” approach where organizers are supported by WordPress while given freedom to do what they want to do: to bring WordPress enthusiasts together, inspire people to contribute to the Open source project and encourage participants to do more with WordPress.
With over 2,000 volunteers and organizers all working independently, in coherence with Andrea’s team, WordPress has truly achieved something wonderful: a community of individuals that not only love WordPress but are working to make it better.