🔮 WordCamp Prediction
WordCamps will eventually become a thing again. The clock is going to be re-set a few years.Remember when WordCamps were a thing?
It seems like so long ago when people would pack up for a long weekend to attend talks and cruise sponsorship tables.
The idea of a WordCamp now sounds pretty nice. Especially because every conference since COVID has been a virtual event. People are burnt out of those. Virtual events are flat-out boring.
But you know what? Before COVID, I remember people getting burnt out from the WordCamp experience. The same old talks, same old swag, same old travel issues, same old tiredness due to staying out too late.
When we get through the worst of the pandemic, WordCamps will feel special again.
We were at a tipping point for WordCamps before 2020. Something needed to change.
Organizers were struggling to find ways to make their event special, always trying to “one-up” the previous year. Speaker & sponsor dinners, after parties, and free stuff were all starting to lose their appeal.
This is not to imply that they were poorly organized. The folks planning these events put in a lot of their free time and energy to make them happen. Some of my close friends in WordPress were organizers. They wore themselves out in an effort to make the event enjoyable for everyone.
The problem was that the organizers were almost too good. They all leveraged the same winning formula for the event experience and flow. It worked, but it was predictable after the third year.
As a result, WordCamps started to lose their uniqueness. The presentations themselves were going too broad instead of deep.
All that said, in (what looks like) 2022, that slate will be wiped clean!
If there is ever a time to be a WordCamp organizer, it will be in 2022-2023.
People are aching to be back to normal. They want to mingle with others, chat in hallways, attend talks, and network with handshakes (okay… elbow bumps) instead of Zoom. Sponsors will have dollars to spend as well!
The events will be a breath of fresh air! No need to try to “one-up” the previous year. Getting back to basics will be perfectly fine.
Sure, some new health and safety guidelines will be in place, but those will make the experience all that much more enjoyable.
And by 2025, we'll need to start thinking again about innovating the experience. How that looks, I don't know.
One option is to go smaller instead of going bigger. Stop trying to outdo the previous year. Get back to basics and focus on the content.
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