This follow up meeting was just a little more organised and just a little more focused than the first one with actual topics and subjects which (hopefully) enriched the experience of everyone involved. I personally learned a lot about blogging and creative writing from this session – actually, I learned sort of what I already know, it takes a lot of work and there are no shortcuts.
Other topics were the usual plugin recommendation, a healthy discussion on recommended reading and tips for new users and finally a quick chat on the potential for a fully-fledged WordCamp South Yorkshire to grow out of the meetup which will potentially happen early in 2011.
A WordCamp for South Yorkshire
Since WordCamp UK a few months ago there has been a change in the landscape of UK-based WordPress gatherings. Essentially the overlords at Automattic are keen for the userbase to break away into smaller, cosier and more local events rather than just a single large event.
This allows for more than 1 UK-based WordCamp per year (yey!) and encourages local WordPress gurus to build local communities whilst simultaneously promoting and evangelising the WordPress platform.
This sea change has already led to a number of smaller planned events such as WordCamp Whitehall which will hit London October 13th and is organised by Simon Dickson, the man who helped WordPress get into Number 10.
What about WordCamp UK?
I have yet to comment on the negative fallout from WordCamp UK (which is summed up excellently here by Dave Coveney), but here goes.
Because of the distance involved the USA model for WordCamps is very different to the UK model. Also, the sheer number of WordPress users in the United States vastly outnumbers the small pocket of WordPress consumers we have over here in the British Isles. Therefore the current USA model cannot (yet) be achieved in the UK but there is potential for middle ground.
I fully support the idea of ‘local’ WordCamps – in the UK and anywhere else – but I also really, really, REALLY see a strong need for a central event where visitors and organisers of ‘satellite’ events can congregate and provide a larger and perhaps more professional setting to help serve the entire UK community.
Take a look at WordCamps such as WordCamp New York and the MASSIVE and ever growing WordCamp San Francisco – these events are notable for their size and stature and with a little more time WordCamp UK will rise to this level.
This model allows for WordCamp UK and smaller WordPress-meetups/camps to co-exist in the same universe. We won’t lose the excellence of WordCamp UK but we will (hopefully) gain a new more diverse insurgence of WordPress-related gatherings.
WordCamp South Yorkshire is something the South Yorkshire WordPress User Group will be building up over the next couple of months. It will understandably be in Sheffield because of the existing infrastructure and support network provided by the team at the GIST Hub.
For more information keep an eye on Twitter and the #sywp hashtag.