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How does a first-time attendee feel ahead of WordCamp Bristol?

In conversation with Kim Slater

WordCamp Bristol is returning for a second year on 18-19 May, with a Contributor Day on 17 May.

The WordPress community will be gathering to share ideas, connect and inspire one another during a weekend of talks about a range of topics relating to WordPress and people who use it, from back-end development to managing your work-life balance.

As a platinum sponsor, the team at Mind Doodle will be there showcasing our software and chatting to people about how they use WordPress. Ahead of the event, we spoke to one of the newest members of our team, Kim Slater, who has joined us as a content assistant.

We asked Kim how she felt in the run up to her first ever WordCamp!

What’s your experience with WordPress?

Photo of Kim Slater, Content Assistant at Mind Doodle

My life has taken a lot of turns that I never expected which has led me to study public relations and journalism at UWE as a mature student. Writing was something I never nurtured in myself, but soon after I started my course I realised I loved it. As a means to practise my writing skills and find my own voice I decided to start a blog a year and a half ago. With very little research and know-how, I settled on using WordPress.

I felt my way through it and had it ready to go within a few hours. Since then, I have taught myself better ways of doing things, but I am still learning. What I love about WordPress is that it makes everything fairly straight forward, especially considering I had no idea where to start! I’m really excited to use the Mind Doodle plugin which lets me build my blog using a mind map and see it from a totally different perspective.

What do you know about WordCamps?

I had never heard of WordCamps, let alone considered going to one, before I started at Mind Doodle. When I applied for the job, I did a bit of research and found that some of the team had been involved in WordCamps and Meetups in the past. Curious, I kept digging and found this whole WordPress community I had no idea existed.

Looking through schedules and sessions from previous events really intrigued me. Ever since then, I have kept one eye on what’s happening within the community, so I’m really excited to go and see it up close.

From what I’ve heard, WordCamps aren’t formal, rigid professional conferences like a newcomer might expect. The talks and sessions are scheduled in the same way as other conferences might be, and WordCamp organisers have their fingers on the pulse of the developer community, but what’s different is that there is a big emphasis on collaboration and supporting others. This isn’t the place to make hard and fast sales, or to find new clients necessarily, but it could be a great place to meet a mentor, learn, ask questions, find similar minds or completely different ones.

How do you feel about going to WordCamp Bristol?

One thing I have learned in life is that you never know where your next adventure is going to come from. A few years ago, I would have never considered working for a tech company, even in a creative capacity, and I would’ve felt out of my depth going to a WordCamp.

Working at Mind Doodle is one of the things that has helped me open up, put myself out there and take every opportunity. From a distance, hearing stories and seeing the online presence of the WordPress community has got me feeling far more excited than apprehensive.

What will you be doing at WordCamp Bristol?

I’ll be attending WordCamp Bristol with the Mind Doodle team, who are a platinum sponsor. This means I’ll spend some of my time on our stand, talking to people about Mind Doodle (come and say hi!), as well as checking out some of the talks. I’m also really interested to see some of the other stands that will be there, since there’s so many sides of the WordPress community I’m yet to discover.

Which talks are you most looking forward to?

There are a few talks which took my fancy immediately. I have a personal interest in mental health within society, so Dan Maby’s talk on WordPress, the Community and Your Mental Health would be great to see.

Since I have started studying and working at Mind Doodle, I have gone from spending upwards of 50 hours a week around a team and customers to spending most of my time at home or working alone in a coffee shop. Luminus Alabi is doing a lightning talk on Rocking Remote Work: Living Your Best Life & Maintaining Your Sanity so I am hoping to pick up a few tips from that.

Of course, I’d love to see our own marketing manager Tess with her talk Using WordPress to do_action. All bias aside, I think using your skills, whatever they are, to do good in the world is a really empowering experience, she’s a pretty inspirational person and I’d love to see her take on that.

All three of those talks are things that I have a personal interest in, but I would like to stretch myself too. I think it’s a good opportunity to check out a talk that I would never usually go to and learn something along the way – any recommendations are welcome!

What are you looking to get out of your first WordCamp?

Besides meeting people and having a chance to talk about Mind Doodle, I’m looking to learn. As a WordPress newbie, I would love to get some inspiration from people who know it much better than I do. You don’t know what you don’t know, so, I’m looking forward to finding out about features and tools that I’m not aware of at the moment. I feel like it will be a jumping off point. I’m quite good at self-teaching, and more than happy to come away and do my own research, but I need a place to start and I feel like WordCamp Bristol will give me just that.

What are you most excited about?

Meeting new people. Although, that’s what I’m most excited about in any situation, the WordPress community seem like such an inclusive and progressive group of people and I can’t wait to get involved.

I feel really lucky to have the opportunity to get involved in something so out of my comfort zone. Keep an eye out for my next blog posts in a few weeks time and I’ll let you know how it goes!

Let’s create something

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