WordCamp Cincinnati

At the recommendation of a few other bloggers, I went to my local WordCamp weekend conference. While I had a mixed reaction to the event, I was glad I went. And in fact, will probably go again next year.   Here’s a quick synopsis of that mixed reaction:

  • I’m (just) a hobby blogger. The local WordCamp here was focused on website developers and website (small business) owners. The speakers I listened to had a low opinion of “hobby bloggers”, so I felt like a second-class citizen.

 

  • Serendipity! I found the “how-to” for one of my long-time blog-to-do – how to create blog structure. Of course it’s only 90% of what I want to implement and I’m struggling with the last 10%. Let me know if I screw up your reading of the blog.

 

  • Explored coding! You never know where your passion might strike and there are a lot of passionate people engaged in coding. So I went to a session on coding plug-ins and themes.   I’m still waiting for the “OMG, so cool” moment to strike – it’s not coding. 🙂

 

  • My blog theme is “retired”… meaning it’s no longer being supported by WordPress and I need to move on.   Essentially it’s been put out to pasture to die.   Just another negative connotation for retired. L I will be updating my theme.   Any suggestions?

 

  • What are you selling? I did meet some interesting people. Many were doing (multiple) side-hustles and looking to make a buck with a (website based) gig.   I was also surprised at meeting a number of people who wanted to start a business with a blog attached, but had no idea what their topic/niche would be. I felt like the oddity as a blogger with no interest to make a buck off it. But I do know my niche!

 

Next year I will focus on some of the more inspirational speakers, versus the WordPress how-to workshops. Attending these how-to workshops did help me become more familiar with the dashboard and blog themes.   And, perhaps there will be more blogger-based topics, especially as I provided that feedback!

Net: A day at your local WordCamp is definitely worth the affordable price and time.  I do feel more comfortable with the basics of using the WordPress site…even if I’m just a hobby blogger.

 

31 thoughts on “WordCamp Cincinnati

  1. I just learned a WordCamp is being planned for MY city. Not knowing anything about these events, I searched WP and came upon your post. I’m glad I did. Since I am totally a hobby blogger (and hobby photographer), and completely uninterested in learning how to earn money from my blog, I think I’ll skip the event. I’ve already met several of my local hobby blogger colleagues, so going to the event wouldn’t necessarily facilitate that. In fact, if any bloggers are coming to the event in Buffalo, NY on May 5 and would like to meet me, we can make private arrangements. I’d much rather use that $20 for a dinner with a friendly hobby blogger than waste it learning about monetizing my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your description of the Word Camp, Pat. I’m also among the ranks of the hobby blogger. I love the writing and the connections, but am still a little intimidated by the technical aspects. Like now, I really need to transition to the secure https but I don’t know where to start. Google, I guess. 🙂 I also enjoyed reading all the comments about hobby bloggers. Seems you hit a nerve!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Had a LOL moment with your 2 comments. I too have had those computer glitches where you don’t know if something posted. Kudos to you for trying again. Last time I didn’t have the energy to rethink my comments. Sad.

      Like

    2. Christie, I recently transitioned to https. I just called my hosting company and for a fee, they added it and made the changes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing information on the Word Camp. I’m also in the ranks of a hobby blogger. I love the writing, but am still a little intimidated by the technical aspects. I need to figure out how to transition to the https, but I have no idea where to begin. Google, I guess? I also enjoyed reading through all the comments. It looks like you hit a nerve!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was really annoyed when I read the part about the condescending attitude towards hobby bloggers. That just rots my socks. If the purpose of the WordPress platform is to facilitate connection with likeminded people, why should it matter whether the platform is monetized or not?

    To be honest, I find myself drifting away from blogs that start becoming a ‘product’ … or I guess the buzzword is ‘brand’. I want to connect with people, not brands.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah Joanne, people and their blogs are actually brands, even if they’re not selling anything. Whether they are a travel story-teller, a knitting photo-journalist, or a early retiree traveller, all of us who have any core content along one or more categories are telling you what their brand is. Sorry, I did brand development for years and part of my personal renewal was using some of that work to redefine my “personal brand” (a work in refinement). In fact, I tend to connect with bloggers who have a really well-defined “brand” because I know what to expect from them – a tone of voice, a type of content. I think it’s the “selling” you’re not connecting with, not the personal “branding”. Sorry this might come across as a bit of a rant…. but branding can get a bad rap when in fact it can help you identify the like-minded or even the other-minded to help you broaden your fields of interest. I too don’t like the constant selling…when every blog post ends in a hire me or buy this, I tend to say “nope, good-bye” (unless the content is amazing and then I just ignore their last 2 paragraphs of every blog!).

      Like

  5. When I went to Sacramento’s WordCamp in September (and was a speaker)–this one had the blogging track– finally, I proudly explained I was a hobby blogger to a crowd of 200 bloggers. I spoke on a blog monetization panel but explained one can still earn some dollars with a hobby blog by going the route of self-publishing and freelancing which was what I did. My hobby blog is the intro to potential customers who would read my work. I feel strongly that ALL bloggers should start with a free account or a minimal self-hosted site to see if they can even sustain writing a blog and just enjoy the subjects on which you write. I read too many how-to blog books, in the beginning, which set me on a path I thought would work. “Work” was the operative word and I retired from my day job for a reason! People that make money from blogging are using affiliate links, or have a product to sell/promote and it takes ALL of their time. Just the act of writing on my hobby blog has improved my writing skills tremendously. Also with my little bit of freelance $$ I bought a premium WordPress package and may buy a premium theme soon. Pat–have fun with it and thanks for sharing your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Cincinnati is usually behind the times on everything, so maybe next year there will be an official bloggers track here! I know that I’ve passed the point most hobby bloggers drop off and am still finding things to write about on topic…and I’m still on the free account! As long as it’s fun and keeping me connected to some amazing people (check and check)… I’m in.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve heard SO much over the years about making money from blogging – it seems that you have to spend a lot to make barely enough to cover what you fork out. I love not having to jump through anyone’s hoops, I love that I blog for free – although I did lash out a whole $7 for an amazingly cheap theme from Etzy that makes my heart smile. I’ve never been to a blogging conference – I’m a bit of a chicken and I’m also not interested in the “cool kids” because they make me feel inadequate – good on you for being brave enough to try one – and for sticking to your guns.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I also often feel like the cool kids make me feel inadequate. I call it my “comparative inferiority complex”. I think this time with the coding experience, it was more – OK, it floats your boat, but not mine! And knowing that I’m blogging for the connections, the sharing of experience, and not to make money, so I could again say – not for me. Maybe this learning/change is coming with age, but It feels quite liberating.

      Like

  7. You had a similar WordCamp experience to the one I had here in San Diego a couple of years ago. Last year’s program looked much the same so I passed on it. I recently sent an email to the group putting the next one together (I think next March) suggesting they add a blogger’s track. We’ll see…

    I changed my theme a few months ago for the same reason. It turned out to be relatively easy (the hard part is deciding which one to use). I like a very clean look (as a former graphic designer, clutter… too many fonts and colors make me crazy) and wanted everything to be user-friendly – for me and the reader. If there is anything I can do to help you with the transition, let me know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I already implemented some structure. Hopefully it didn’t mess things up. I’m between 2 themes and will probably implement one over next couple of weeks. Like you, I like a clean look and I’m not big into photography (even though I did put a bunch of Africa pics in), so I’m looking for more word-heavy layouts. When I implement, I hope you’ll let me know if there’s reader issues!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Pat! I too have been curious about attending a WordPress Camp locally. But so far the timing just never worked for me. I think the biggest reason I would want to attend is to connect with other bloggers–but really I am only interested in other bloggers who blog for the love of it–not the money. In fact, the minute the conversation turns to monetizing I go blank. Of course, I admit that I am fortunate not to need the income from my blogging. But I refuse to believe (and I’m guessing that you do too) that money is the chief criteria of a “serious blogger!” ~Kathy

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kathy, as soon as it turns to monetizing talk, I get the feeling I’m not doing it right. Ugh. Luckily, I also do not need the income from my blogging. I’m blogging for other reasons… like connections to people who are in similar life-stage and can support, encourage, and inspire me. [Unfortunately most of my IRL friends are still working full time and don’t want to even hear about retirement “challenges”.] But that said, I did find value in the event – especially for the minimal cost…it was worth the time. And I’ve heard from others that different camps have more bloggers in attendance. Here in Cincinnati, we are always behind the trends!

      Like

  9. Hey Pat,
    As a fellow researcher, you will recognize my process. For four months before starting my blog, I researched incessantly. I must have read three dozen books, twice as many sites, and I joined a course site with the all-too-appropriate name, “Serious Bloggers Only.”

    I assumed being a serious blogger simply meant that I took it seriously and would commit to doing my best. I soon learned that you weren’t serious unless you built a huge list of subscribers and were focused on monetizing your site. Quitting Serious Bloggers and unsubscribing from all of the other sites was one of the best things I could possibly do.

    So… I feel your pain about the ‘hobby blogger’ status. I think I’ll give Word Camp a miss forever and stay in my happy hobby blogger bubble.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As Bob below says… Blog On.

      I did get something out of the conference, and think I might venture again. They had simultaneous breakouts and a couple I didn’t go to got good comments from other attendees, so I’m planning on going on-line when they post them and see if maybe I just hit the wrong speakers! Plus, you never know were inspiration will come from or whom you might meet. The other attendees were fun to talk with.

      Like

  10. Hi, Pat – I’m glad that you went – found some great takeaways – and would go again. Nothing ventured….nothing gained! Oh, and about the ‘hobby blogger thing’? No one can make us feel inferior without our consent!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Your post encourages me to seek a WordPress event near Seattle and attend. Seems intimidating but I’ve promised myself to do more things outside my comfort zone. I appreciate your summary so that I know more about what to expect. Also, I am currently reviewing WP’s Blogger University online intro class since it’s been a year since I set up my blog. Thanks, Pat!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Peggy, Yes, this was out of my comfort zone as well. I talked to myself the entire drive there – be open, ask people questions and listen, try on something new. I met some very nice people by just starting a conversation with “where are you from” or “what are you hoping to learn about”. Many others were there by themselves, so happy to have a chat before breakouts, at lunch, at the happy hour. Once I started talking with others (mostly women as easier for me to approach), it was less intimidating – we were all there to learn!

      The conference had workshops that covered a lot of the Blogging University stuff again as well. I went to a lot of them and it made so much more sense now!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This was interesting because there are regular WordPress meetings in nearby Jacksonville (FL) for me, but I’ve been hesitant to go for the very reason you experienced. I’m really not interested in having anyone look their noses down at me — that’s what family is for. 😉 But I might still take the plunge at least once. Thanks for some perspective. – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree that you should take ‘the plunge’, Marty. Because…you never know (and all that you would have invested is an evening of your time….and your drive there and back)! 🙂
      Thanks for setting a great example here, Pat!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Marty, I was glad I went. And do plan to watch for it next year (it’s annual here) and attend if I can. It was worth the time for the increased familiarity with WordPress. And a number of folks encouraged me to go to the more “inspirational” talks. They will be on-line soon (were recorded), a few I did mark to go look at. It was only $40 for a 2-day event here. Even for a one-day, I’d do it again, especially as it was local. They even provided continental breakfast, boxed lunch, and happy hour… plus a T-shirt. And I did meet some very interesting people among the other attendees.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You “hobby bloggers” just clog up the internet for the serious money grubbers! Ha ha. 😂😂. I actually prefer bloggers who are just going it because it is a passion for them. Certainly nothing wrong with making some money, but just because you choose not to take that route does not make you a second class anything.

    As I’ve advised you many times in the past, ignore the haters and do what you want! That’s my approach. 😃. I am not sure why, but there are very few people whose opinion matters to me in my personal life. It hasn’t always been that way, but it certainly has for probably the last 20 years.

    Hey, at least you discovered that coding is not your thing! Blog on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bob, Love the “blog on”! I didn’t take it personal… it was just an oddity of the event.

      I’ve found some references to stages of adult development and one of the more advanced stages is not caring what others think! I’m going to do more on-line research…. you know me, it’ll turn into a blog I’m sure.

      Like

  14. Well, heck, Pat. If I’d lived closer, I would have gone with you! You are by no means a second-class citizen! Just a “hobby blogger” my foot – Probably spoken by young people who have yet to come to the realization that chasing a buck only allows them to accumulate more stuff – ultimately taking them farther away from the freedoms they crave! Hobby blogger, my ass! Okay, rant over! ~ Lynn

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lynn – loving your rant! Surprising observation – There were older attendees, like myself, but most of the speakers I went to listen to were younger! I didn’t take it too seriously…but if they want more bloggers to happily attend, the tone will need to be more inclusive. Us hobby bloggers are a discerning crowd.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to peggywillett Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s