Whether you’ve just returned from Belgrade or you missed this year’s WordCamp Europe, the word is out – WordCamp Europe 2018 was awesome. Just like it is every year. No one could be surprised that WordPress enthusiasts had such an incredible time at WordCamp Europe 2018.
You’ll be happy to hear that the number of passionate attendees rose and the no-shows dropped. That’s right – 2018 was a vintage WordCamp Europe with many important numbers increasing on 2017’s stats.
We were also joined by 808 livestreamers from around the world. So, the final tally of 2885 WordPressers is on par with 2017.
We were also treated to 65 speakers picked from a record number of 374 applications. While the number of participating countries was a little bit lower – 76 – the event still reached around the globe with over 6 million Twitter impressions via the official #WCEU hashtag.
Traditional media helped us reach another 200k people from 67 media interviews.
For the local team, it was a great opportunity to show off their city to the wider WordPress community and it generated some genuine excitement. We got a good taste of Serbian architecture with the event split between two venues. The main conference was held in the colossal Sava Center which once held UN meetings and retains much of its authority.
The word of the day was “connect”. While we weren’t able to connect to the wifi with confidence, plenty of people had an opportunity to connect in a more traditional sense.
WCEU Day 1
One of the things we noticed was the movement of workshops away from Contributor Day. The workshops ran alongside the main event for the first time. This helped keep Contributor Day on point. However, it also created an exhaustive daily schedule for those looking to make the most of the learning opportunities. In fact, we made this comic along those very lines.
While we post this photo of a fully packed Milky Way track during @photomatt session yesterday, we are happy to say that so far 2058 people went through our registration desks. 2058 people sharing the same #WCEU values. Thank you! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/lX3p2mI0jS
— WordCamp Europe (@WCEurope) June 16, 2018
WordCamps are always great events for their focus on accessibility, but this year we also saw a good focus on mental health. This focus emerged in the second half of day one with two talks; staying healthy in the digital space and easing the anxious mind.
These two first day talks set the wider stage for a conversation about mental health in a number of talks and workshops on day 2.
WCEU Day 2
We say “negative” feedback but let’s reframe it to feedback that you know what to do with. “Positive” feedback is confirmation feedback – keep doing what you’re doing.
The workshoppers also participated enthusiastically in the exercises.
Let’s switch back to Gutenberg for the final summary. We had two hardcore Gutenbergers delivering talks with Tammie Lister considering design patterns and Matías Ventura taking a deep dive into the technical side of Gutenberg and what it means for publishing.
Anatomy of a block: #Gutenberg design patterns with @karmatosed. Great features – for an advanced user. Now I know what we have to do before August: teach all of our clients to use these new features. #WCEU attendees, how have you handled this? pic.twitter.com/koo6ffd9Vq
— Kenda (@kenda_x) June 16, 2018
If you were lucky enough to be at WordCamp US 2017, you probably remember the Gutenberg demonstration from Matías Ventura during the State of the Word. The demo was a watershed moment when people started to get excited about Gutenberg. The markdown support is getting people excited. If you copy and paste markdown into the editor it will convert it into a bona fide Gutenberg block. Pretty tasty.
This presentation has me thinking that Matías Ventura was the big star of WordCamp Europe because he helped many people get excited about the changes. To sum it up that the future is WordPress.
What are other people saying
The future is near according to the team at Sitelock, and they are ‘excited for this new chapter’. The event itself was ‘near perfect’. it is hard to disagree with that assessment from a team that attends a WordCamp nearly every week. These guys know WordCamps like I know pizza.
For the local view Ivana, volunteer and happy sharer of Serbian facts wrote a piece focusing on the ‘great talks’ and diverse workshops. There was also a shoutout for Adrian Roselli’s mammoth accessibility workshop (with slides).
You’ll hear it said often that the Serbian people were welcoming and it was a great experience, and you might also hear a mention of two of the amazing food.
As ever, the Gutenberg timeline got a lot of the focus. Without a doubt, the clarification of the timeline is a great step in the right direction.
Volunteering and Organizing
As with every WordCamp Europe since 2016, the ThemeIsle crew was all hands on deck as volunteers. It was my first experience as a volunteer and I really enjoyed it. It was stressful combining it with our role as media partner but I learned a lot. Next year will be even better.
Another first-timer, Radu, said, “I heard from a lot of the guys that WCEU is a great experience but I didn’t expect to have so much fun.”
Finally, WordCamp Europe 2019 will be in Berlin
Finally, the announcement for WordCamp 2019 in Berlin was one we can all get behind. If we thought the Sava Centre was big, then the Estrel Hotel and Congress Center takes it up a notch with room for 12,000 people.
The Berlin WordPress community is strong as can be seen in the 1300 members of their monthly meetup. They also have dedicated meetups for developers, women, and beginners.
So, while we’re all disappointed that WordCamp Europe 2018 is over already, the good news is the WordCamp Europe process has already started again. The call for organizers has been sounded and if you’re quick you can make another awesome WCEU.
And the rest of us will start counting down the days.