Last week on the WPCandy Roundtable Podcast with the BuddyPress Core Team, someone submitted the question “What are the chances of a BuddyPress Camp in the future?”
I thought the question was a lighthearted, fun one that might evoke a joke or two, o seven some more of Boone Gorges singing (which it kind of did). I didn’t expect this really insightful response to the question from John James Jacoby:
If the community was to the point, and large enough where someone wanted to throw together a BuddyPress only thing, I would be totally down for it.
That said, I think what would be the segue towards that is to have a plugin camp. You know, let’s just talk about all the cool plugins specifically. And it can still be like a WordCamp where there’s a user track and how to pick a plugin and how to use a plugin and which ones are favorites and you can have a developer track where developers can talk just about the plugins they’re building…
So eventually for it to get to the point where plugins can just have their own conference, and WordCamp can still sort of be all the things in one, I think that would be a stepping stone toward BuddyPress having its own event.
That made me stop and think quite a bit, both during the show (around the 52 minute mark of the episode) and afterward. The more I think about it, the more I think conferences focused on plugins and brands built on WordPress will really help confirm the strength of the WordPress platform.
Perhaps in time people will identify more with plugins and themes they use than WordPress.
PressNomics, while it hasn’t happened yet, could likely end up being one of these such events. The focus of the event is the WordPress economy, and the brands and businesses built within it. Friends of iThemes was a fun example of a handful of WordPress businesses holding a private meetup and brainstorming ideas together. Copyblogger Media has run Genesis theme meetups for some time now too.
Brands like these rely on the WordPress platform and community to coexist, and while their meetups might not center on discussing WordPress itself, they all point back to WordPress as their source.
It’s great to see WordPress businesses forming their own events, but I’ll be more excited when a free, community developed project built on WordPress sees its first real dedicated event — be it a BuddyCamp, bbCamp, or something else.[ref]In the podcast I quoted from, by the way, we determined that the fictional BuddyCamp would need to take place on an oil tanker in the Atlantic, equidistant between North America and Europe. You know, in case you weren’t convinced you should listen to it yet.[/ref]
There could be a way to approach an idea like this before a camp for a single plugin is possible. Naturally most WordCamps feature plugin discussions, but has there ever been a WordCamp where WordPress plugins were the only topic? It’s something I’ve only been considering since Jacoby mentioned it last week, but I like it.
I couldn’t find the reference, but I can recall Matt Mullenweg saying he looks forward to the day when people use WordPress without really knowing it’s WordPress.
The comment was specific to the WordPress dashboard user interface becoming more utilitarian over time and less in the way, but there could be more to that. Perhaps in time people will identify more with the plugins and themes they use on top of WordPress than the WordPress platform itself. The more they become the focus, really, the more of a true platform WordPress will be.
Or, put another way: the less we talk about WordPress, the better.