At WordCamp Phoenix a couple of weeks ago I presented a talk on WordPress and journalism. Specifically, I talked about how WordPress can empower those in the field of journalism. I’ll have the slides up soon, but the specifics of the presentation aren’t necessary at the moment.
My presentation was a part of the “My WP” track, a track that featured presentations on WordPress in various verticals. One talk focused on how creative people use WordPress, another focused on real estate, and another on non-profits and government. I don’t mean to say that Phoenix is the only camp to organize presentations on these kinds of topics, but walking away from the event, particularly after speaking within that track, I find myself excited about the possibilities that WordPress verticals bring.
- a group of similar businesses and customers that engage in trade based on specific and specialized needs (source)
As someone studying and writing a good deal about this particular industry, it is difficult to find inspiration sometimes. I think it happens, at least to me, when I spend a little too much time reading and absorbing the talk within the community itself. WordPress professionals talking to other WordPress professionals is a lot of fun, but it’s also a bit of insider talk. It’s not representative of the full influence that WordPress has on the world.
I don’t think I fully grasp the possibilities yet, but it’s exciting me, and I want to chase that feeling.
At the event I spoke a good deal about verticals with Adam Warner, who I first met in person at 2011’s WordCamp Phoenix. I told him what I’m about to tell you, which is that one of my many weaknesses is putting myself in the shoes of WordPress users, particularly users focusing on accomplishing a specific task using WordPress. I’m decent at making things that I find interesting and exciting, and things that I enjoy reading (who isn’t?), but I struggle with that other side of the coin.
I think if we were all honest, this is a fairly common struggle.
And I don’t think this is just me jumping on a blog and being bloggy about my feelings. WordCamps, on a long enough timeline, will be less and less about us. And by us, I mean people interested in WordPress for the sake of WordPress. To be honest, that makes us pretty weird. I enjoy it, but it’s also not the future of WordCamps. What Phoenix put together in its “My WP” track is a bit closer to this future, I think.
I’m not particularly comfortable using a word like “vertical”. I prefer to think of them, at least in the context of WPCandy, as “audiences”. I’ve been thinking about how to best approach these various audiences since Phoenix, and I’ll be trying out some of these ideas in the coming months. My hope is that, in the long run, this will lead not only to better writing for you folks to read, but targeted work that will introduce new audiences to WPCandy and the greater WordPress community.
I don’t think I fully grasp the possibilities yet, but it’s exciting to me, and I want to chase that feeling.
Pardon my brain dump
Usually I have a bit more of a call-to-action when I write editorials. Now I’m just excited, and wanted to share a little bit of that excitement with you. I’m sure I’m not the first person to come away from a WordCamp with an extra dose of inspiration, right?
It’s also worth mentioning a great example of WordPress in a specific vertical: Noel Tock’s recently launched happytables project. He wrote about the decision-making process and how he focused in on a specific vertical when launching his startup in issue #1 of The WPCandy Quarterly.