By CHLOË AYRES
Over the weekend of July 25-26, I was fortunate enough to attend Asheville’s Wordcamp 2015. Wordcamp is a nationwide series of conferences detailing the finer points of WordPress, a website platform which seems only to grow in complexity and popularity. When I first heard that there would be a Wordcamp in Asheville, I was thrilled to get a chance to experience this “meeting of the minds,” and curious as to what I would learn from the local experts.
During the weekend, Wordcamp offered four “tracks” of learning: beginner, business development, designer, and developer. That means that, very much like WordPress itself, we were all able to self-assess our skill level and learn accordingly. We were all there not only to hear what the experts had to say, but also to learn from each other.
What I and my fellow Wordcamp attendees were reminded of is that none of us exist in a vacuum. The beginners offered a common-sense approach to development, asking the questions that can only be formulated before you learn the intricacies of a system. The attendees who were interested in business development offered a “big picture” approach to development; these people ask why, they want their website to be used as a tool, they want results. The designers want visual organization; they want effective ways to communicate with their audience, and they want to make it look amazing. The developers know how to take a written language and make it come alive, and want to know how to do it faster and cleaner.
An expert can not exist without a beginner. A big-picture thinker can not exist without a very detailed thinker. Wordcamp was simply a microcosm of something that is integral to the human experience: the differences in our strengths are the things that make us the strongest. At Wordcamp, I was reminded that having success digitally takes knowing your strengths, asking for help when you need it, and, above all, to just keep learning.