WCEU2020 recap: sponsor rooms & booths are hopefully here to stay

After 1 year of WordPress Community break, i promised i’ll continue my contribution on June 2020. And my long-life WP Community partner Veerle Verbert referred my name when the WCEU-team searched for facilitators for the networking rooms. Thanks, Veerle.

So, here i am. I’m back.
I’m back with my bad english and silly jokes.

After WCEU i even felt the excitement back to contribute to a community and to be part of one of the biggest WordPress online conference. Although my role was ultra minimal, i was happy to be part of it.

Rooms, rooms, rooms!

I admit, i haven’t seen one Speakers talk on WCEU. Sorry speakers. 🙁
Because of a super busy personal calender (you know: Corona urgencies) i only was able to join on Saturday. And Friday with a half eye.

But the talks that interested me will be coming on my wp.tv watchlist.

During WCEU (saturday) i jumped from one sponsor room/booth to another.
I loved it!
Cause it’s kind of the same i do on physical WordCamps: saying hi to sponsors, the hallway track.

The sponsor talks were very hands on, very practical and it was nice to see product-demo without the pressure of getting something sold. It was all very laid back and fine.

A few examples:

  • WooCommerce & the practical code snippets of business bloomers
  • Growmatik’s new product: a simple hands-on demo
  • Yoast site review (visiting a WordCamp, i always gonna say hi to the Yoast team)

In my opinon, sponsor rooms can become a standard track on every WordCamps. It will bring in more value for both parties: the sponsor and attendee.

The best ‘simulated’ WordCamp ever

The organizers have done an amazing job to recreate a WordCamp ‘online’ as close as possible. The amount of rooms and places to network, it was all there.

Okay, it’s not like a physical WordCamp but i don’t know… in some way i liked it very much for multiple reasons:

  • Less time consuming: my ‘normal’ WCEU2020 conference was planned from tuesday-morning till sunday-evening. Now a few hours. I closed my computer and i’m home. No travel, no expences. Okay, some people can work ‘on the road’ as being half of a nomad. I’m not. Fast distracted and need focus.
  • Faster switching of tracks: if a track is not your cup of tea, you click away. That simple. On a physical WordCamp you’ll stay in the room because of respect for the speaker and the conference.
  • The sponsor booth talks are smoother online then offline. Cause in the online sponsor booths you were mostly not alone in the conversation. On physical WordCamps it can get (sometimes) too sales-y (which i understand) because of the one-one conversations.
  • Hey: i’m not that tired after this WordCamp! No night raves, no hotel beds and strange hotel noises. Sleeping in my own bed.
    And yes, i’m getting so f*cking old. 🙂
Am i a WordPress fanboy? (euh, should i answer that?)

Can it replace a physical WordCamp?

Of course NOT.
Even the time consuming, the not wisely chosen track to see, the tireness; it is all worth it.

But why not a combination of online AND physical WordCamps?
Why not always broadcast the tracks online?
Why not always have the ability for online sponsor booths?
Why not a offline and online schedule?

These features brings the physical WordCamp to the outside. To a next level.
People who can’t join for whatever reason can join AND participate: sickness, trust, other countries, …

One ‘good’ part of Corona is that people/clients are okay with online video chatting. They see the benefits; the time savings.
And in these times: the tools are there and they are mostly free to use for a smaller group.

Another few things i liked of WCEU2020:

  • i liked the timing: starting at 15h – ending at 20h. That’s nice, not too short, not too long.
  • although there were 8000 tickets sold, it was never crowdy on Zoom.
  • everyone was so polite and had a general sense of ‘coming together’. Just a moment to forget the corona sh*t.
  • emotional closing remarks (for me). Bernhard & Rocio were the perfect hosts, the closing remarks concluded nicely the positive togetherness. Once it ended i just questioned myself: when will be the next WordCamp like we’re used to have………

All i can say is: keep safe, keep strong, keep believing in a day where normal WordCamps and Meetups can be organized back.

And hopefully: see you in Porto on WCEU2021!