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New? Don’t let that stop you – #PressPause mini podcast series – #012

Show notes:

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Today we have a nice story for you. It’s a story about breaking new ground and trusting in people… WordPress people.

Sabrina was getting a little frustrated with the fact that there was nobody in her location who understood her passion for WordPress. She’d heard about a WordPress community, but where she was that didn’t seem too real.

She decided to take some affirmative action and if the community wasn’t going to come to her, she was going to go to it! So she set her sights on a WordCamp as the best way to do this. WordCamp London to be specific.

What makes this story more remarkable though is the fact that Sabrina is from Kiev, and so there was going to be a little bit of a language barrier. So, I guess the best way to cope with that is to show up and hope that not too many people talk to you so that you can acclimatise? Not Sabrina!

She decided that the best way to get started with the WordPress community would be by applying to talk at WordCamp London, which she did and of course, she was accepted.

The story develops from there. New friends were made. People who she never met made remarkable gestures of kindness towards her.

The experience was so great that Sabrina decided to attend more WordCamps and the friendships strengthened and flourished.

It’s a great story about doing something new, attending a WordCamp and seeing what comes of it.

We hope you enjoy the show, please do subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. We’re always looking for feedback, if you have any thoughts or comments, please do reach out.

And remember… Together we can #PressForward 

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Podcast Transcript

Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Hello there once again, PressForward podcast listeners. Thanks again for joining us on this the 12th episode in our mini series, which we’ve called press pools. This is a collaboration between WP&UP and WPMU Dev in which we ask people about that WordCamp experiences. I’m Nathan Wrigley and it’s been a great pleasure to be joined by Micah Dailey in this endeavor. If you’ve not had a chance to listen to the previous 11 episodes, I can highly recommend them and you can find them over at wpandaarp.org forward slash podcasts

Nathan Wrigley: 00:58 This is a show that gives you a moment to pause and remember that at its heart, WordPress is made up of real people, people who are just like you, they’re into WordPress, possibly for the code. Maybe they’re a freelance worker or work out of an agency, whatever the reason might be. It’s fun and interesting to get them all together in one place at the same time so that they can share their passion with people who understand and that is a WordCamp.

Nathan Wrigley: 01:36 This show has two purposes really. Number one is for you to be able to listen to WordCamp stories and enjoy them and that’s great, but there’s also a deeper purpose and that is to encourage those of you who have not had a chance to attend to go for it. Take heart from what you hear and realize that whoever you are, whatever you do, whatever your background, you’re going to fit right in. Right? Let’s get on with the show.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:11 This addition of press pause is brought to you by Green Geeks. Green Geeks offers an awesome managed web hosting platform that’s built for speed, security and scalability whilst being environmentally friendly. Enjoy a better web hosting experience for your WordPress website, with Green Geeks.

Nathan Wrigley: 02:36 So today we’re going to be talking to Sabrina, but I think it’s always great when the guests introduce themselves.

Sabrina Zeidan: 02:44 My name is Sabrina Zeidan. Currently I work for WP media, the product called WP rocket. I think everyone knows this product. Uh, before that I was doing and continuing doing WordPress multisite consulting because, I’m a huge fan of scaling WordPress in any terms. I like first time I installed WordPress it was 10 years ago, it was so easy. So nice comparing to other content management system, that I’d tried, that I just move on with it. Trying to do things with it, and few years later I discovered myself being a backend developer all of a sudden I work in support and that’s what we are doing for customers. Making the web faster.

Nathan Wrigley: 03:35 So we’re trying to find out stories from people in the WordPress community. Stories that you can connect with. And Sabrina has a lovely one.

Sabrina Zeidan: 03:46 Uh, so my WordPress community story that’s not with WordCamp but was WordPress meetup I think like familiar for us. But uh, the first one I attended, it was the one where I have a talk, so I know it was a bot. Yeah, I know what the price of brought into before. I never attended any events in my native town, in my native city, in Kiev. So one day I was really like depressed or the we would with staying away from people as backend developer. And I spent most of my time like working at home without seeing no one around me, but just messaging, like emails and all that stuff. So I thought it would be a nice idea to go into see people. And I just noticed that they want someone to speak about something and I thought why not? So I applied and they accepted my application without knowing me.

Sabrina Zeidan: 04:52 So I went there, gave a talk to people in community. Like it’s so much their wrote questions and I have, I taught in that that evening I talk with people more than few months before in life, you know, so few months afterwards. And someone told me that if you really want to feel the spirit of WordPress community, like to feel what rea be real WordPress community is, you should go and visit, WordCamp London. So I shared the day, I saw that they want speakers as well. So I applied for speaking and the year before it was 2018 and they accepted his as well. So it was my first time, yes, to WordCamp. Um, first time speaking in public in English, first time to UK. So a lot of firsts for the last year. I don’t know. I was, it was such an amazing experience. I never felt something like I met so many nice people and I felt so warm and welcome there.

Sabrina Zeidan: 06:05 It was like, I knew these guys like forever. I asked someone just an example, I um, my old laptop, it was really heavy so I asked someone on Slack, like could you please borrow me a laptop for my talk? And there was one lady who told me that you borrow her laptop, not for my talk, but for all conference days and without knowing me, without even seeing me ever in her life. So I just arrived there and she wasn’t there and she liked her laptop to reception at Barbara’s place. She just left it here, there. And I never met her because she wasn’t there at all. I met her first time in Brighton that year. So yes, they know it was unbelievable. I was absolutely like it was such a like not usual thing to do. You know, I felt so cool. At WordCamp London last April April. So the next day I arrived back home I booked tickets for WordCamp Europe. I don’t know, it’s just like, uh, like being around so many friends. Um, like learning, studying, party, like having fun. Everything like all in one. I liked it so much.

Nathan Wrigley: 07:32 WordCamps like the one held each year in London can be big but WordCamp Europe is even bigger. I wondered if Sabrina had any concerns before attending either of them that they were going to be overwhelming.

Sabrina Zeidan: 07:47 I can say that a WordCamp London felt overwhelming to me. No, no. It was like what a cool experience. Like meeting a lot of people and that’s, and I think you’re in talk with someone on interested in subjects when people come over and just join the conversation and you meet people with different backgrounds and you’re all of a sudden you find yourself like discussing the thing with one problem with different people. Like with designers, uh, marketing, marketing experts, developers. And you have like a concealer or something working on the same issue. It’s cool.

Nathan Wrigley: 08:31 In today’s distributed world, it’s easy to connect in the sense of writing messages on email and updates in slack. But there’s no substitute for meeting face to face, no matter how good the technology, real world face to face is going to be different. Better. And then of course there’s the food.

Sabrina Zeidan: 08:56 Absolutely. I don’t know. But for some reason it seems to me that something has to, something has to be here with food also because we’re like, have you got breaks? Right. And then we have a dinner and that we’ll have some after party or something. And this how, you know, people I, it’s so natural. There is no like tension in meeting people in starting conversation in just go so natural. And the thing is that someone, what sitting here for 10 minutes, you had nice conversation and then this person goes to get some of the food or something and get coffee or tea and someone else is sitting near you. It’s like Forrest Gump movie.

Nathan Wrigley: 09:39 So there’s plenty of chances to meet people. But to those friendships ever get past the superficial level, you know how it goes. You meet someone, exchange a few words and then move off. Never to speak again to Sabrina. Have any real actual friends from WordCamp?

Sabrina Zeidan: 10:01 I suppose it will be like general statement if I say that WordPress gave me work community and friends. I think it’s kind of, for many of us. I can tell just the short story that happened just a few months ago. I went to Vienna on April and I met there, I don’t know even a word in German. So I met a few people who were speaking English and the one, there was one lady who if they are to be from Bristol and WordCamp Bristol was following on the way. So this lady, she is not, it was her first WordCamp. She, she wasn’t, she never, if you never been to any WordCamps before. So she finds out that I’m speaking English but I’m thinking about going to WordCamp Bristol and she invites me to come and stay in Bristol at her home. Yes. So I just was happy to accept this offer.

Sabrina Zeidan: 11:02 So I went and stayed in her home and we became like really close friends. And also I think because people are so open and willing to share what they knew, I think this is the main thing as well because what comes spring brings a lot of experts together and they are not trying to sell their services as professional, but vide versa trying to help with like to contribute to, to do even a small bit of whatever they can do to help others, to use WordPress, to build websites, to uh, use some plugins like more effectively to share any knowledge or experience they have. And it’s just so open and really open source. Like open source comes from heart.

Nathan Wrigley: 11:59 So then you go WordCamps are great. You don’t need to worry about it if you’ve never been before, you can make some real friendships if you just turn up and engage with the possibilities. The people are just like you. They like talking about code or plugins or themes. You’ll be face to face with these people. And like Sabrina, you might just strike up some friendships that will last long after the WordCamp is finished. Now you’ve just got to take the first step and buy your WordCamp tickets.

Nathan Wrigley: 12:37 Okay.

Nathan Wrigley: 12:41 The PressForward podcast is a production of WP&UP. This mini series is a collaborative effort by WPMU Dev and WP&UP Micah Dailey and me, Nathan Wrigley produce this episode and make her created the original score. A special thanks to Sabrina for chatting with me today and thanks to you for listening and remember that together we can PressForward.

Nathan Wrigley