As we celebrate 20 years of WordPress, I wanted to take a moment to talk about its community. Sure, I’ve written about it before. But maybe not in the context of its impact on me.
I started using WordPress around 2010. It was a difficult time in my career. Things had grown stagnant. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay in web design.
But the software connected with me in a way other apps hadn’t. It empowered me to take on larger projects. Building highly functional, custom websites was finally within my reach.
However, the software wasn’t what kept me going. It was the community. The guidance of other WordPress developers made me eager to explore. And seeing the challenges others faced made me feel part of something bigger.
With that, I’d like to share a few valuable lessons I’ve learned from the WordPress community. Some may sound basic. But they’ve impacted both my career and life.
The willingness to share is what makes a community thrive. But members are more likely to share when they feel comfortable doing so.
The open and informal nature of WordPress helps immensely. It has made me feel comfortable sharing ideas. Even though I don’t consider myself an expert, I can publish what I’ve learned.
And I can also engage with other members. Some are more experienced than I, others less. Regardless, there’s an opportunity to learn from each other.
Interacting with the community has been reassuring. It let me know that I could be a part of something. Whether it’s at a WordCamp or on social media – I feel a sense of belonging.
You Can Be Yourself
The WordPress community is diverse. It consists of people from all backgrounds, identities, and geographic locations.
But it’s by no means perfect. Diversity is celebrated, but not universally. We sometimes see a lack of representation at WordCamps. And not all voices receive equal time.
Still, I feel like WordPress is ahead of the curve. I find that most people are accepting and welcoming. Not every community can say that.
The benefit is that members can be themselves. This ties in with the willingness to share. It also makes people feel at home. Thus, they’re more likely to stick around.
There’s Joy in Paying It Forward
When we think of contributing to WordPress, it’s often in an official capacity. Writing code or building new features, for example. But there are other ways to give back.
The great thing is that everyone can participate. You can do so regardless of skill level. Good deeds like answering a question in the support forums count. As does publishing a blog post about your favorite plugins.
There are ways to contribute that don’t require formal commitments. You can give in a way that fits your personality and schedule.
It also provides an incredible feeling. Knowing that you’ve helped someone is satisfying. And it compels you to do more.
I’ve received help on several occasions. Others have taken time to provide advice or a code snippet. Their kindness has gotten me through some difficult situations.
The result is wanting to pay it forward. I think it’s a big reason why this community has thrived for 20 years.
Connections That Are Worth Keeping
The biggest lesson I’ve learned? It’s that this community is worth being a part of.
As with any group of people, there are ups and downs. Passionate debates can get out of hand. And not everyone will behave appropriately. But the vast majority of members do.
Plus, the resiliency of the WordPress community is impressive. It has evolved alongside the software. It continued to thrive through a worldwide pandemic.
Overall, it’s been a key to a successful open-source project. Without the support of the community, WordPress wouldn’t dominate the market.
So, pat yourself on the back, WordPress community. You’ve earned it!