It’s 2022 and as I write this I am a few days away from getting on a plane to head to the first major in-person WordPress event since the start of the pandemic. To say I am excited is an understatement.
I’ve been involved in the WordPress ecosystem for fourteen years, and this is the most excited I’ve been in a long time. It’s kind of unbelievable when I think about my personal journey in the space.
I started out as a user, graduated to a designer, built themes and plugins before joining the marketing/business development side of WordPress. I have met so many amazing people within our community and weirdly (for me anyway), people know me.
For someone born and raised in the capital of Canada (Ottawa), it’s crazy the places I’ve been and the things I’ve been able to do, thanks to my involvement with WordPress. I don’t know of any other ecosystem that can so successfully elevate people from within.
So, as I get ready to jump back into the ‘circuit’ of WordCamps, conferences, meetups and more, I’m reflecting a little on why, all these years later, I’m still keen on WordPress.
WordPress Leads Where It Matters
Today I was in a meeting where I was the only person that identified as male. A group of seasoned marketing professionals were all around me and as I took a second to recognize that I was the only person who looked like me, I couldn’t help but smile. This is WordPress (also the amazing people from Nexcess). It’s one of the few spaces in the technology world (in my opinion) that has elevated diverse voices and is proactively working hard to do more.
A shoutout to Michelle Frechette on our StellarWP team who co-runs Underrepresented In Tech and helps WordPress companies develop diverse and inclusive hiring practices. This is just one example of how WordPress creates opportunity and elevates voices from within.
It’s not perfect and I suspect many people still feel underrepresented within WordPress (in particular, racialized people, non-English speakers, etc.) but I don’t believe the WordPress experience has been as intensely ‘bro culture‘ as has been so prevalent in many other tech communities.
I think WordPress is also leading the way in making the web more accessible across the spectrum of ability. Seeing all the work and investment that small companies like Rocketgenius (makers of Gravity Forms) put into accessibility with amazing partners like Rian Rietveld at Level Level is not something I’ve seen elsewhere in tech.
I’m particularly excited to see how WordPress pivots toward Asia in the coming years. There is a ton of innovation and impact just waiting to be realized as representation and influence from our friends in India, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and beyond increases.
Unlike other industries with homegrown alternatives (think Naver instead of Google in South Korea), WordPress is available, usable and adaptable to local markets. The barrier to getting started with WordPress for non-English speakers is significantly lower than for many other platforms out there.
The way communities have come together to translate, adapt and empower users of the WordPress Project is leadership where it matters most.
WordPress Knows Where It’s Going
It’s easy to feel like WordPress is slow to adopt new technologies or ways of working but what other platform can you name that millions of people continue to choose every single day?
WordPress’ leadership understands that for WordPress to continue to live out its mission, it needs to become easier and easier to use without breaking the internet. I have a lot of faith and trust in the team steering WordPress to continue along this path.
It will never be as fast as many of us would like, but the pace of change creates stability for those already using the platform while still providing opportunities for innovation.
WordPress Puts People First
WordPress has always been a people-first ecosystem. I think it’s part of the secret sauce. As our society scaled up its use of technology, WordPress maintained deep connections with the people who use and build it.
Nowhere is that people-first approach more visible than at WordCamp Europe. It brings together east and west in a way no other WordPress event does. Where English is the official language of the event but the second language of most of the attendees.
Where hosting companies, agencies, product companies, and users can mingle together, learn from each other and support each other.
There are a lot of reasons why someone might opt out of WordPress. That’s cool. I get it. But there’s no comparison to WordPress, in my opinion, when you look at where WordPress is leading and who WordPress is focused on.
It’s why I still choose WordPress and probably will continue to choose it for a long time to come.