Yesterday the first ever BuddyCamp was announced. BuddyCamp Vancouver 2012 is the brainchild Cyri Jones, a Vancouver-based educator and entrepreneur who works a lot with WP and BP. I think it’s going to be a very cool event.
The idea of a BuddyPress-specific event along the lines of WordCamp has been tossed around a lot in the past, at least between the most active members of the BP community. Some have argued that BP is a bit “niche” to serve as the foundation for an event like this (see some of the comments in this WP Realm post, for example). However, while it’s clear that BP has far fewer users than WP, those who do use BP on an everyday basis are often very passionate about it. I think that the community is plenty large at this point to support local events of this type.
In the past, John Jacoby has suggested that a more general “WordPress Plugins Camp” might be a logical precursor to a BuddyCamp – after all, there are lots more plugins than just BuddyPress, which translates to many more potential attendees. I think a general Plugins Camp is a pretty kickass idea, and devs/designers working with BP would have a lot to bring to such an event. But it’s worth noting that this first BuddyCamp will be about a lot more than just devs and designers. I’d wager that over half the attendees will be people who are using free software to build online community space, from a non-technical point of view. These people may not know the first thing about building a WordPress plugin, but they have lots to say about how software can facilitate community – and this is something very specific to a BuddyPress event. So I think there’s really a need for something like a BuddyCamp, where the people who are building the software can get in the same room with the people who are pushing it to its practical limits in real-world scenarios.
Also, while I wish that the whole thing had been arranged a few months sooner (sometimes the best ideas happen at the last minute!), I think the timing of BuddyCamp Vancouver is really great. It’s sandwiched between two events, also being held in Vancouver, which should have huge overlaps in terms of interested attendees: WordCamp Vancouver and Open Ed 2012. I’m hoping that, in particular, a lot of people coming into town for Open Ed will think about coming a day or two early to talk about BuddyPress and its uses in supporting online learning communities. Spoiler alert: I may be talking about this very topic in my own BuddyCamp Vancouver session 🙂
I’m hoping that this is just the first of a series of BuddyCamps. I can easily imagine that there’s enough interest in BP to support a handful of similar events around the world each year. If you’re a motivated fan of BuddyPress, you may want to think about planning such an event in the future!
I think it’s a great idea. I will admit for those of us not so local the timing was a bit short, but that’s probably something that was out of people’s control – events can be tricky.
I will admit I spent a bit of time working out math of coming, it’s not something I can do this time but I sure will try for one next year. I see this just as the starting one. I think I saw that there will be a stream and I’d happily like many pay for remote access like that.
I don’t see it as too niche at all. I actually think this is overdue happening and hope to see many more. The passion in the community is ready for this.
Tammie – The planning happen in something of a whirlwind, and it’s a real shame that it didn’t happen further in advance, to allow for better travel plans. On the other hand, I’m sorta glad that not Every Single BuddyPress Person is going to come, because that would make it feel like “the” event. Really, I hope that this is just the first of a new kind of event.
how about a buddycamp brooklyn then?
Eric – Are you volunteering to organize it? 🙂
Wow a triple header; already there for Open Ed so I hope to do the WordPress/Buddypress double header
Alan – Would love to see you there. I don’t think I’m going to be able to stick around for Open Ed, sadly – gotta get home for family stuff. But I hope we can cross paths and share a beer!