Did you know WordPress is used for around 20% of the web? Or that Facebook, who employ thousands of their own web designers and developers, use WordPress to run their blog? How about that it would take a password hacker just 37 minutes to guess this randomly generated password “q9bbUC4K” in an offline direct attack? These facts are among hundreds of snippets of information I’ve heard at this weekend’s WordCamp conference, held in Bournemouth University’s Executive Business Centre.
WordCamp events are an international phenomenon with hundreds of these ‘unconferences’ going on every year around the globe. In the UK they have been running an annual conference for the past six years, travelling around the country from Portsmouth to Edinburgh and plenty of places in between. This year Alison Boyle from Shaftesbury based ‘LA Marketing’, and Doug Belchamber from Bournemouth’s own ‘Smarter Digital’ put in a bid to bring WordCamp to the sunny south coast and host it here in Bournemouth.
After approaching the university directly, the two were immediately put in contact with Silicon South, the ideal vehicle to support such an endeavour and make sure the event would run and be a huge success. We here at Silicon South coordinated efforts between BU and Bournemouth Council to provide Doug and Alison with the venue requirements they needed to ensure a viable offer.
Submitting the bid back in March we then had a tense wait to find out if we’d been successful, as the members of the WordCamp community cast their votes on where to host the next event. Competing against Birmingham, with its fantastic university campus, central location and excellent travel connections, we knew Bournemouth would be a tough sell to the more northern members of this community! However the beachside bliss of the Silicon South obviously appealed to someone, as we won the vote 31 to 30.
The weekend’s event was attended by over 100 of the nation’s best and brightest WordPress developers, coming together to share ideas and experiences, and provide each other with support and advice. Attendees included local business owners, such as Cress Rolfe of Christchurch based ‘Seajar Digital’, as well as national figures including Mike Little, co-founder of WordPress. One gentleman had even travelled from as far away as Spain to take part in the event and find out how he could use WordPress in his school.
Overall the event was a great success, with several comments from attendees on what a fantastic place Dorset is and how much they enjoyed their stay. If you’re interested in attending a future WordCamp event you can keep an eye on their website at wpuk.org to find out the details, or follow them on Twitter @wpunitedkingdom.