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State Of The Word: What It Is & Why We’re Going

This year’s WordPress State of the Word is very different from any so far. Last year too, to be fair. 2020 saw the first virtual State of the Word and 2021 will be the first limited attendee event. 50 community members instead of the 2,000+ crowd closing out WordCamp US.

So, imagine my surprise when two invitations came our way.

My first thought was, “That’s nice, but definitely not.” We’re currently a single income family already investing heavily in the HeroPress Network. We don’t just fly off to New York for a 2 hour event. Plus it’s NEW YORK. That’s not exactly a cheap city to visit even before you factor in the holiday season.

As happens most times I say, “No.”, Topher follows up with a “Well, let’s take a look…” Turns out COVID is still keeping flights and hotel prices down and before I knew it we had RSVPed, “Yes”.

Nexcess Supports the Idea

We’ve been working with Nexcess in a variety of ways since we adopted Hallway Chats in the spring of 2021. One question to answer now that we had a pair of sites was, “Where do we host them?”

HeroPress had always been on a legacy plan at Pagely, and we were grateful for their support, while Hallway Chats was hosted at Liquid Web. With the Network idea starting to take shape, we decided to consolidate to Liquid Web, with an eventual plan to move over to Nexcess.

Beyond offering hosting, the community team at Nexcess has been working with us as a sounding board largely in the area of creating mutually beneficial sponsorship options for larger businesses.

To date, they’ve provided hosting and feedback and we’ve given them visibility, mostly through Hallway Chats.

When the opportunity to attend the WordPress State of the Word occurred, they generously stepped in to help cover the costs of the trip, and we couldn’t be more thankful. It was a nice bonus for all of us that they could also test out some sponsorship ideas across the Network that we’ll be launching soon.

What is the WordPress State of the Word

With WordPress growing as fast as it is and a pandemic disrupting the normal flow of life, it’s incredibly reasonable that you have no idea what the WordPress State of the Word is.

The official post describes it this way, “State of the Word is the annual keynote address delivered by the WordPress project’s co-founder, Matt Mullenweg. Every year, the event allows us to reflect on the project’s progress and the future of open source. This year will include that and more.”

Not only does it give the community a chance to see the year’s growth and look ahead to the future, it’s also a time where anyone can ask questions.

Participate with State of the Word from Anywhere

State of the Word is happening December 14, 2021, between 5 and 7 pm EST/10 – 12 am (December 15) UTC and all community member are encouraged to join in by either seeing if your local Meetup is having a watch party, or simply visit wordpress.org/news for the embedded livestream.

If you do have questions and aren’t attending in person, there are two different ways you can participate.

  • send your question ahead of time to ask-matt@wordcamp.org
  • ask during the event in the livestream chat on YouTube

Whether you watch with a local group or on your own at home, we encourage you to listen in. WordPress changes fast and this can be a great way to stay on top of that as well as have a voice in the conversation.

Why We’re Going to the WordPress State of the Word

Which leads nicely into why we’re making the trip to New York for the in-person event.

1. Our Health Allows Us

Our kids are self-sufficient and our household is fully vaccinated and boosted. No one in our personal circle has any underlying health issues. Our work is supportive of the trip.

Not everyone has that trifecta of advantages and we feel grateful to make the trip.

2. The Community Needs Multiple Representatives

There have been some very important discussions this fall around news and sources and sponsors that have been channeled in a way that only strengthens the system in a very positive way.

We want to continue that by providing another voice among them.

We have a unique role in and perspective of the community that needs to be heard. It’s why we started HeroPress and grew it into the Network. Every news outlet in WordPress has it’s audience, and we are excited to represent ours.

We had intended to fund it ourselves. Then, in true community spirit, Nexcess stepped in to help out. 

3. Growing Relationships that Benefit the Community

It’s true that you can build a lot of relationships online without ever meeting someone. I know I have. But there isn’t a substitute for being able to look someone in the eye and shake their hand.

The HeroPress Network is constantly looking for relationships we can build that will be mutually beneficial to everyone involved. Relationships we can invest time in — time new WordPressers and busy veterans don’t have — that will pay off to the Network as a whole.

Every Community Member has a Job to Do

A vital community built from diverse perspectives, experiences, and skills thrives when we each do the role best suited to us at a given time. When we play to our strengths, we all thrive. 

By attending the WordPress State of the Word in person, Topher and I can continue the boots-on-the-ground relationship building that has gotten the Network this far. And we encourage everyone who can’t attend in person to tune in.

An educated community is a powerful community. The more you know and understand, the more choices you have for your future.

Photo by Florian Wehde on Unsplash

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