We often chat with people that see our posts in social media about WordPress, community, meetups and WordCamps. They want to know more about what WordPress is, what being part of a community means, if we get paid for what we do.
There we go…
For some unidentified reason, people nowadays do not understand the meaning and practicing of the word “volunteerism”. We probably live in a world where everything has a price counted in money. However this is not the case. As we can be paid with sentiments, smiles in people’s faces, acquaintance of knowledge, learning by experience. This is what we earn, getting wiser and full of tastes and feelings.
What does being member of a community mean…?
Hmmm… this should not be a tough question as we are social beings and we are not meant to be alone. Community to me means a variety of people sharing a common characteristic. In the case of WordPress global community, we all share the same passion for WordPress. It is a part of our daily life, since we either work using it (and that means also making ends meet) or we use it as a hobby like me when I am blogging.
You do not need to be a professional as you can see, in order to be part of the community. The will to contribute any way you are able to is enough and of course you always need to be respectful and cherish openness, stay away of discriminative acts or words and love people.
Why do we volunteer?
I can explain right now. We are offered a project – or I would say a tool, that makes our life easier while using it and this tool is free. It is free but you can sell the projects you make using it.
How can you keep this tool alive, not let it get old and useless when technology is growing every day?
And how you can keep alive the projects you have created using it (and your customers and yourself happy)?
The answer is by keeping alive the community that supports WordPress.
Keeping alive a community means contributing and volunteering. We are donating our time and energy in order for the benefit of other people in the community. However, at the same time we do benefit ourselves, by sharing knowledge, opinions, building strong bonds within the community with people that share the same interests, networking, having the opportunity of attending conferences in order to expand all the above and evolve not only as specialists in a work field but also as personalities.
Everyone in a WordPress community is a volunteer. Either you are an attendee of an event or you are organising meetups, either you are a speaker or a WordCamp organiser, either you are answering issues in a forum or submitting a new plugin, either you are helping in translation of WordPress or offering your services as volunteer in an event, either you deal with accessibility issues or contributing to the WordPress core, either you are attempting to grow this community bigger or you occupy yourself of marketing and content, either you are a photographer, a videographer, a designer, or you are teaching people how to use WordPress.
Amazed to announce what everyone has been waiting for long!
WordPress Greek Community wanted to show you that, Greece is not only Athens city, so this year we have selected our co-capital city to host the first WordCamp Thessaloniki, in Macedonia, northern Greece.
This is for our community the third Greek WordCamp, following also the example of other countries like Portugal (having one year a WordCamp Porto and the next one a WordCamp Lisbon).
Thessaloniki is called the most romantic city of Greece, located right next to the sea, with great history among the centuries. Feel free to visit the city a lot earlier and let us know so we can show you around.
Taste the food, feel the vibes, learn history, share culture, visit museums, archaelogical sites, have a little cruise at Thessaloniki beach, walkaround the White Tower, say hi to the statue of Alexander the Great at the beach, get to know people of Thessaloniki. It is said that Macedonians are the most hospitable people in Greece.
We are looking forward to meet you all to the next amazing greek WordCamp!
Note it down on your calendar, pick the best alarm, book your tickets, pack your bags and be on time!
Stay tuned for more news to WordCamp Thessaloniki 2018 website and get ready to assist in any possible way, become a sponsor, come up with a speech or sign up as a volunteer. We need you all by our side!
Staying at the same appartment with 5 men might have some difficulties, such as trying to wake up in the morning and get ready for Contributor Day of WordCamp Europe in Belgrade.
Having had an amazing time with friends all over the world for the past days, it was a bit tricky to get out of our beds. However, we checked for sure the schedule, we managed to be at the bus station on time and we really enjoyed the ride on a Serbian bus to Belexpo Centar.
At the registration desk, outside of Belexpo Centar, our good friend Aleksandar along with 4 more volunteers, since 08:30 in the morning, helped us and the rest of the contributors confirm our data and get our badges.
Everyone can contribute to WordPress, as you do not need to be an expert or a professional user. You are always welcome and your assistance is highly appreciated! Never forget that, as we always need someone to give a hand in any sector…
I love community, as it is all about
“Bringing people together!“
After the opening remarks by Remkus, when we were also introduced to the team leads – one of them our greek community GDPR and privacy lead, Konstantinos Ksenos (also known as Xenooos!) – we found our spots and set up our notebooks, being organised by the team leads. However, unfortunately, due to technical difficulties, Wi-Fi was not accessible due to heavy load. But I think this was the best part… Since the lack of Wi-Fi connection – even if some of us attempted to provide as hotspot their data connections – people started blending, walking around the venue, talking to each other…
Is there any better way to contribute to WordPress than networking and making bonds between communities and people?
It was a blast, seeing beloved friends that haven’t been around for some time, as our Mauricio, hanging out with Rocio, our mentor for this year’s greek WordCamp and greeting Francesca our mentor for WordCamp Athens. And it was just the right time to make a lot of new friends…
I met sweet Sara Gooding with her camera, trying to capture the spirit of the day for WPtavern, to share it all around the globe. Met Leo, a young man with amazing energy and positivity, that introduced me also to Jen and Bridget from Women Who WP meetup. They ladies shared with me the beautiful story of their meetup and all listened to my concerns, regarding hosting the deaf people of Greek Community, during WordCamps and meetups, and gave their best to assist us showing us a path along with Andrea, who had been amazingly helpful and very careful with our needs.
Entrance of Belexpo Centar by Florian Ziegler
Breakfast and lunch area view by Florian Ziegler
View of main room by Giannis Kastorinis
And guess what? Yes, we did have some Mykonos talk (as well as about mousaka, tzatziki and other specialties, cuase it is already summer in greek islands) with the WordPress contributors, so when they pick the dates for their trip I might be the tour leader!
At 12:30 we had a break for lunch, and believe, in Serbia they do know how to cook and eat tasty food, as well as how to make people feel welcomed!
I would say that, after the lunch we continued networking, but the thing is… we never really stopped.
However, we should run to Sava Centar, as the volunteer orientation will start at and we didn’t have much free time… As we got to the venue, overwhelmed of the big day to come, the rain started falling again. Taco explained every inch of our responsibilities and gave us tons of inspiration with his sence of humour.
And the time came… to walk around the venue for a guided tour with Taco leading. Checked the tracks and the registration desks, as well as the workshops and the volunteers HQ, so that we knew exactly where we had to be next morning. First time volunteering might be a little scary but the organising team made it look like a game.
Sava Centar (WordCamp Europe 2018) by Stephen McLeod Blythe
Should I go shopping or go to volunteers orientation?
Get involved! WordPress Community needs you!
We always have spare time for a mirror selfie
Volunteer HQ board with volunteers names
No time for us to go back to our appartment and get ready for the volunteer social, so we headed at Top of the Hub Restaurant & Lounge for the dinner with sponsors, organizers and other volunteers. And guess what… We got the wrong bus… And then another one driving like “Speed” in the roads of Belgrade. Finally there, watching the astonishing view, tasting amazing food, offered some rakijas by our waiter, meeting great people.
View from Top of the Hub Restaurant & Lounge
Never take a photo with Takis… @Top Of The Hub, Restaurant and Lounge (WordCamp Europe 2018) by Stephen McLeod Blythe
And let’s go back home, cause tomorrow and the first day of main event of WordCamp Europe 2018, will come earlier than expected!
I have been excited to attend my first WordCamp Europe, as a newbie in WordPress and WordPress Community.
My story with WordPress started in 2015 and, although I am a new to this amazing world, I try to be an active member and volunteer as much as possible.
I have been an organiser of hometown’s local meetup along with my friend Evangelos Athanasiadis, who introduced me to WordPress and opened a door to a beautiful community. At the same time, I have been a member of the organising team of the first WordCamp of WordPress Greek Community, WordCamp Athens 2016. We kept going with WordCamp Athens 2017 and this year we decided to surprise our community, by WordCamp Thessaloniki 2018. It’s been 3 amazing years so far and hopefully we will keep it like this and even better.
WordCamp Europe 2018, in Belgrade, was an opportunity to offer more to an incredible community. Therefore, we decided that the organisers of meetups and WordCamps in Greece, would apply as volunteers in order to experience this great event all together.
Since this decision, it has been a happy period and when our names got announced as selected to be volunteering and our mails got the message that we were expecting with so much excitement, it was concidered to be party time.
Booking our tickets and arranging our accommodation, spreading the word of WordCamp Europe 2018, wherever we were, arranging meetups inviting Serbian community members to talk about their community and the journey to WordCamp Europe.
And the day came… to leave our country and get in Belgrade.
The journey has just started!
I chose the bus, since the traintrip, unfortunately, was not an option at that point, as the railways in Greece were under construction (Too bad cause I really wanted to . After almost 15 hours of travelling (I left Greece on Sturday 1pm and got in Belgrade Sunday at 3:30am), here I am early in the morning, meeting Fotis and Anastasis from Greece and George from Georgia (this is one of my favourite lines).
Sunday morning, found us a bit sleepy and Fotis working, so we decided to have a brunch, however, it ended up to be lunch at Bistro Grad Hometown Food. We walked till that nice place from our appartment and Anastasis showed us a bit around the city.
Monument “We were just children” @Tašmajdan Park
Serbian wedding @Saint Mark Church
Inside Saint Mark church
Saint Mark church miniature
Inside Saint Mark church
Inside Saint Mark church
Saint Mark Church
First lunch in Belgrade among good friends…
First lunch, amazing chicken fillet!
Passing by parks with beautiful sculptures like Tašmajdan Park, Anastasis talking about history and buildings and when we arrived at Saint Mark’s church, we experienced also a serbian wedding with many similarities to the greek ones, with a small traditional orchestra accompanying the bride to the church. Got inside the church, minimal comparing to the greek ones, however, very beautiful and spacy.
After a delicious meal, we realised we needed some rest and work so we headed back home, which I soon left again to see a bit more about Belgrade having the best guide I could ask for, Nemanja (if you need a guide for Belgrade, you’d better select a Serbian living there!).
Nicola Tesla statue, Author: Frano Kršinić (Plateau in front of the Technical Faculty; erected in 1963)
Nikola Pašić statue
People used to sit on the laps of Nicola Tesla statue outside the University of Belgrade Faculty of Electrical Engineering, in order to take pictures, however I decide to show some respect to the guy and just take a picture of the – so alive – statue. I found it also really interesting that student parties might keep up till the morning at the basement of the university at KST – Klub Studenata Tehnike. The sculptures outside the National Assembly of Serbia did make an impact to me, but I had to take a picture of this bearded guy Nikola Pašić, so I could make fun of my friend and colleague Takis regarding who did it better!
Afternoons can be fun in Belgrade
A coffee at was necessary at Kafeterija, which according to my guide makes the best coffee in Belgrade, and then we passed by Manufactura with the red umbrellas hanging over us to get walking around the Kalemegdan fortress and the park that surrounds it, (full of people walking, enjoying the view, concerts, art and photography exhibitions…) was one of the most awesome times ever, and the view of Sava river was just breathtaking.
View of Sava river from Kalemegdan fortress
Photography exhibition inside the Kalemegdan fortress
However, among the beauty of the city center of Belgrade there lies a mall (a monster of modern architecture), ruining the feeling you may be travelling in time due to the amazing buildings and the history of this place. This mall definitely does not belong here, doesn’t fit…
The monstrous, scary mall…
The monstrous, scary mall…
The monstrous, scary mall…
Available time to walkaround was a bit limited, as we all felt hungry and needed to grab some dinner. Anastasis, Fotis, George, Nemanja and I met at the Central Square, just next to the offices of GoDaddy. This place was about to become our home for the coming days.
The company was lead to Skadarlija, where we realised WordCampers from all around the world have started gathering. Ivana, Taco, Milan, Andrea, Remkus, Bjørn were added to the company. That was a great multicultural gathering! Lots of great Serbian specialties and rakija made by plum, while Yoast, thankfully, took care of the bill!
Just a small starter (there were 2 of them on the table)
Do you know who Rosie the Riveter is?
Neither did I till some days ago.
I was introduced to the story behind this poster, some months after the death of the woman that inspired the artist, at WordCamp Europe 2018 at Belgrade, during the Contributor day.
Contributor day is a huge opportunbity to assist other users of WordPress, as well as share knowledge and experience and learn a lot of things that will help you to support also your local Community, back home.
One of the topics concerning me, as a woman and active member of technological communities, is that for some undefined reason, while there are many women to the sector of Technology, they are not active members of technological communities and do not come forward neither as speakers, nor as attendees, nor as volunteers and do not socialize and network. What could we do, the ones more active, so that we to attract these women, to make them feel welcome and show them what the openness of WordPress community is?
At this point, I met two marvellous ladies, who talked to me about the Women Who WP meetup. Speaking of Jen Miller and Bridget Willard,who have been also assisting us with some other issues concerning our Community.
Naomi Parker Fraley, is the lady that inspired J. Howard Miller, in 1942 in order to create the poster of «Rosie the Riveter», where a woman withher make-up on and a scarf on her head, wearing her work uniform, lifting her sleeves, in order to set herself as a good example. “We can do it!” is the slogan that tried to call forth women, to start working in factories, during World War II, since the men were fighting. However, the poster ended up becoming a global symbol of the feminist movement and women as an economic power, while in turn inspired the design of the Wapuu for the Women Who WP meetup.
What is Women Who WP, someone could ask and why a meetup of this kind is useful and not concidered as discriminative, since it is addressed to women.
While every meetup should be female-friendly, unfortunately, this is not always the case. Generally everyone is welcomed, regardless of gender and age, of course. Just while everyone is accepted in a general group, a specialized meetup enhances the comfort level for all.
“We are women-inclusive, not gender-exclusive.“, is noted on their website.
Wanting to confirm that women feel they are valued in the space, the creators of Women Who WP, created this meetup, which takes place once in month, before the regular local meetup, as a dinner among friends resulting to the increase of women attendance to the regular local meetup. At the same time, they use Facebook Live, in order for them to record the sessions, so that also the ones staying at home due to obligations feel involved. It is a reality for women the difficulty of taking time out of their responsibilities to focus on improving their skills and networking. During the meetup they introduce to each other, talk for something they have good knowledge of and after the questions, they share something new they learned about WordPress during the past month, increasing their confidence and gaining the courage to apply as speakers at meetups, WordCamps or other conferences.
“It’s essential that each of us realize that we can make a difference and welcome one another. Whether at a general WordPress Meetup, a specially designated Women Who WP Meetup, or an informal gathering of colleagues, we need to be encouraging one another in this tech journey. The industry we have chosen to be a part of moves quickly, and it’s only through learning from one another and supporting each other that we can flourish. It’s all about community —developing it and making sure everyone has a place in it.” – Jen Miller
They think, at first, that this is completely irrelevant, but then they realize there is a bigger picture to be seen.
There is a forest, not only a tree.
People ask what WordPress is, why should they choose it among other CMSs, can they find a job if they keep their hands on WordPress, can they make money, make ends meet?
I just need to say that there is a huge community of people around WordPress. All of them are volunteers, that might help you solve an issue, when that arises, or might give you a solution to something, you have not met yet, during your occupation with WordPress.
People like them also organize meetups all over the country, all over Europe, all over the globe. They organize also bigger events like WordCamps.
Others might give talks to these events, sharing the knowledge, their happiness, their stories, their success or even their failure (failure is more important than success, it is always teaching the most valuable lessons).
You will also find people sponsoring these events, funding but earning by making their firms known to a big audience and offering to the community.
You will find people volunteering to the bigger events, meeting people, participating, having fun, sharing the same passion about WordPress.
People ask us “What do you think about WordPress in Greece?”.
I say “Have you met WordPress Greek Community?”.
That’s not exactly a community, but a big company of friends, sometimes we may say family, cause Greeks are supposed to be all about family, food, hospitality, crazy, drinks, smiley and with lots of love.
People who ask, don’t exactly care sometimes about the community, cause they don’t realize that alone you get lost, but with family there is always a path to be found.
Let me introduce you my family… and then you will understand.
It is Takis from Athens, that has led two WordCamp Athens so far and now a mentor, the big bear with the amazing beard. He reminds me of Zeus sometimes – plus he has ancient sandals (I’ve seen them). Try finding him as “Takis big” cause in Greece you ill meet definitely smaller ones…
Then Vangelis, the eldest, the wiser, the polyglots guy. He has gray hair, however he is not so old. The army guy… There is a quote from an old Greek movie that we use sometimes to make fun of him, that army guys talk sharp. (We really make fun of each other all day long.)
Panos from Thessaloniki, our new lead to a WordCamp-surprise, he is a cuddler for sure, smiling and cool… Sometimes he laughs on his own with his jokes but ok (I do it too…).
Have you met Iakovos and Kostas? No? Come on… First of all, they are my cutest ones! Young, full of life, Iakovos could be a party animal and loves music (I listen to him on the radio every Friday) while Costas hates my snapchats… And I adore sending him things with which he (thinks) could embarrass me, but guess what… I am posting them myself within 30 seconds! His happiness doesn’t last.
Yeah, about that thing I said for making fun… We do work all day long, but if we have a minute, we might find a photo that can create great memes… and then we use them not so wisely…
Kostas from Athens carries around his camera and captures the most crazy moments, while he is always about helping people as a member of Red Cross.
Then it is Vassilis, he is a Spartan! (not one of the 300, but he is a Spartan!) He deals with the websites of the Community and WordCamps, usually on his own, as we all do several things and don’t have much time to assist him.
Makis, lives among security, his wife, his daughter and his dog Dotty… Jesus all females! And he still manages everything perfectly! I have no idea how the hell he does it. (My father has also 4 women at home… he is not so happy anymore.)
Costas from Thessaloniki (yes we do have a lot of Costas, please get used to this… find a way to distinguish them), calm and strong, however, you should know he keeps the better jokes and he might take over if necessary.
Constantinos from Athens (is a different way to say Costas) is a new addition to the family, amazing tattoo artist and really does not stop joking, he loves meatballs and swag for his collection…
Stefanos, goes always by the book and sometimes we do need velocity, but we need more to be completely sure everything is right, cause a greek saying indicates that whoever is in a hurry might trip and fall, so we definitely need him here to be the voice of common sense!
Giannis is waiting for his first baby and we are dreaming of a WordCamp at the island he has been born to, a summer in the Cyclades, Tinos! I think we would all be onboard for that!
And then we have another Constantinos (God help us, they are majority) from Thessaloniki this time… constantly playing with his servers, some GDPR and teaching too!
George I think is our youngest, he just finished his army duty, to come back to his team at Thessaloniki and the bigger team of Greece. He is our talented boy and we are proud of him.
Stefanos the craziest one, but always supportive and with an opinion to share while brainstorming and probably the person you need to hang around for some drinks when everything is going straight to hell!
And the last one is me, the girl power of the team. Writing, deleting, typing all day long and sometimes I think it is not good enough to go online (I always think of that but they manage to keep me nice ‘n’ easy.)
This is a team. This is a family, not only friends from all over Greece. And you know what? It is not only us. Community has many members, awaiting for you to come and make it even bigger, give it feathers to fly.
Please don’t try to spell our last names, there are times, even we cannot spell them. Just try with our first names, after all we are gonna be friends!
Meet Kostas Kouratoras (you can also make your Kouratoras, if you need the .psd file ask us), meet Platon and Aggeliki, Marianna and Alexandra from Creta, meet Fotis #fotaras, our travelling boy with his own hashtag and always surrounded by beautiful women, Poppie designing the graphics of the community and Nikos Savvopoulos the designer of our new WordCamps’ graphics, meet Eleni and Zoe, meet Giannis from Larissa, teacher of mathematics and lover of entrepreneurship.. Meet all these people and many more, who share the same passion for WordPress and make a living out of it.
I just realised I can name all people in the community, so please stop me, it’s a lot of us…
Developers, bloggers, website builders, designers, SEO experts, security guys, social media managers, hosting providers, ecommerce people, journalists… we all fit here.
When you are hungry, things might get tricky… after Contirbutor Day @WordCamp Athens 2016
Food is always necessary! @8th WordPress Thessaloniki Meetup
When we gather around a table everything will be set perfectly… @8th WordPress Thessaloniki Meetup
We eat a lot, (food is essential) that is for sure one characteristic we all share, and we love raki with honey.
We all look serious and hardworking when it gets to community, the community website, the social media channels, events etc. but I swear we do laugh our hearts out and we will never stop no matter what.
We all run towards the one that might need us. That’ s what a family is all about. Strong bonds.
Organizing WordPress meetups and WordCamps has been not a task but an amazing experience we shared throughout these years, making the community stronger, bigger entertained, sharing the knowledge and the passion, learning, becoming wiser while networking and open to opportunities and other communities and cultures.
WordPress is all about hospitality of all as equals, a little democracy open to everyone.
Meet us. Bring your passion over. Be one of us. Be the WordPress Greek Community.