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After two years in the country music capital of Nashville, TN, over one thousand people came together for WordCamp US 2019 in St.Louis, Missouri. Over 1300 attendees made up of volunteers, organizers, sponsors, and speakers gathered together during Halloween weekend to commemorate WordPress at the America’s Center. This year’s WordCamp featured workshops, KidsCamp, contributor day, and the inaugural State of the Word from Matt Mullenweg.

Community Engagement at WordCamp

WordCamp US was led by 47 organizers, over 100 volunteers, and 90 speakers who created a fun environment with interactive events. The 2019 sessions focused on workshops that provided actionable tasks from auditing, to self-care, and design innovation. Community members also collaborated to provide attendees with helpful tips for getting involved with WordPress, organizing a meetup, and how to select diverse speakers for WordCamps.

The Bluehost crew was excited to showcase a new booth that allowed us to interact and engage with attendees as we discussed all things WordPress. Attendees were encouraged to pin their perfect place to WordPress on a map that showed where they were from and what dream WordCamp they want to attend. In addition, Bluehost debuted The Blueprint: A Web Pro’s Guide To WordPress which empowers users to master topics like securing their WordPress site, developing a staging workflow, and more!

State of the Word

On the last day of WordCamp, Matt Mullenweg opened up his annual State of the Word address with a premiere screening of the WordPress documentary, “Open: The Community Code.” The film consisted of various interviews from WordPress leaders and community members who shared how WordPress impacts the lives of users worldwide. It also provided an in-depth look at the structure of WordCamps, local meetups, and the power of open source for new and experienced users.

Matt shared how the city of St.Louis had historically been a hub for tech innovation and that it mirrored the growth of “where WordPress has been and where it’s going in the future.” As Matt reflected on the current state of WordPress, he shared that in 2019 there were:

  • 141 WordCamps (34 in new cities)
  • 17 KidsCamps
  • 5,000+ Meetup Events
  • 16 do_action charity hackathons

The expansion of WordPress in 2019 was reflected in the growing amount of attendees, speakers, and volunteers who worked together to continue making the community diverse, inclusive, and accessible to everyone. These collaborations were also seen in Gutenberg, which core contributors continue to improve on daily.

The Future of Gutenberg

Matt enthusiastically shared all of the improvements and updates made to Gutenberg with over 20 major releases in 2019. The 5.1 (Betty Carter) and 5.2 (Jacob Pastorious) releases provided users with site health, developer experience improvements, and block management. Since it’s initial release in 2018, “Gutenberg has amassed a total of 480 contributors who have collaborated to add more functionality for users in 2020.”

For the upcoming year, WordPress users can look forward to:

  • Over 150 block editor improvements
  • Gutenberg’s first CMS-powered theme that highlights the power of Gutenberg
  • Admin email verification
  • Mobile friendly usage of the block editor on IOS and Android
  • Offline support
  • Social icons
  • A Block directory to install blocks like plugins within the editor

Matt also discussed how Gutenberg was created to “disrupt the room,” and is currently 20% completed. Gutenberg will continue to change the web in the future as 2 of the 4 phases have been completed.

Phases of Gutenberg:

  • Accessibility, Formatting, Usability
  • Customization
  • Collaboration
  • Multilingual

The State of the Word concluded with a Q&A from community members where attendees asked questions regarding the future of the platform. As WordPress users continue to adapt to the growing software changes, Matt encouraged the community to get involved and “help be the change,” by getting involved on contributor day, adding more blocks to the editor, and “teaching fellow users about your knowledge of WordPress.”

Commitment to Contributing

Contributing to WordPress is not only a great way to connect with community members, but helps to improve the WordPress project. As Matt mentioned during State of the Word, “users are the oxygen of any software,” and contributing is an integral aspect of WordPress.

Contributor day was bustling with eager attendees looking to get involved with WordPress. The room was busy with attendees hard at work and learning how to use their expertise to improve WordPress. Bluehost was happy to lend a hand to the marketing team in addition to assisting with KidsCamp.

Thank you for an awesome WordCamp US experience, we look forward to seeing you in 2020!

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