Earlier this week, I was involved in a few different conversations where something like this was said, You’ve inspired so many people like myself with WP Weekly or You inspired me to get into WP. I find it hard to believe that someone like me could inspire someone to get into WordPress either personally or through WordPress Weekly. I just don’t think what I do is very inspiring to others but I’m routinely reminded that it is. Maybe this is a sign that I should take more pride in the work I do?
As I was writing an article for the Tavern containing my thoughts on a few of the topics I’d like to see new sites dedicated to WordPress cover, I wondered if WordPress has passed me up. Five to six years ago, I felt like I had a good handle on what WordPress was doing and where it was going. Now, not so much.
Not only do I not know where it’s going, I’m personally not interested in some of the topics that WordPress users today want to know about. eCommerce, the business of WordPress, enterprise, and application development. These things sound cool, but hurt my head just thinking about them.
I have no idea how to be relevant with these topics since I’ve never operated a WordPress business, have no experience with enterprise, never operated an eCommerce store using WordPress, or know anything about product development or pricing. Some of those topics scream BORING to me and the best content is based on real life experience.
I’ve always written about WordPress from a user point of view as I’ve primarily used WordPress for publishing and managing content. Every now and then, checking out new plugins and themes. Over the years, I’ve become less of a tinkerer and have become comfortable with the way the Tavern operates. I don’t experiment as much as I used to.
If I’m not already, at some point, I think people like me who use WordPress just for blogging and managing content are going to be considered old school. Using it as a foundation for applications, frameworks, eCommerce, or powerful solutions to problems is going to be the cool, shiny way to use WordPress. I’m wondering when/if what I have to offer the WordPress community in terms of information, experience, etc will just be irrelevant to the trends, topics, and use cases of WordPress in the near future.
I don’t think it will be any time soon considering the huge user base of novice-intermediate users who are always looking for the next cool theme or efficient plugin to handle tasks. But it is something I’ve been thinking about and will continue to think about in the foreseeable future.
When it comes to WordPress, I have my personal views and takes on things but for the most part, I can be persuaded to one side or the other of an argument. I don’t ever claim to know everything as that’s impossible.
What I enjoy most about WordPress is talking about it with others. Discussing ideas, the future, the past, what mountain is in the way that needs to be blown up! I don’t have a personal allegiance to one side of an argument unless I strongly agree with something. Only then do I fight for what I believe is right.
WordPress is just software. Software that powers over 20% of the web of course but at the end of the day, it’s just software. It’s nothing to lose sleep over.
I write about WordPress for a living. It’s a great job, has its pros and cons like anything else in life but I’ve been able to turn some of the cons into pros lately. I don’t think of my job as anything special. I write my opinions, thoughts, and generally just cover the WordPress ecosystem. It’s not something I’d consider world-changing.
I don’t think I can change someone’s life for the better simply by writing about them, their product, or their visions. Maybe I can? It’s just that so many people have an occupation that benefits society. I wonder what my place is in the grand scheme of things. People value WordPress news, what I write, and appreciate the heads up on things I think they should know about. But does that change their life for the better? It’s not like I’m building a house for a needy family, or participating in a charity that gives people a second chance at life.
Perhaps changing someone’s life is too extreme of a desire. Instead, I’d like to know that because of my work, they are more successful than they would be without it. If I became a millionaire, I’m that guy that would continue to eat at Applebees, Fridays or Longhorns and talk to the servers. Find out what pain points they have in life and if financial aid would be the biggest help, give it to them with a fat tip. I’d be so giving with my money, I’d probably end up broke again while others benefited. That’s just who I am.
WordPress may be just software made up of code that runs on servers, but it’s the backbone of so many sites. Sites that are trying to change lives and make an impact for so many people on this planet.
So in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think what I do for a living is earth shattering, life changing stuff. But I love it when someone tells me face to face at a WordCamp that because of what I do or a post I’ve written, they’ve been more successful whether it’s financially or the exposure opened up new doors. Those are the times I’m reminded that even a young man in the buckeye state can make a positive impact on people’s lives that he may never cross paths with.
While it’s not all in text format, the following image is from a blog post in 2007 that pretty much explains how I ended up using WordPress for the long haul. I obtained the image from an archive I had on an external hard drive.
I used a blogging network called EFx2 before I found out about WordPress.com. EFx2 was awesome not only for what it offered but also because of the community surrounding the effort. The community and network effect of EFx2 far surpassed any killer feature EFx2 could offer as far as blogging was concerned.
I’ve been working at the grocery store for over 10 years now and I’m still trying to find a way out of that place. Trying to turn retail into a career is a waste but so is working hourly at the store. I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever be able to make a career out of something. Right now, the best thing I’ve got is my WordPress enthusiast community in which I seem to be building my own career from the bottom up. The first year brought in a total of around $4,000.00 which is below poverty level. However, I’m already on my way to shattering that amount this year by introducing more affiliate reviews into the site and doing some other things.
What I worry about though is whether I can actually pull this off. That is, with a wife, a house, and bills to pay, can I work part time at the grocery store and eventually make my enthusiasm for WordPress a full time job. Since I started the project in March of 2009, every stat related to the domain has increased. I wonder if I’d be better off getting a second job somewhere other than the grocery store or finding a job that has a career path. But those jobs that have a career path are few and far between. Plus, my lack of education kills me. Also, since I’m only into my second year of the project and momentum is on my side, it would be foolish to give that up now.
Just thinking about all those people who have careers that pay $30,000 or more per year while I only made a total of $18,000 for 2009. I hope this is the year of the big payout so I can keep doing what I enjoy doing.
Just wanted to pass along a few updates for those wondering about the progression of WPTavern.
The domain is up and running with a fresh install of WordPress 2.7. The first plugin I installed was Maintenance Mode so that I can work on the site in public without the dust getting in everyones eyes. Next up, I tried my best to install PHPBB3 but for whatever reason, I couldn’t get the installation to accept my Database credentials. I tried every combination known to man. After 30 minutes of trying to figure it out, I went and installed Simple Press which was recommend to me via Steve Hodson of WinExtra.com.
The installation was flawless and I’m going to give this a go. Now, I have to go through and configure the WordPress installation to my liking and then the next thing on my list is to work on the design for the site. Once I get the design finished which is going to be a variation of the one used on this site, I will incorporate the site design into the forums. Once that is finished, I will look at installing plugins for the site and getting the functionality I want up to snuff. During this time, I will also be trying to get my hands on OIO Publisher to manage advertising on the site. I’m hoping to have WPTavern publicly launched in *BETA* form by February 1st. Time will tell though if I’ll be able to make that deadline.
Last but not least, I have created a Twitter account for the site. Please follow @wptavern on Twitter as that will my method of communication to fans of the site. I’ll also be setting up the RSS feed to publish to Twitter for all articles published on the site.
Again, I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support. At this time, if anyone feels like they will be able to contribute some of their time to help me manage the WPTavern community via the forum, let me know as I want a few moderators already in place before the site launches.