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The WordPress industry is dominated by freelancers, remote workers, and a distributed workforce. Though the Community as a whole is strong, the day to day reality for many is isolation.
Sure, there’s Twitter, Slack, and the lot. But seeing people’s faces and hearing their voices is the way humans connect. This is why Face to Face Communication is such an important part of human connection. And you can’t have a community without connection.
It’s easy to take meetups for granted or to believe that their only value is in the exchange of information. However, the value of in-person meetups cannot be understated. Meetups are a great defence against isolation. They inspire, create relationships, and are a great place to learn. Yet, not everyone lives close enough to attend a WordPress meetup.
In Orange County, for example, we have several meetups to choose from which have become mini communities in and of themselves. By building relationships, there is a cohesive bond is formed. We generally call this friendship.
"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival." CS Lewis http://bit.ly/29gj31W
Knowing that you’re not alone is the first step in friendship. The exchange of ideas -- theme suggestions, the best form plugins, and CSS tricks -- all help the meetup attendee with her work, but even more, the discussion is a platform upon which friendships are built. And friendships are the undergirding, supportive structure of any thriving community -- like a coral reef.
This talk was given at WordCamp Atlanta March 19, 2017.