We recently caught up with Josepha Haden at WordCamp Boston. She’s a digital literacy advocate and WordPress Community Wrangler for Automattic. In this interview, Josepha discusses how she found WordPress, the importance of contributing to the project, and how it’s easy to get involved even if you don’t know how to write code.
I also spoke on this subject in my session, 5 Ways to Contribute to WordPress (If You’re Not a Developer) and it was validating to speak with someone who was just as passionate about continuing to bring WordPress to an even larger audience.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Josepha Haden and I am a Community Wrangler at Automattic, so I work with WordPress in meetups across the world.
Where can people follow you?
My twitter handle is @josephahaden.
When did you first learn about WordPress?
I started with WordPress in 2009, probably more like 2010, because my mom introduced me to it. I was a starving college student and I was like, “Mom, I’m coming home to steal your food so I don’t starve to death.” She said, “Great, but I’m going to this conference. I have an extra ticket if you want to come.” I was like, “That sounds like a party, I will go.” It was a WordCamp. That’s when I first started to hear and learn about WordPress and all of the WordCamps and everything that goes into it, and it was like, never looked back.
I was first introduced to the community before I was ever introduced to WordPress, and the community is so fantastic, and I’m just kind of a people person, but I did work at a marketing agency for a number of years and just was wanting to help them get into a more agile kind of with the times technological area. I spent a lot of time learning about it and trying to make a good case for why it was the best way to go for clients and being able to hand over that technology to clients in the long run. I definitely had a corporate marketing feeling about why WordPress was good.
Where will WordPress be in the next few years?
This is a very good question. I’m thinking! As far as where WordPress is going to be in the next however many years, a lot of that is driven by what the community needs and what the community can build with it. I think that becoming faster, more accessible, is the stuff that we’re going to see in the near future. Making sure that it stays up to speed with things like REST API and making sure that things get moved into a more modern code base is going to be really important for us, but then also the accessibility of the tool as a whole, not just, who can get the tool? Also, who actually is able to work with the tool that in it’s kind of vanilla state right now otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
What are the most important community tasks?
As far as what I feel is the most important thing that our community can do in the next four or five years, and honestly in the next right now years, is making sure that we have gotten our project to a point where it’s clear that this is a tool and a project that is available for anybody. We can use WordPress as a project, WordPress as a CMS, to bridge a digital divide that we’re seeing that’s not about access to tools anymore. It’s not about who has the internet, it’s not about who has a device, it’s about who can use the things that we’re building the internet with, and who can communicate best with people who are already in that space.
I think that for us as a community the best thing that we can do is make sure that we use our tools and our own passion and talent that we have to help bridge that divide. I’m giving a really serious answer here!
Can non-developers contribute?
The creation of code is only really required in about a quarter of the things that you can give back to the project with. There are a few others that require knowledge of code and essentially advanced knowledge of that code but that still leaves you about fifty percent of the project with ways to give back by donating your time to create events, donating your time to teach classes, and to create the materials that are needed for those classes, to document the thing for heaven’s sake, documentation is so important. Support forums, all of those things.
There is like fifty percent ways to give back that are code, fifty percent ways to give back that are not code. We’re growing the ways to give back every single time we have a WordCamp. It’s a good topic.
Superman or Batman?
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars. That’s two words!
Faster or slower?
I mean it depends, cars faster, important decisions slower.