3,000 WordPress enthusiasts from all over the world will meet in Paris for WordCamp Europe this summer. We interviewed some active WordPress community members who will be joining us there.
Isabelle is a Nomad Blogger and Social Media Geek from France. She is a frequent WordCamp volunteer and speaker.
Phillip: Hello Isabelle, let’s start this little interview. The first question is easy — where are you from? And the second question is not so easy — where do you live?
Isabelle: Well actually the second question is really not easy. So I’m going to start with “Where are you from?” which is France, but “Where do you live?” is not an easy question for me because right now I don’t live anywhere. I’ve been on the road for about a year. In May it will be a year. I am what you call a digital nomad and I’m on the road all the time. Sometimes I come back to my home-town which is Paris. And when I’m there I just occupy my parents’ and my sister’s house.
So is that in the center of Paris or in the outskirts?
Actually it’s outside of Paris “la banlieue” — the Bronx of Paris.
So we don’t know exactly where you live but maybe you can tell us where you have been this year?
Sure – I have been in France, in the States, in several places in the States. I have been in Germany and in Italy. Then I was in Asia. So I was in India and in Thailand.
And that was all this year? Crazy!
That’s okay [laughs] – and I will be in Spain and Portugal next month, right before WordCamp Europe.
Nice! And what are you working on and who do you work for?
I am working on several things. I work freelance. So I have my own clients. And it’s been about a year since I’ve been blogging. I am being asked by people to write for them and do their social media. So I used to be a — I can’t really say a WordPress developer because I’m not like a core developer, right? But I was making websites and templates, WordPress themes. And, as I was telling you, little by little people got more interested in my blogger profile and now I’m blogging for almost all my clients.
Basically I do the same, not blogging, but making websites and themes for my clients. And so you work for agencies or is it more end customers?
I have both actually. I have agencies, I have publishers, I have start-ups and end-customers.
So it’s a little bit of everything. What are you working on right now. What was the last thing you did?
I’m blogging for a company called million eyez. It’s a very interesting startup. It has a community driven photo gallery that helps bloggers to redistribute their blog posts. I’m helping them to spread the word and find bloggers for them. And then I also do a lot of videos for my other client, VINUBIS. They have a WordPress plugin that does videos. You know I travel and I do videos about my travels with their platform and then I publish them on my social media profiles. So it’s a way for me to share my adventures and promote my clients at the same time.
Cool – so it’s all around WordPress? So for both of those clients you’re working with WordPress right?
Yes – particularly for VINUBIS because they have a plugin. million eyez also have a plugin, but now they have done a different move and they’re trying to reach out more and more to the WordPress community. Both clients I actually met at WordCamps.
A good way to meet to people! Do you contribute in any way to the community? I know you have a theme?
Yes I made a theme that is up on the WordPress theme repository. I have another one now being reviewed. Both my themes are free. And I contribute to WordPress a little bit. I started contributing when I was at WordCamp Vienna on the polyglot team. So when I have time I translate some plugins. And at the last WordCamp US I joined the Theme Review team but since then I haven’t contributed much.
Well that’s already a lot. How do you think contributing helped you and others?
Contributor day is my favourite day at WordCamps because you get to help the WordPress community and you get to learn. You learn a lot about how an open source software works and how everybody is building it together. And then for example if you join specific teams then you learn other skills. When I joined the polyglots team it’s a great opportunity to refresh my Spanish, my English, to learn all the languages you know. And when I joined the Theme Review team – it was really interesting to see how they have their team organised and how everybody was able to contribute. I would say contributing is about learning a lot of things and learning to work in a team.
Yes I joined the review team once and if you do themes, you learn a lot!
Yes that’s why I wanted to join that team, but I haven’t been able to be more active in that team since.
In the Theme Review team you have to be quite good at coding as well. I don’t feel that I’m good enough for reviewing properly.
Yes — that’s why joining that team during a contributor day is a great opportunity to see what you are able to do or not. But of course you need to know how to code a theme. That’s for sure.
Sure. Where do you see WordPress is going? What do you think will happen in the future?
That’s a difficult question. I think WordPress keeps on growing and growing and this is amazing. I just hope it doesn’t grow too much. You know there can be a little bit of danger. If it’s too much.
Then the idiots start showing up.
Exactly. That’s what I’m a little bit afraid of. But it’s also great to see the community growing. For example I was in Asia last month and it’s incredible to see how WordCamps and WordPress Meetups are popping up there. It’s really good to see that more countries are being involved other than the U.S. and Europe and see new communities coming in. I guess this will bring fresh air like new ideas, new things to WordPress. And this is where I like to see WordPress going. To include new communities, new, different people.
Yes I also think this is going well with all these new communities popping up. And what are your plans for the future with WordPress? Will you keep on being a digital nomad for long?
I don’t know. So far this is what I’m doing. You know digital nomads — they don’t really have plans. They are just living their life one month ahead of time. One month is like a really long future for a digital nomad. So I keep on blogging and as long as I have clients I keep on doing this. As I was telling you earlier I was in Israel at a new type of conference which was not a WordCamp, the TBEX conference, a travel blogger exchange conference. A lot of people there were using WordPress, but it was not an WordPress conference. So in the future I might diverse this a little bit. Because in one year I was at more than 10 WordCamps and a few meetups, but definitely my future is in blogging. My blog is in WordPress and I want to keep it this way. So I still have a lot to do with WordPress.
So why do you like visiting WordCamps so much? I mean – you’ve seen a lot now!
Yes I love it — and I love it more and more because any WordCamp I go to I meet with other WordCamp friends. So now I have so many friends at every WordCamp I go to and this is just really amazing. I think WordCamps are really great value because they are pretty cheap conferences and you get a lot out of it. For example all of my clients now. 90% I got from visiting WordCamps.
And the food!
[laughs] And the food, and the after party!
And the hallway track!
And you travel, it’s a great opportunity to travel. When people say “Oh my god, you’re off on the road again!” and you say – “Well I’m sorry I have a WordCamp, I have to go!”
So will we see you at WordCamp Europe?
Yes, absolutely! I am on the volunteer team and I would like to be on the Communication team like last year, where I met you, because what I love to do is social media and talking to people and things like that. So we will definitely see each other.
I have no control over the volunteer team so I don’t know what you will do, but I hope to see you too. And yes – that was already our little interview. Thank you very much Isabelle!
Thank you for choosing me! I’m looking forward to reading this!