044: Learning Coding Through Gaming with Megan Rose


About Megan Rose:

Megan is a web developer in the Cleveland area specializing in WordPress. She is the Technology Manager at KHM Travel Group, a leading host travel agency. Neopets first introduced her to coding.

Find Megan Rose: | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn


This episode is sponsored by WPRemote maintenance care plan platform for WordPress website agencies. Learn more and get 10% off your subscription at https://wpremote.com/womeninwp.

WPRemote

Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
Women in WP | WordPress Podcast
044: Learning Coding Through Gaming with Megan Rose
/

Show Notes

We talked to Megan about how she learned to code by making websites for her Neopets as a kid. She found her first WordCamp by Googling “WordPress Conference.” She soon became a WordCamp speaker and organizer. We talked about how organizers now need to create the local feeling, provide swag, engage sponsors, and avoid Zoom burnout among attendees during online events.

Transcript

Speaker 1:

Welcome to Women in WP, a bimonthly podcast about women who blog, design, develop and more in the WordPress community.

Angela:

Hi Women in WP listeners. This is Angela with a quick message from our sponsor, WP Remote. WP Remote is a dedicated care plan platform that can help fuel your agency’s growth with maintenance care plans for your client’s websites. WP Remote provides an automated workflow for you to manage multiple sites from a central dashboard with one-click updates, incremental backups, automated malware scans, firewall, uptime monitor, and more. WP Remote is created by the same great folks behind BlogVault, MalCare and Migrate Guru. Save time, increase your revenue, and make your clients happy by trying WP Remote for free today at wpemote.com/womeninwp. And now, on with the show.

Amy Masson:

Hi, welcome to Women in WP. I’m Amy Masson.

Tracy Apps:

And I’m Tracy Apps.

Amy Masson:

And our guest today is Megan Rose. Megan was introduced to coding by Neopets and is now a web developer in the Cleveland area who specializes in WordPress. Welcome, Megan.

Megan Rose:

Thanks for having me.

Amy Masson:

And we like to start off each show by asking our guest how they got started in WordPress, so kick us off by telling us your journey.

Megan Rose:

Yeah. So very early journey for HTML and CSS with Neopets, with Inline CSS, no style sheets, but I actually got started in WordPress at college. I studied visual communication technology at Bowling Green, and they had an interactive media course, and I specialized in it. And they taught us about custom plugins and themes, and we managed little fake client websites and things like that.

Amy Masson:

So interactive… Say that again?

Megan Rose:

[Media 00:02:04]

Amy Masson:

Interactive media. So what does a degree in interactive media entail?

Megan Rose:

So the program itself was a variety, and then the idea was to give you a generalized media degree, but then you select a specialty within. So it was actually a web design which they just called interactive media because of Flash and things like that, which, I don’t know, they just didn’t consider the same thing, and photography and videography. And then they also had marketing courses and things like that, so I opted to do a marketing specialty along with interactive media. So yeah, it’s not as heavy on the coding side, so it’s more of a design program, but it’s cool because people would go in the same program, and branch out and take different paths afterwards.

Tracy Apps:

That’s pretty cool. So I don’t know what Neopets are. Can you please explain these? Because it sounds amazing, and I do remember the Inline CSS, but what are these Neopets?

Megan Rose:

I mean, I can talk about this forever. There are actually interesting studies on the economy of Neopets, which is [alter-nerdy00:03:27], if not, tech-nerdy. So if you want to check that out, you can probably do that on your own time. So Neopets are just like virtual pets. And virtual pets were really, really hot when I was a kid, so there was a whole bunch of Neopets knock-off stuff, too. And they’ve really just marketed the heck out of anything they could for Neopets, so they had stuffed animals that you could buy and things like that. But you just select a breed of these alien-looking pets and you take care of it online. And there’s all this depth to it, you can buy a house for it, you can buy a pet for your pet, which is called a Petpet.

Megan Rose:

I think at one point, they had Petpet pets, but those didn’t really catch on. You can buy paint brushes to just change them in different colors. There’s a rainbow one and a starry one, and I don’t know, all sorts of stuff like that. I think there was one that was like a strawberry. But yeah, and so you just you play these mini games. They’re basically like what we have as phone games now, the block games and things like that, and you get coins and that’s how you buy stuff.

Tracy Apps:

Where does the code come into this play here?

Megan Rose:

It’s as nerdy as it gets. You get a webpage for each of your pets, but you can customize. And then I think they had Petpet pages, too, so it’s like they really got in on their own ideas a little heavy.

Amy Masson:

Did you have a Petpet page?

Megan Rose:

I remember having pet pages, I’m not sure about Petpets. But yeah, it was basically like, I don’t know. I guess if you pictured a dating profile today, that was essentially what your pet page looks like, where it’s got a picture of it, tells how old it is, the name and where they live because you can pick different cities that they live in this map of Neopia, which is the name of the world.

Tracy Apps:

This is amazing. How many kids these days are growing up that’ll be like, “Oh well, these games will… This is a waste of time.” But this is amazing, like an introduction to, basically, your career, your life. And I did the same thing, I was like, “I stayed up all night and I just made a really, really terrible website.” But that was the start of something. And I was like, “It was slacking off when I did it, but then I learned all this stuff.” So that’s really cool, and I really liked that whole economy of it. And I see that repeated in a lot of other games and stuff like that. It seems like a lot of MySpace meets, I don’t know, all these other games, which were pretty cool. Was there also a communal… Could you interact with other people, too?

Megan Rose:

Yeah, it was… I’m trying to remember. I think it was a bit limited. It’s nothing like today when you play a video game and you can just get on mic with them, but I know you could battle your pets in what was called The Battledome. It’s crazy how many terms I remember from this.

Tracy Apps:

That’s hilarious.

Megan Rose:

But yeah. So you could see other people’s houses and stuff like that, and it can be customized to your own style. And I don’t know if you could send direct messages or not, but it was probably a limited form where you could select from some pre-written options or something like that. I don’t remember it being too crazy. I think they did have a forum though, so people probably met on Neopets all the time, just like any other online platform.

Tracy Apps:

That’s funny because that reminds me a lot of, as you’re explaining it, Glitch. The company that made Slack, before that, they were a game company, and they made this beautiful game like that. And you made your houses and they could be like this, you can go and visit people’s houses. It actually developed quite a community. There’s actually an ongoing group Facebook message of this group of people that I met. We would all go to this one room, and you would mine sparkly rock so that you could sell it and make money, so that you could buy things just in the game. But yeah, that ended up becoming an interesting way of… It developed a community.

Amy Masson:

I’m just cracking up over here with the, “I went into a room and mined sparkling rocks.”

Megan Rose:

Glittery rocks.

Tracy Apps:

Well, okay. So there’s-

Megan Rose:

That sounds like something I want to do today though, to be honest.

Tracy Apps:

There’s sparkly rock, but you also. If you could, would you milk butterflies? You could get milk, yeah. And you nibble on a pig and you got meat. It was all crazy, go nuts stuff, but yeah, sparkly.

Amy Masson:

The games I played in my youth were quite different. So you learned CSS and HTML in the Neopets. Do you think that’s what guided you into wanting to do this more professionally when you went to college? Because when I went to college, WordPress wasn’t a thing, the internet was barely a thing. So you went and you already had some basis. Do you think that helped you lead you to that path?

Megan Rose:

Yeah. So my dad was always into computers and I think that was probably the first thing that got me interested. We had an Atari and we used to play Street Fighter and stuff like that on it. I mean, I’m still a gamer to this day.

Amy Masson:

We still have an Atari at our house, just FYI.

Megan Rose:

Nice.

Tracy Apps:

I have one too, but it’s at my parents’ house.

Amy Masson:

I don’t know if it works or not, but there is one in the basement in our house, as well as a Commodore 64.

Tracy Apps:

[Gamenet 00:09:36] [inaudible 00:09:36]

Megan Rose:

I also have one of those. Yeah. I used to do ASCII Art on my Commodore, which is really cool, but you can’t do anything with it except carry this big thing to show it to people. I’m sure my parents were like, “What is wrong with this child?”

Amy Masson:

My favorite Atari game was Pitfall, just for the record.

Tracy Apps:

I love that one, too.

Amy Masson:

It was the best one.

Megan Rose:

[crosstalk 00:10:02] called the [Bye-Bye Bear 00:10:04] or something. And I just remember, it my brother really sad because you’re interacting with this bear in the game, a teddy bear. And at the end, he grabs onto a balloon and flies away. And I remember he was so sad.

Tracy Apps:

Oh my goodness.

Megan Rose:

He would cry every time we played.

Tracy Apps:

I remember actually, even before the Atari, I had a Texas Instrument, something or another, and there was this one game that scared the Jesus out of me. It was Hunt the Wumpus, and you would see like, “Oh, is it here?” You didn’t want to find it, and then all of a sudden you’d find it, and it would be like [inaudible 00:10:40]. It scarred me as a child.

Megan Rose:

It’s like Minesweeper, just spookier?

Tracy Apps:

Exactly, but with a giant monster. And then go to bed after that, good luck.

Amy Masson:

Okay. So you were guiding us in your path from Atari and Neopets into…

Tracy Apps:

[inaudible 00:11:00]

Amy Masson:

Yeah, we got a little waylaid. This is not Women in WP, it’s Women in Early Gaming which I think, actually, there is an audience.

Tracy Apps:

That’s cool.

Megan Rose:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amy Masson:

But anyway, you were leading us from Neopets into college.

Megan Rose:

Yeah. So I think I just generally had an interest in computers, but didn’t connect that with a career because my dad specifically worked on [phone 00:11:27] systems, so it was not… I didn’t have any insight into what it was like to be a programmer or anything like that. But my mom actually found the program when I was looking for colleges, and she sent it to me, and I was like, “Oh yeah, this is it. This is what I want to do.” And I don’t even know if I applied to any other college. I was just like, “Yep, this is it. This is great.” And I didn’t really look into it too much, which is a little crazy looking back on it because that’s not what [crosstalk 00:11:56] decisions today.

Amy Masson:

So what college is this, so we know what college offers this program?

Megan Rose:

BGSU.

Amy Masson:

Okay.

Megan Rose:

So, yeah. And I think going into the program, I knew like, “Oh yeah, I’m going to specialize in web for sure,” because I was never really… I didn’t consider myself more on the artistic side of taking pictures and editing videos, I didn’t really see that as a route that I was interested in. I was more interested in being in the design world, but more on the techie side of it. Does that make sense? And then right after college, I did some internships in web design. And then right after college, I started at the place that I’m still at, so been there for a little over six years.

Tracy Apps:

Wow, six years. Where are you at now?

Megan Rose:

KHM Travel Group. So they’re a host travel agency, which just means they provide training to independent contractor travel agents that are across the whole United States. So we have 4,500 travel agents that work out of their home, and they run their own small business and then they just use us as a resource.

Tracy Apps:

So you use WordPress for your job, correct?

Megan Rose:

Yes.

Tracy Apps:

[At what extent 00:13:18] do you do?

Megan Rose:

So I started as a front-end developer, and then… I actually began working with someone who was doing end user support, so it just naturally made sense. For whatever reason, the way we were structured at the time, we weren’t within the same department. I was in the marketing department, but as I started to work more with him, he would tell me, “Hey, people are having problems with this, that, and the other,” and I would be the one fixing them, so I would just naturally tell him when it was fixed, so he could tell the end user. So we formed our own team, which is now the technology team. And it’s a team of eight, so that’s grown over the years. So right now, I’m in a management role, but I still contribute just with [inaudible 00:14:11] plugin development and connecting APIs and things like that.

Amy Masson:

I’m checking out the KHM Travel Group. What’s your role in… I know you’re working on the website, but are you developing the website, are you working with the agents? How does that work?

Megan Rose:

So I am the technology manager so right now, I actually manage the IT department and the web development department. We’re just all mushed into one team right now because we’ve branched off from the marketing team and then just became our own thing. So we have a user experience specialist, who was previously the end user support, and two developers and a technology assistant, and then a couple of IT professionals who actually work on the network side of things for our office. So I manage them and work on the sites just from a bug fixing and cross integrating basis, what’s the word I’m looking for, connecting all the pieces together and selecting different tools for the company. I provide very limited direct customer support just when it gets escalated to me.

Tracy Apps:

Nice. So how did you find… Because I know for me, it wasn’t the same time when I was doing WordPress where I found the greater WordPress community. How did you find that? Or was it around the same time? Or how did you stumble upon the WordPress world and WordCamps, et cetera?

Megan Rose:

I don’t know, it was a little slow-moving at first, but then all at once, which is probably how most people experienced the community. So I didn’t know it existed at all until I googled “WordPress conference” because at the time, my company didn’t provide any stipend for professional development. So I wanted to change that, and when I searched “WordPress conference”, I found WordCamp Ann Arbor. And that was the next one that was coming up.

Amy Masson:

I literally googled “WordPress conference” trying to find something that I could go to because I heard about other people going to conferences and I wanted to go to one, too. But I only did WordPress, so I googled “WordPress conference” and that’s how I found WordCamp Las Vegas, because I also loved Las Vegas.

Megan Rose:

And now it’s just in the dashboard, it would have been so easy.

Amy Masson:

It wasn’t in the dashboard when I went, but it was the same Google search phrase.

Megan Rose:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Tracy Apps:

So SEO people know this is… So far, of this group, 100% of the keyword searches is that. So then when you found the WordCamp Ann Arbor, did you attend? Because now you have also done some organizing as well, correct?

Megan Rose:

Yes. So I just attended Ann Arbor, and I didn’t make the most out of the experience looking back. I was one of those people that was there with my notebook, and I was going to sit in those sessions if it killed me, and I was like… Especially because I had that extra pressure of being the first person to ask for… I work in a travel industry, obviously, so if people go to travel events, that’s assumed that it would be covered by the company. But I was the first person to be asking to go to something that isn’t in the travel industry, which is our industry, so I felt like I had something to prove by bringing back notes and being like, “These are the 700-word notes that I took for each of the sessions.”

Megan Rose:

So I limited myself a little bit because I didn’t go in with the most open of minds about the conference experience in general, so… I actually wasn’t gung-ho community until I went to Northeast Ohio the next year. I had skipped out on the after-party at Ann Arbor, too, and I feel like that affected how quickly I got into it. But I went to Northeast Ohio and because I didn’t feel like I had made a lot of meaningful connections at Ann Arbor, I decided to volunteer for Northeast Ohio to force myself to talk to people. And it worked out because the next WordCamp I went to after, I spoke at. And then, I believe, I was on the organizing team the year after that, so that’s a good move.

Amy Masson:

Yeah. I feel like the after-party, it’s a mixed bag because that’s really where you go and you actually talk to people. Especially if you’re new, you go to the conference and you sit in your sessions and you’re by yourself, but then the after-party is where you really start to get to know people. But then it’s also a different experience where people are drinking, and it’s just… If you’re not comfortable with socializing in general, you’re introverted, it’s hard to break out of that. So do you have any tips for showing up in an after-party by yourself?

Megan Rose:

Yes. So the showing-up-by-yourself part is obviously… That’s the hard part, but I guess going into it with the mindset of, “Worst case scenario is no one talks to me and I talk to no one,” and having that be your mindset, I think, is helpful because later when I started going to events in the travel side of things, I definitely felt like an outsider there, so I had to… I don’t know if I was necessarily nervous for after-parties for WordCamps because after volunteering, that really put me at ease and I’ve met some people that I knew I could latch onto if I was feeling uncomfortable at the after-party, so that helped. But definitely, when I went to stuff outside the WordPress space, conference-wise, I didn’t really have any life preservers there, so I just went with the attitude of, literally, “The worst case scenario is I’m just uncomfortable. And I won’t be hurt or anything, I’ll just be uncomfortable for a couple hours.”

Tracy Apps:

And there’s usually snacks. I mean, that’s what I latch onto. If I don’t know anyone, I’m like, “Snack table.”

Megan Rose:

And you can just take pictures of the food and the decorations and stuff and look like you’re doing something.

Tracy Apps:

Yes!

Amy Masson:

I think people, maybe, overestimate how… Like you said, the worst thing is, “I’m going to be uncomfortable for a little while,” and I think people build that up in their head as like, “The worst thing is I’m going to sit there and be by myself,” and it’s like, “How bad is it, just hanging out with yourself?”

Megan Rose:

Yeah. Especially if you’ve already had lunches by yourself in your life, it’s like, “I lived through that one.”

Amy Masson:

Yeah. So just our advice now, “To all the people going to your first WordCamp, go to the after-party and don’t be afraid to go by yourself because-

Tracy Apps:

And hang out by the snack table because I’ll be there.

Amy Masson:

Yeah, go hang out with Tracy and have snacks when we can actually have WordCamps again, which apparently is 2022.

Tracy Apps:

That sounds about right.

Megan Rose:

That’s hard to imagine.

Amy Masson:

So have we talked about, on the podcast.. Have we done one since they made the official call to not have in-person events for all of 2021?

Tracy Apps:

No. And I didn’t even realize that that was an official statement. No.

Amy Masson:

That is an official… I’m not making that up, am I?

Megan Rose:

I think it’s official.

Tracy Apps:

I believe you because I just haven’t been on the internet.

Amy Masson:

Everything, all WordPress events or, at least, official ones are online or virtual until 2022. What are your thoughts on them?

Megan Rose:

Depends on location I think. There’s a couple of countries that are doing pretty well, COVID rates wise, and [inaudible 00:22:42] have successfully reopened, but have their borders closed. So I think there’s a couple, in other countries, that are still happening.

Tracy Apps:

Makes sense. But I feel like being overly cautious… Because it is a worldwide community, especially for the larger ones, people will travel internationally and that’s a recipe for disaster.

Megan Rose:

Yeah. I think they’re still doing some meet-ups, too. Because I saw something like Chatter last week and the week before in the community team channel.

Amy Masson:

Okay. I thought I’d seen at least… Because I believe everything that I see on Twitter-

Tracy Apps:

Everything on the internet is true.

Amy Masson:

Everything on the internet is true. That pretty much everything was officially canceled, but the meetups would be different, I think, than the official WordCamps. So obviously in the U.S, that’s the right choice because things are just a shit-show here, but in terms of… It’s hard that’s… People that work from home, that’s your one social aspect to your job, and now it’s just gone. And I know we’ve talked about it on other episodes. I’m just not down for the virtual conference, I just haven’t been able to really do that. But Megan, I know you’ve been involved at the virtual WordCamp Kent, right?

Megan Rose:

Yes. So let’s see. I actually went to the first online one, which was in San Antonio, and that was interesting. It feels like forever ago now. I barely remember it, which probably is not a great testament to the hard work I know they’d put into it, so I’m sorry, but-

Tracy Apps:

But, really, how do days work right now. I don’t even know what month it is, so I think that’s…

Megan Rose:

I’m sure it was a great experience, I just don’t remember it. But then I volunteered at Santa Clarita because… Let’s see, who was it? Someone in the community team had suggested… I think it was Kimmy [inaudible 00:24:42] had suggested that David and I… David was the lead organizer for Kent for this year, and I was lead last year and year before. So it was a little bit of a bummer for him, probably, because his very first one that he was leading was going to be 100% percent different. But it still turned out really well, we learned a lot from Santa Clarita that we were able to absorb. And then we hosted a little how-to-do-online-WordCamps meetup, where we talked to other people that were considering doing online WordCamps.

Megan Rose:

But the problem we were seeing is there’s obviously going to be a drop-off because people are joining because of the novelty, not necessarily because that’s the type of content they want to sit through and that’s the format that they like. They’re just doing it because it’s just new experience. So we had over 1,000 people that were in at a given moment, which was pretty crazy, especially for our small-town WordCamp which is usually 110 people. So that part was really exciting and cool, but we did just take the in-person experience and recreate it online, which is just not… It’s not the right way to go about it. It’s better to rethink online entirely and do things in a different format, and find different ways to engage with people than just having a giant chat room with 1,000 people in it.

Tracy Apps:

Yeah. What kind of tips would you do? Because that’s overwhelming, just thinking about it.

Megan Rose:

There were some aspects that, I think, we did pretty well. And Denver also did really well with theirs because they went shortly after us. And we also had Europe, obviously. I just went to the contributor today, though, because I was a little burnt out of online events by then, which is the reason that we have to rethink it. But having breaks and having much shorter days is obviously key because we’re already looking at the computer all day for work, why would we want to go to an event, either at the end of our day or on our weekend, and stare at the screen again? So they’ve talked about doing workshops. [inaudible 00:27:04] WordPress actually launched a new learning platform on the site, which I wasn’t involved in, so I don’t know a ton of the details, but it’s workshop-based learning for online.

Megan Rose:

And I think another one of the good things that we had done was to use our Slack group a lot which… Everyone complains about having another Slack group, but they really love it during events, it’s very helpful. And we had a lot of interaction on ours and we got a lot more people that joined it, that weren’t previously a part, that might’ve been within our community or right outside our community. So we actually saw a lot of numbers from bordering states of people that attended, which was cool. So we still had a local feel.

Megan Rose:

And Denver actually did really well with their local feed because they contacted some local musicians, and they played their music video in the breaks, which was really cool. And they also reached out to local coffee shops and got discount codes for people and gave that away as their swag, so they did a ton. And even in the opening remarks, they talked about different areas to visit when you’re in the area, so that was really cool. And I think if we’re doing location-based online, that’s really the way to do it, but we’re shifting towards not location-based if it’s online because it doesn’t make sense to have it be location-based at that point.

Tracy Apps:

Yeah. That’s interesting because you’re right. One of the big things about WordCamps, the big mission is that it is supposed to be local. And organizing it, you want to make sure you have a balance of local speakers versus people who are coming in. Yeah, that’s an interesting idea because now it’s online, how do you do that? I know Minneapolis. This will air after this, but Minneapolis and St. Paul is tomorrow. And when they asked for speakers, they were asking for local [asterisk 00:29:13], or give or take, so I applied. And I’m in Wisconsin, so I’m neighboring, so it was I local enough. But yeah, I don’t know what the solution to that is, or if it’s better or worse or just different. I don’t know.

Amy Masson:

Yeah. I hadn’t really even considered that. I keep seeing all that online camps that are happening, and they’re all still location-based. I’m like, “Why are we still doing location-based,” because we’re all doing it from our houses.

Megan Rose:

Yeah. And time zone-based still makes sense, but location-specific city does not. And you could potentially get a lot more volunteers and get a lot bigger organizing teams and take that burden off of people if you’re able to organize based on something bigger, like a time zone.

Amy Masson:

So when you’re organizing for online, and now that you’ve been involved in both, what do you have to do differently to draw people in?

Megan Rose:

Hmm.

Amy Masson:

Because you have the creeps like me that just won’t show up online, so how do you get me?

Megan Rose:

Yeah. I feel like the people that do show up online are creeps, too.

Amy Masson:

Some of them, for sure.

Megan Rose:

We just got so many more interested people, we didn’t really try. We were right at the cusp of… I mean, we were a month after the stay-at-home order in the [earlier year 00:30:54], so I mean, people just wanted it. They were just wanting to go to it, so there wasn’t really a lot of marketing we had to do. And actually, I think our SEO on our site was pretty rough at the time because, remember, we can search for a day off and we’re like, “Where is it?” So I don’t know what it was, I think it was probably a lot of social media sharing and then people just clicked a lot.

Tracy Apps:

I can imagine, especially if it’s right after… You were saying the novelty of it, but even just seeing people and knowing that there’s other people outside of your house…

Megan Rose:

Yeah. I think there was a little bit of desperation early on. And then the desperation just comes in waves now where we’re like, “No, we can get through this,” and then it’s like, “I need to see people.” So we’re all going through that around the same time, I think, so people just really wanted to go. And what was a little bit different was our communications with the sponsors and with the speakers because, specifically with sponsors, we had already published our levels. And I was the sponsor captain, and so we had to go back and tell them, “You’re not getting that stuff, you’re getting this other stuff.” And not a ton of it had changed because we didn’t… I mean, it was just changing table space to virtual booth, which is not the best method of recreating because you’re just mimicking instead of creating a totally different experience.

Megan Rose:

One of the totally different experiences I had thought of for sponsors was if you let them set up one-on-one appointments, so if you let attendees have a one-on-one consultation with one of the sponsors, that might be a more meaningful… It’s only one person, but it might be a more meaningful experience for the attendee and for the sponsor than just having them be in a booth and say, “Oh, if you come in here, you might win 50 bucks. Just join from your bed, join from wherever, be it wearing pajamas,” and like, “You’ve never even heard of my company before, but get in here and we’ll raffle you off with Amazon card, whatever.” It’s weird to just try to recreate the in person because there’s not the same hype about it. And we can make meaningful connections by doing things just totally differently, so I think it’s worth looking into different ways.

Amy Masson:

That one-on-one thing is really great. And I like the concept behind it because a lot of times, I’m too nervous to go up to a booth and just start a conversation. And when I do, it’s usually because I want to yell at a web host about their platform. And yes, I have done that multiple times, but I think that’s… The only time I actually go is to say, “Hey, I love you. I hate you,” and then anything in between is… I just don’t go up to the booth.

Megan Rose:

Yeah, that was something… I was on the organizing team for WordCamp US, which was obviously canceled, and that was also a little bit of a bummer because I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m in the US team, that’s really exciting,” and then it didn’t happen. But it was still a cool experience to see the differences in the organizing teams because it’s so much bigger, and that naturally makes it a little more slow-moving. Plus, we had this so much back and forth where we’re like, “Oh, we’re going to pivot over and over. Well, we’re going to do this.”

Megan Rose:

There was a period of time where we’re thinking of having a plan for in-person and online a little early on, so that was totally different to see it from that side of things. But yeah, we talked a lot about sponsors with that group and what came out of it was just really good conversations about how to do things that are better for sponsors and how we have… We all agreed that you go to a sponsor booth because you either already know about them or… I mean, because you’re happy with them or because you’re mad at them-

Tracy Apps:

Or you want a free pair of socks or pants or something.

Megan Rose:

Yeah, you go to them for the swag. So in person, you would go for the swag or you get that aspect where you’re walking down the hall… You’re trying to get to that sponsor over there or that speaker that just left a room, and you’re walking down the hall and some friendly sponsor is like, “Hey, how are you liking the event?” It’s just the generic thing that happens when you’re in the sponsor area. So obviously, that disruption of your day can’t happen online.

Megan Rose:

We’re not going to have sponsor pop-ups where it flashes on your screen like, “Hey, how are you doing,” like those chatbots that are on sites. “Hey, this is GoDaddy, we just want to see how you’re liking this online event.” So you just can’t recreate some of those in-person interactions. So doing them on a one-on-one basis, I feel like, would be more beneficial because then, it’s going to be people that are proactively saying, “Yeah, I want to talk to GoDaddy or Bluehost,” and going in there. And I don’t know, if they’re yelling at them, they’re yelling at them, but hopefully not.

Amy Masson:

I didn’t actually yell, I had words. Anyway, so right now, I think we’re facing this thing called Zoom fatigue where people just don’t want to do the online stuff. And when people started talking about it, I’m like, “I’ve been using Zoom every day of my life for years, so this was not a thing I was familiar with.” But when everything started happening, I had a little happy hour for my neighbors on Zoom. And then the second time I tried to schedule it, nobody wanted a part of it. They were just like, “Nope, I don’t want to do it,” and I haven’t been able to schedule… We did some family things and nobody wants to do it anymore.

Megan Rose:

Yeah. My D&D group, Dungeons & Dragons. I don’t know [inaudible 00:37:07]

Amy Masson:

I knew that.

Megan Rose:

I don’t know what their interests are, the Dungeons & Dragons group. We switched to online, and that was a bit interesting because then we’re doing Discord, and we’re doing dice bots instead of rolling an actual dice, which is a little weird. It’s not the same feel but, of course, we would normally get together and try each other’s beers and have a potluck and all these non-D&D and D&D activities.

Amy Masson:

Yeah, there’s no beer-sharing right now. Nope.

Megan Rose:

Hmm?

Amy Masson:

There’s no beer-sharing right now.

Megan Rose:

No, it’s not happening. And we’d all be crammed around a little table and have our miniatures on the board, so that’s been very different. But I actually saw an interesting… I think it was [Corey 00:37:58] Miller that had tweeted it. But he tweeted about Zoom fatigue, and that Zoom fatigue is just meeting fatigue. I hope it was [inaudible 00:38:06] because now I’m quoting him, but it was a tweet that said, “Zoom fatigue is not a thing, it’s meeting fatigue.” And I replied to it with some of my thoughts which were, “Well, there’s a little difference, and that’s the surveillance state of having a camera in front of you, so your self-policing.” So I fixed my shirt 16 times already because normally in a room, you’re in with a bunch of people and you don’t feel like people are fixated on just looking at you, so-

Tracy Apps:

And you don’t see your reflection.

Megan Rose:

Yourself, yeah. Seeing yourself is really uncomfortable. And if you’d get echo or something, hearing yourself, too, and then having to ignore it, that’s also uncomfortable. And the other aspect is the blue light in your screen, it’s not good for your eyes. So I think that Zoom fatigue is real, I do believe it’s a thing. But I think we also have meeting fatigue because… Yeah, there are still too many meetings in all of our companies, so I think we have both.

Tracy Apps:

I agree. I totally agree because… Yeah, I feel tired, but I also then enjoy that because I do like to see people’s faces. And I think that the good point of… Well, there’s so many other things in an in-person meeting or an in-person event that aren’t related to the meeting or event that we’re missing. And I think those things give a little more energy or life to a meeting versus, like you said, looking at a camera.

Megan Rose:

Yeah. And there’s good meetings and bad meetings. Obviously, the meetings that have been most important are one-on-ones with my team members. I try to not ever cancel them or move them around. I’m frequently late to them, but that’s just because I’m just always late to them. But those are way more meaningful than update meetings, so there’s just times that it’s going to be more draining emotionally and, potentially, you’re thinking like, “I’ve been on video all day, I just want to have my video off.” So I’m in lots of meetings where half of the people have their camera on and some of them have it off, or people will turn it off partway. I think we just need to be accepting of when people are like, “I’ve had enough,” and just need to turn their video off or walk away or do things like that.

Amy Masson:

Yeah. Pre-pandemic, too, I always made a point to try and have my video on just because I like to see other people’s faces. So even if I am reading something in the background and they can’t tell, and it looks like I’m very intense studying the camera, at least, my face is there. But I mean, I go to meetings now and half the people will have their cameras off, and I think that’s just where we are right now.

Megan Rose:

Yeah. And it probably depends on the subject matter too, because there are… Sometimes I’m in a meeting and someone has their camera off, and I’m like, “Oh, I wonder why we won’t really want to see their face right now.” I want to see their reaction to this. So I think sometimes, people use it strategically, like they’ll have their camera off because they have strong feelings on a subject, but they don’t want to give it away. So I think it’s good to default on, but just still allow people turn it off because they’ve, maybe, been in three meetings beforehand.

Amy Masson:

Yeah. Well, it’s been really great having you on the show today. Before we go, can you tell everybody where they can find you online?

Megan Rose:

Yes. So my site is megabyterose.com. I haven’t posted recently. I was on a really good streak for awhile, but… And you can find me on Twitter @megabyterose and in [Repos 00:42:04] Slack. And yeah, that’s basically everywhere where I would be.

Amy Masson:

Awesome. Well, thanks for being on today.

Tracy Apps:

Awesome. Thank you.

Megan Rose:

Thanks for having me, it’s fun.

Speaker 6:

Thanks for listening. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter, or join our Facebook group. We would be honored if you subscribe to the show. You can find us on Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, and iTunes. Finally, if you want to be on the show or know someone who would, visit our website at womeninwp.com. Until next time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Top