So as we hurtle towards the end of the year, one easy blog post you can write is the “People to Follow in 2016”. It’s an easy post to write: simply pick X amount of people, write a short bio, and tell those who have been featured the URL. Queue big chatter on social media, and a lot of traffic to the site. It’s classic ego bait, and it works well.
I was featured on two fairly prominent lists within the last 12 months (one so prominent that I forgot the URL, but one was on The Torque Mag), and as you can see, it creates discussion. That discussion is quickly followed by drama, as somebody gets missed out.
Everybody’s Equal (Only Some Are More Equal Than Others)
This drama did begin to have a negative effect on me, as I saw comment after comment (from many people who I respected), basically invalidating the list (and by extension the people on said list) because somebody was left out who probably should have been there.
I get it. Whilst I’ve featured on 2 releases of WordPress – 3.9 and 4.4, I think the actual code changes that I’ve contributed to WordPress would be lucky to total 10 lines throughout. There are other people who are involved in the project who would probably be more deserving to be highlighted, but alas I was included in a list for whatever metric they chose to use. The beauty about WordPress is that on the whole everybody’s contributions are treated almost equally. I like this as it breeds encouragement for newbies to join in, and to share their skills. However the gaps in said lists were quick to be pointed out, which made me feel a bit rubbish as somebody who was featured.
Those Who Are Featured Rarely Have A Say
Here is the other thing, those who featured rarely get a say in being mentioned. It’s a nice surprise when it happens though. As such, please be careful with those comments as whilst it may be constructive criticism for the author of the article, it may be taken a bit personally by those on the list (as I’m guilty of doing in the past if I’m honest!).
Don’t Know Everybody? Good!
Personally, I don’t know about you but if I see somebody who I’ve not seen at a WordCamp speaking, I’d try and watch them speak. Everybody can teach you something in this community, even the newest of the new will know something you don’t, or challenge your viewpoint. It’s the only way you will grow as an individual. Whilst I respect contributions of some people in WordPress, the chances are all the key contributors I kind of already know about, so I get more excited about new people than the old dogs. As they may be able to show you something you don’t already know about.
So whilst you may not appear on any “One to watch in 2016” list, or your favourite WordPress rockstar may not be present, please refrain from commenting that they (or you!) have missed out. Everybody is entitled to said opinion. Who knows, maybe use this list to grow your sphere of people to follow, you may uncover a new friend, or mentor, or maybe even the next release lead. After all, we all have to start somewhere.