2021 was a year. And it was precedented.
To quote Charles Dickens’ Sydney Carton, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” It was also more of same…but some new, too. And in spite of all the world has been put through for two years…there is always hope.
We asked our team to share insights into the past — but also to look forward to 2022 to see what they’re looking forward to and what their hopes are, too. We hope this look back/look forward resonates with you, and that you find hope in 2022, as well.
What was something in WordPress that impacted YOU the most in 2021?
Obviously, acquisitions are very top of mind, but for me, it was because of the acquisitions that I saw more creativity coming from individual creators. New services that emerged and new people to the WordPress community. I think we will continue to see some interesting innovation.Lindsey Miller
2021 was my first year full time in the WordPress space. It has been full of lots of new experiences for me. I don’t think I have just one.Kayla Demopoulos
Designing my second website.Talisha Lewallen
Although not specific to any event, the continued rise in popularity of eCommerce and subsequently, the increase interest in WooCommerce. This was an ongoing impact with the site Do the Woo and brought in a lot of new agencies and product builders into the space.Bob Dunn
In WordPress, I saw broader adoption of the native block editor, certainly for myself, but I also saw more people in many different roles and experience levels adopt it as standard. This fundamentally changes WordPress — generally things are easier for users, sometimes harder or at least a high learning curve for developers, but as a writing tool WordPress may be widely abandoned in favour of apps like iA writer which I now use heavily for all my serious writing.Dan Knauss
In the WordPress ecosystem, mergers and acquisitions also signal big, fundamental changes carrying threats that may seem clearer than the opportunities.
In the culture of the WordPress community, all these deep changes and uncertainties have coincided with so many national and global crises — most of all the pandemic, which also includes a pandemic of fear and sadness. Divisions and conflicts everywhere seem to have deepened; it’s a terrible time to struggle with physical, emotional, social, and economic needs and injuries.
Some communities, especially those composed of highly online people, have torn themselves apart. We’re all touched by all of these things, but the WordPress community has had a 10+ year head start in remote work, and it has always prized personal relationships in ways that keep a community intact — something to get up for in the morning. It feels like we are in a time of decision where renewal is needed in the face of change, risk, and uncertainty. Will the WordPress community mature and change with the software and the market? Will the community we’ve become the one we need it to be?
The strength of the community has a whole in the second year of a pandemic. More people coming to virtual events, reappearing or posting more on social media. Seeing more people at virtual meetups, and seeing the State of the Word.David Bisset
Taking over Post Status and growing an amazing team of contributors.Cory Miller
Attendending State of the Word, in both my roles as Director of Community Engagement at StellarWP, and Director of Community Relations for Post Status. Being able to represent both of these amazing organizations is a dream come true for me – and it all happened in 2021.Michelle Frechette
It’s not all about work, though. We asked some personal questions, too…
What was something in your personal life that impacted you the most in 2021?
We spent so much time together as a family of four. Yes, it was tough, but it was also really wonderful. At one point our eight year-old-son asked if we remembered “last year when you and daddy didn’t work and we spent so much time together?” It definitely made me start leaning into the time we had together.Lindsey
This was a year of job changes at our house. Both my husband and I found new professional homes. After over fifteen years in early childhoood education, I made the move to enter the Word Press community full time. I said good-bye to early morning, snow covered commutes for a home office. It’s always scary to leave the familiar behind, but it has been a great change full of wonderful opportunity.Kayla
My Little Baby Squish- Kayzlee Louise was born in 2021.Talisha
Directly, because of our lifestyle, the impact was more or less just a matter of being more careful and cutting down on the small bit of travel I was already doing. Indirectly, the biggest impact was how I saw it affect others that I cared about. Those who had huge challenges both professionally and personally. This was the hardest part of 2021.Bob
Working through the end of a 23-year marriage with two teen daughters still at home. The pandemic’s isolating and anxiety-breeding effects. Living in a place deeply scarred by colonialism, resource extraction, political division, economic contraction, and extreme weather.Dan
My daughter being able to be called an official intern of Post Status — which I view as a stepping stone into journalism, content creation and WordPress community.David
Celebrated 10 years of marriage with Lindsey Miller. My life is 1,000 times better because of her.Cory
My daughter got married to a wonderful person in 2021. Their love for each other is palpable. She met him almost 10 years ago and they’ve already had ups and downs…so it was an amazing celebration of a wedding. I was a proud mama and happy that my daughter is so loved.Michelle
What was something you saw online in 2021 that made you laugh?
- I am really really addicted to Instagram reels. I have never been a consumer of video (hello innovations and changes). There are people on there that really really crack me up. My favorites are @sheenamelwani and her husband @therealindiandad and @bmotheprince. I giggle and giggle watching them! (Lindsey)
- Countless TikTok Videos. (Talisha)
- Cats singing Bohemian Rhapsody. (Bob)
- Many things, but the man in court who was stuck in a Zoom filter — “I’m not a cat your honor” — was most memorable. A trickster spirit reminding us we are all in masks hoping they’re appropriate to protect us in the situations we’re in. Humility, kindness, and shared laughter make the masks less necessary. (Dan)
- Well Matt Mullenweg during the State of the Word said I “tweeted a lot.” I’m a developer, writer, poet, lover, father… but yeah let’s make that David’s claim to fame. Put it on my tombstone (actual, not the pizza). (David)
- Exploring Instagram Reels. (Cory)
- A TikTok with a tiny girl that has chocolate smeared all over her face. Her mother asks her what happened. She replies “I got ramen noodles on my face, so I washed it.” Her mom asks “did you wash it with chocolate?” and she replies with an enthusiastic “YEP!” (Michelle)
What do you predict will be the biggest story in WordPress in 2022?
I think we are going to see some “newer” WordPress companies come in and topple some of the veterans.Lindsey
The conversation about the safety of our kids online has become more and more focused post the Facebook data leak and now the U.K.’s Children’s code. With many major platforms that have large youth audiences now working to meet the requirements of the Children’s Code, I expect we will see more conversation and possibly new requirements in data security in the year to come. I think we will also see continued conversation on accountability for what is being published online.Kayla
I expect to be surprised. I think more of a public verdict on WordPress’s position will emerge as full site editing is absorbed. It may slow or decline in market share, and WooCommerce will be playing catch-up. So I expect stories about WordPress leading and falling behind. Which will stick? I would like to hope the WordPress community itself will begin to ask what measures of health exist other than growth as it’s usually imagined. Growth and scale within appropriate limits is a looming and mostly untouched conversation for us, not just in WordPress but as a species.Dan
We will see more of Matt’s vision of an open internet come into light, and it might not deal at all with Gutenberg — perhaps an acquisition or investment by Automattic. I don’t think that will get the initial big attention, but acquisition-wise we aren’t finished yet.David
Breakthrough improvements to Gutenberg that show why it’s the best publishing platform ever created.Cory
More acquisitions, yes, but more WordPress businesses branching out to SaaS and other platforms.Michelle
What are you most looking forward to professionally & personally in 2022?
Over at my full-time gig we have a brand new service and brand that is launching in 2022. It is really exciting and I think it is going to be disruptive to the marketing world.
We have some trips planned for 2022. I get antsy when I am not out exploring the world, so I am ready for some new experiences with my family.Lindsey
Defining my path and growing. I have the pleasure of working with many individuals who have acquired amazing experience and impressive skills. I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn from them. I am also excited for the explore the ways I can contribute.
Investing in myself. So much of my time has spent investing in others, which is something I truly love. But now it’s my turn to shine. I know that to give to others what they need, I need to first invest in myself, be healthier and stronger mentally, emotionally, and physically. Professionally, I have mountains to climb and I’m ready for the journey. I can’t wait to see who I am at the end of 2022, but I suspect, she will be my best self yet!Kayla
I look forward to growth and getting our systems where we want them to be.
Personally: summer at the pool with my family, camping, and some vacations.Talisha
It really is two-part. First, growing the Do the Woo community even more and helping to elevate even more voices in the space. Secondly, the partnership with Post Status. I know in my heart that this will bring a significant impact to what the next years bring to me professionally. It’s hard to even verbalize, but trust me, you are going to see some awesome stuff.
Personally, losing some of this weight I put back on over the last year or so.Bob
Help Post Status host and guide conversations that matter to our “commons” — the software, community, and ecosystem of WordPress and the Open Web. I think that will also need to be a journey out of some dark and wandering paths for me personally, and I imagine the same is true for many others.
Personally: spring and summer.Dan
I hope to see an in-person WordCamp US in September. I’m not planning on going to WCEU.
Being able to pursue some personal projects, some of which are WordPress-related. That’s about all I can share at the moment.David
Growing personally and together with our members.
Implementing healthy habits to restore my physical health. Additionally I’m in a huge healing season in my life and with the help of my counselor and support team, taking the next big steps of my healing journey.Cory
Professionally — growing the things that matter the most: helping people, helping businesses, and helping the community.
Personally — going to Europe for the first time.Michelle
What is your wish for the WordPress community in 2022 (other than COVID-related, in-person events, etc.)?
- I want us to continue building bridges and welcoming new voices to our tables. Our work and our industry will be better for it. (Lindsey)
- A bigger door! The world is constantly changing. The success of WordPress has come from it’s open source roots, allowing for diverse innovation. To continue this we need a bigger door — to new ideas, more diverse audiences, and the next generation. (Kayla)
- I hope that we can all help each other succeed. (Talisha)
- It really is no different than any other year I have been in this community. I hope everyone finds their own sweet spot and takes advantage of what I consider a very valuable and diverse community. On the other hand, I hope that others who continue to be challenged or dismayed, find what they are looking for, wherever that may be. (Bob)
- For the WordPress community to grow in size, maturity, and confidence — and to look more deliberately for paths to greater inclusion, including the generational transfers between younger and older people, more and less experienced members a healthy community requires. (Dan)
- Better workflows for training, documentation, and onboarding – especially when it comes ot the next generation of WP users and contributors. (David)
- To make the best of what we have or are able to do and lean in to each other however that looks. (Cory)
- More inclusion and diversity. Better opportunities for employment for those seeking it. (Michelle)
What do you enjoy most about being on the Post Status team?
- This team is really collaborative. There isn’t anyone who comes in and dominates ideas and conversations. It really is the best team, people who are looking to be creative, but also listening to each other and the community. (Lindsey)
- The people! I’m a big believer in “it takes a village.” However, I also believe it takes a quality village and I know that’s what we have at Post Status. I love and appreicate the collaboration of thoughts and skills. (Kayla)
- I enjoy the camaraderie and the environment. (Talisha)
- Having been a fan of Post Status for sometime, joining as a contributor and partner brought me even closer to the team behind the community. Being able to work with the team, get to know each one of them even better, and help them deliver the mission of Post Status, is what I thrive on when it comes to the overall WordPress community. (Bob)
- It’s really become a team! Relationships are part of the work now, and that’s been challenging mostly in good ways driving personal and team growth. I can get a lot more ideas and energy from just listening or asking for input. (Dan)
- The raw enthusiasm to help and support fellow people in the community. (David)
- Leading and being led by an all star cast of quality WP pros. (Cory)
- The amazing talent I get to be part of and the way we can really help and shepherd parts of the community. The opportunities that I’m given to do that is amazing. (Michelle)
There you have it.
It may not be what you expected in a yearly wrap-up post, but we wanted to be introspective as individuals and look forward together.
When asked if he had anything to add, Cory said “Let’s Give, Grow, Together in 2022 and beyond.”
That sounds pretty good to me.