What do the following have in common?
- Foster Care
- Charter Schools
I've been involved with all four - and they all require members of the community to be Of Service. Without those, who are willing to take time to to benefit a greater good, a community collapses.
I learned about service from a very young age. I became a chorister in St. Matthew's Church when I was 6 or 7 years old. This church choir is an amazing place, producing some of the finest choral musicians of my generation. I had the good fortune of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Gerald Finley, Matthew White, and Daniel Taylor. As a chorister there, I spent every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons practicing with the other boys. Friday evenings were devoted to full practice with the entire men and boys sections. Then the choir would sing two services on Sundays - one in the morning and one in the evening. The excellence would not have emerged, without those willing to sacrifice personal time to a greater good.
As an adult, I continued this legacy of service by engaging the Foster Care System. The Foster Care System tries to protect/support/save the most vulnerable members of our society. The stories you hear are heartbreaking. This ultimately led to the building of Trauma Adoption, a site devoted to supporting Foster Parents and Adoptive Parents of children who have suffered trauma at a young age. Children would remain parentless, without support, aging out at 18 without those willing to sacrifice personal time to a greater good.
Charter Schools are an interesting entity. They are part of the public school system, but are often instantiated by parents who feel the overall public school system has not served the needs of their children adequately. The formation requires a "charter" which outlines accountability that the school must adhere to in exchange for the partial autonomy it receives from the the system. Charter Schools have governance from a Board of Directors who look at high level issues like HR when they are escalated, the budget, and school adherence to policies. I've been on the Parent Teacher Association Board at one school. I was recently elected to the Crown Pointe Academy Board of Directors. These are volunteer Boards. The school would cease to function properly without proper governance without those willing to sacrifice personal time to a greater good.
How does this relate to Drupal? Understanding the idea that Drupal is a community of Developers, Strategiests, Business People, Project Managers, and so much more is the beginning point. Many of these people are giving of their own time in benefit to the overall community. There is an altruistic element to contributing/sharing/helping - but there are also lots of profoundly good personal reasons to:
I've been a social networker for many years. I was one of the first to jump on Linkedin when it was released in 2003. I was an early Twitter adopter. I was a little later to the game on Facebook. I use aggregation tools like Ping.FM. I've signed up for Klout - which is interesting, but that is for another article. I have over 20K photos on Flickr. I actively use YouTube - even more so since they pretty much removed length and size limits on video uploads. I dabble on a mess of other such site. So, when Google+ released, I was an early adopter.
About a decade ago my job search had me using my personal network and paper job lists. I found a job in Denver with the Western States Arts Federation through the ArtJob newsletter that later transitioned into the ArtJob website. The days of circling things in the classified ads and mailing resumes are long gone.
I applied for a tech position there and then emailed my network to find out if anybody knew the Executive Director there. It just so happened that my friend Peggy Baggett - who I had done work with through the Virginia Travel and Tourism Institute - at the Virginia Arts Council had a personal connection. I think that that personal connection gave me the edge.
That was a world with no Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter. Text messaging wasn't common and SMS had just started taking off.
I've been publishing to this domain since 1999 in some fashion. I've been blogging since August of 2004. I rolled over to Drupal in November of 2006 at which point I started tracking stats. Traffic has had its ups and downs but basically has been increasing. Moving to Drupal improved my SEO rankings quite nicely.
This past month has been a bit of a bonanza of traffic on this little site of mine. First of all, Drupalcon Paris occurred. I was lucky enough to be there and I took quite a bit of video. Those videos were available within a day or two of the session itself. September 7-9th proved to be some of the heaviest traffic I've ever enjoyed. Part of that had to do with posting four sets of videos. I must admit to a tiny bit of embarrassment--the videos were pretty shaky as I hadn't packed a tripod. Some videos weren't complete due to battery failures. But, by in large, folks seemed pretty happy they were being popped up on line quickly. This had come off of a nice series of videos at Drupalcamp Colorado that I had posted in June and July.
I suddenly started getting spammy messages across my Twitter-stream a couple of days ago:
I just reached level 4. #spymaster
I just assassinated an ambassador. #spymaster
Just bought a Makarov PM, 9x18mm. #spymaster
Just secured a safe house in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. #spymaster
Admittedly it caught my attention and a threw out a request to join the party. I was curious about what was going on with this new game.
Bit.ly's Meta description of the game is:
Tweetie vs Tweetdeck
I've been using Tweetdeck for quite some time. I really like the sleek columns that allow for easy filters on keywords. Having real-time updates on those filters is useful if you are trying track a single subject like "Drupal" or "pingV". The filters are saved when you close down Tweetdeck which is handy because the Adobe Air application appears to have memory leaks.
"signing up for twitter 9:02 PM Apr 25th, 2007 from web"
This was my first Tweet.
I signed up with the intention of figuring out what Twitter was. I was doing a presentation on Web 2.0 but hadn't worked Twitter very much. I knew that it had won SXSW's Web Award in Blogs the month before. At the time people were talking about it a bit like it was a toy, but it was more than that--people were using it like broadcast IM, like a miniblog, and as a public notepad.
Jott! is a note taking service for your cell phone. Basically the idea is this--you need to take a note, you don't have the time to write it down (or don't have a pen and paper handy), but you do have your cell phone. Speed dial Jott!'s number, say "Jott Note" and carefully say your note. Within a few minutes it has been transcribed and is available to you on the Web.
I've been seeing ping.fm showing up as a source of tweets on Twitter. I've tried lots of little desktop clients like twitterific and twhirl and like them all more or less. When I started seeing ping.fm on Twitter, I popped over to the site and saw that it was a Web based service that you needed an invitation to use the beta. I sent out a little tweet asking if anybody had a beta code. My friend Walkah quickly sent me the invitation code and I signed up rather quickly on my iPhone.
Ping.fm is cool because it aggregates all your favourite social networking sites. I immediately set up Twitter, Plurk, and Pownce. They were a snap to setup.
1) Click on "Not Setup"
2) Put in your Username and Password for the service
NOTE, I am not responsible if you use this service and something goes wrong. You are putting your username and password into a third party application.
Once you have your services set up, a single post will filter to all of the sites when you make a post.
Facebook is a bit more complicated--you'll need to use your "Application Key"--but if you follow the instructions provided by the application, you shouldn't have too much trouble setting it up as well.
One minor nit, you can post to all your social networking micro-blogging sites, but you can't see the stream of folks that you follow through the service. This means you need to follow each of your streams individually.
All in all, I think that ping.fm is pretty cool and worth taking a look at. If you regularly update a bunch of services with the same or similar posts, this will save you a lot of effort.
Let me know if you need a invitation code. I'd be happy to share.
You are busy posting to your Twitterfeed at a conference. You have colleagues doing the same with the plan of combining your collective feeds into a company blog post. As the speech you are listening to comes to the keynote climax--questions, postings, answers, insights are all being fed into Twitter--you suddenly find yourself on the whale screen. Twitter, once again has come crashing down.