Attending the Joomla World Conference #JWC17 as a team member
Last month I attended the Joomla World Conference #JWC17 in Rome, Italy. Since my first JWC visit to Vancouver last year, I've joined a couple of global teams including Showcase, Certification and the Joomla Community Magazine (JCM), where I help out with things like moderation, English-language proof reading and documentation. This year, in addition to the actual conference, I also got to attend some team meetings prior to and during the conference.
At a recent JCM meeting, we established I was the only JCM member attending #JWC17 so the team leaders asked if I could represent the JCM at the Operations Department Meeting to be held prior to the conference. This seemed pretty cool - it would be the first time I'd get to meet and participate in a face-to-face meeting with many Joomlers that previously I'd only known in an online capacity.
As an IT and web professional for more than 20 years, I've watched the world shift online and I take an interest in not just how things work from a technical perspective, but also the cultural and social implications. The online world provides many fantastic benefits, and indeed allows global projects such as Joomla to flourish, but it's also important not to underestimate the value of sitting around a table for some old-fashioned face-to-face communication (preferably with a cup of tea and a TimTam, but that could just be me :) ).
Text-based communication is easy now but it can also be easily misread or misunderstood, particularly in a global setting where context and meaning can differ between different people, languages and cultures. Sometimes, the context of text is unclear, but if those same words are spoken in a face-to-face setting with facial expressions and body language added in, or by voice where intonation, inflection and laughter can be interpreted, the outcome can be very different. So these meetings provided an opportunity for me to participate in the Joomla community in a different way than I had previously.
Many good ideas for the JCM came out of the Operations meeting and the subsequent Operations "Joomla! in Action" sessions on day 2, which has been passed on to the JCM team leaders. The official meeting report can be sourced here, but this is some of the main feedback which I thought was quite good:
- Consider JCM target audience - web professionals, implementers - and how the content answers questions. Should be aimed at professionals looking for tools, advice, reviews.
- Liaise with other teams. For example, for a new Joomla user, an article about different gallery extensions (with help from JED) and an example of them in use (from Showcase). This will not only help JCM but will also help promote JED and Showcase.
- Consider asking Joomlers to submit 50-100 words on their favourite extension and compile these into a larger review article. This may be less taxing than asking people to submit full articles, and can still avoid the "advertising" no-no.
- Consider ways to make authoring a JCM article a professional enhancement opportunity. This should subsequently raise the quality/number of submissions. Consider making a marketing badge available, similar to Resource Directory or Certification badge.
I'm really pleased I got to attend this meeting - I learned more about the inner workings of Joomla, and more particularly I got to know the other attendees a bit better, and in a more "personal" way. The same could be said of attending the whole #JWC17 conference, really!
I also got to attend a meeting with my Certification team, and the experience was similar - I went from being a name on a page in a weird timezone, to getting to know other team members a bit better. I'm finding our subsequent online discussions flow more easily and are more enjoyable, now that I've had a chance to put faces to names. :)
It was great seeing the friends I made last year again, and meeting a bunch of new friends this year! If you'd like to volunteer with the Joomla project, I highly recommend it! Please click here
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