An Interview With: Alison Meeks, Social Media Team
An interview with Alison Meeks, Social Media Team Lead and Administrator of the Joomla Facebook Group.
Your role with Joomla:
Social Media Team Lead, Administrator of the Joomla No Spam Group FB, J Marketing Team Member, J Design Team Member, JET Member
Who is Alison Meeks ?
I’m a single Canadian, rock n roller, critter loving, tree hugging, gearhead, Joomla addict.
What is your story with Joomla ?
I had been in business for a few years already when one day at the computer store I was introduced to Joomla by a fellow looking for a designer and all excited about Joomla 1.5. I had no idea that meeting would impact my life and career so much. I continued to work with Joomla and was just about fed up with the design limitations when 2.5 came along, and while it arrived with a wretched migration path for my old sites, it also opened the door to more design freedom.
I can’t really remember exactly how I heard of the JUG Toronto but meeting them was another milestone moment in my Joomla story. I learned so much about recommended hosting and build practices and made lasting friendships. JUGT was also the segue drug, as it were, to volunteering with Joomla and Radek asking me, “Have you ever considered volunteering with Joomla?”. “No! I don’t code!” was my answer. He then explained to me I didn’t have to know how to code to help, as all kinds of skills were needed.
Since then I still admin in the No Spam group but also have my other duties with Joomla on the Social Media, Marketing, and JET teams.
What is the name of your corporation and what does it specialize in ?
The name of my company is AM Graphix. It started kind of tongue in cheek by my Mom, because my initials are AM but Mom’s poke was that I was not a morning person but would work late to make sure it was ready in the morning/AM.
AM Graphix specializes in assisting small/medium business. I help businesses that don’t have the resources for someone full time to handle web and design tasks. It is so important to keep companies brand consistent. AM Graphix handles the management of their print and web resources allowing them to do what they do best – run their business.
How is Joomla helping you in your professional life and what advice would you give to web agencies for the use of Joomla ?
In my professional life Joomla is my only CMS. Being an admin helps me learn so much, as I follow the trends and read about the various challenges and how others have met those challenges, what extensions worked and what didn’t.
Building clients websites with Joomla from the beginning allows their website to grow as their business grows. It may start as a “brochure” site, but soon they want a news or blog area, their social media feed, events, store functionality, directory, or community features. All of this functionality and so much more can be easily added without having to start over.
This story illustrates my point so well. When I first started working with Joomla I met with a client about her website needs. I asked what her goals were, did she want to self-manage, all the usual things. By the time I was finished, I understood the design direction and it was clear all she said she needed was a static brochure website, which I proceeded to go and build for her. BUT, you know that isn’t the end of the story, don’t you?! Within 6 months we were continuously adding and her business was growing. By the end of year one she wanted to self-manage updates, and by year 2 she wanted e-commerce. The static site was scrapped at the end of year one and Joomla (which I should have used from the start) came to the rescue. But wait, there’s more! Because she decided to self-manage 100% and didn’t read the instructions, she wasn’t backing up and updating her website, and of course it got hacked.
I learned so much from that client. First, to always start with Joomla, even if they say they don’t want more. To be really clear with a client right from the original contract (you have a contract, right?) that websites need regular care and feeding, both updates and backups but also fresh updated content, so Google doesn’t think they are dead.
If one says Joomla World Conference, what do you think of and what was your contribution ?
I think of Rome and missing my chance to attend the Marketing sprint, as well as what would have been my first ever JWC. I had been quite unwell in September/October and wasn’t cleared for travel by my doctor until 2 days before JWC. It was too late.
I was, however, still able to help with social media leading up to the event and during the event, since attendees at the event could message me to post and share even from home.
You are part of the Social Media Team - what is the new Joomla! strategy on social networks ?
If I tell you I’ll have to kill you!?
But seriously, there are a lot of myths and old wives tales about Joomla that need to be dispelled. One goal is to get info out there about the huge number of free resources available to learn Joomla at many levels. Joomla is a powerful CMS and great agency tool to build amazing websites.
We will continue our goal to increase Joomla’s visibility outside of the Joomla community. Don’t forget to share posts on your social network to help us spread the word.
Be Joomla loud and proud!
How many Joomla users do you think there are in the world ?
Not enough! But it has been downloaded 90 million times.
Please describe for us how important is your involvement in Joomla program as a volunteer
I don’t think that any one volunteer is more important than another, but to replace me they would need someone up for 7 days a week and lots of hours!
What do you think is the strength of Joomla Community ?
There really isn’t anything like world wide friendships and collaboration.
What advice would you give to Joomla volunteers ?
Get involved and do something. Anything! There are so many ways you can help Joomla! You don’t have to be a programmer to help. Got limited time? Visit your favourite forum and answer questions. Sign up with JDocs and help with proofreading articles in your own language (and learn at the same time), suggest corrections, translate if you have the gift of languages. There are always short text strings you could translate taking just a few minutes at a time. Write for the Magazine, or submit a case study on an interesting site build or project you worked on. What made it a challenge and how did you solve it for your client?
Visit volunteers.joomla.org and see if there is a posting you are interested in.
No time to volunteer but still want to help? We have you covered. Sponsorships start at $25. https://community.joomla.org/sponsorship-campaigns.html
A last word ?
Joomla is a great tool for building websites. Like any skill in life, you need to invest your time in learning to get the most out of it. Building for the web isn’t just about making a pretty site. It must perform as well.
This is a field where the learning never stops. Keep learning and be Joomla proud!