The Joomla World Conference is always a high energy event and this year in Bangalore, India was no different. The event was amazing and it brought the community together in a way that only happens at the JWC. It was my third JWC and it featured the most diverse crowd I’ve ever seen at any Joomla event, it truly was a World Conference. The location in India certainly had a lot to do with that and I know for a fact it was the first JWC for many of the attendees.
Being a JWC veteran I know that it provides us with motivation and inspiration. We’re emotional after saying goodbye to our Joomla family and we want to stay in touch. We can’t wait to be more involved with the Joomla community and we imagine all the great things we could do. We can’t wait to share our experience with our families, friends, colleagues and our local Joomla community.
I also know that the inspiration and motivation begins to fade after we get home. The magic of the JWC is slowly replaced by our regular day to day routine and the excitement of the conference becomes a fond memory. The realities of our schedule impact the time we can spend volunteering and we lose touch with our new friends.
This is completely natural and it happens to the best of us. It’s easy to be motivated at a community event, but it's harder to stay motivated on your own. We need to volunteer our personal time to give back and it takes continued effort and commitment to contribute to the community. It's not always easy but it’s always worth it in the end.
Keep yourself involved and strengthen your connections with the community after you get home from a Joomla event with these tips:
- Go Through All Of Your Notes
- If you took a lot of notes at the conference, that means you collected a lot of information you found useful. Don’t let it sit there forever, go through it all.
- Review the resources and links you came across, find ways to share them and use them in your life and work.
- Follow Up With Everyone You Met
- Find people on social media. Search the #jwc15 hashtag and add everyone you find.
- Grab that big stack of business cards you got and send an email to everyone before you toss them into your pile of forgotten contacts. It doesn’t have to be long, just say hello and that it was nice to meet you.
- Go through all your flyers and sponsor promotions. Sign up for the services and use promo codes to try them out to see if they work for you or your clients.
- Contact any sponsors you met directly and say hello. It’s always good to have inside connections with sponsors.
- Send A Thank You To The People That Inspired You
- Find the keynote speakers, community leaders or event staff that inspired you. Get on their websites and follow them on social media. Send a quick message or post and say thanks, tell them what inspired you and how it changed your life.
- If someone really made a difference for you, send them a written post card or letter. That means a lot to people and they will remember you for it.
- Write A Blog Post Or Magazine Article About Your Experience
- Write up your thoughts or your experiences from the conference. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated (like this article is), just a few paragraphs & a photo about anything you liked or a simple review of the event is plenty.
- Post it on your personal website, a blog site, business site or submit it to the Joomla Magazine. Original content is great for SEO and it gets noticed by the community.
- Speak About Your Experience At A Local JUG Meeting
- If you’re involved with a local JUG, ask the organizer if you can share your experience with the group.
- If you are the organizer, make some time at your next meeting to talk about it for a few minutes.
- If you’ve never been to a JUG meeting reach out to the closest one and ask if you can speak or share your experience. If it's not close to you, send over some notes or write something for their website and community.
- If there is no JUG in your area, you could start one and share your experience at the first meeting.
- Join A Working Group And Stay Involved
- Create a profile on the Joomla volunteer portal if you don’t have one.
- Get in touch with the community leaders you worked with during the community in action sessions and follow up with them.
- Find other working groups that you like and see if there is anything you can do.
- Get on Glip and stay in touch and stay involved.
It can be helpful to remember that the JWC is only one weekend of our lives. It’s simply a catalyst for us to become more involved with the community. It's what we do after the conference that really matters. The connections you make and the experiences you have at conferences can last a lifetime. It may seem hard at first but your involvement and contributions will add up over time. How involved you get is up to you, but no contribution is too small. We’re all busy volunteers and every bit counts. You never know where it might take you if you stick with it.
I'm a perfect example. At the JWC last year I said with certainty that there was no way I was going to India, and I believed that. I had never traveled much before and it seemed crazy. I stayed in touch with people I met at the JWC and I wound up speaking at Joomla events in 3 US states, got a JET scholarship, went to Europe twice and finally ended up in India for the JWC 2015. It’s been quite a year for me and it all started with people I met at JWC 2014. I know from experience that involvement with the Joomla community can be life changing.
These are just a few tips and experiences that helped me stay involved in the Joomla community. Feel free to come up with your own ways and share them with everyone. Stay jPositive, stay jMotivated, keep contributing and stay in touch. That’s what this is all about.