So, why am I writing this?
I want to share my experience of Joomla! and its community to new users and to those that are interested to get involved.
So, what's the story?
For the last three years I have “messed” around with Joomla!, created sites, used the Wiki's, downloaded extensions, got help and gave advice in the forums.
I was a pure hobbyist, not part of any development team or group and had my own full time job that gave me plenty of spare time due to having to work abroad in some not particularly safe places, holed up in either a clean room like the Intel men you used to see on TV, or in my hotel room.
I didn't use Twitter or Facebook, had no network of contacts to other developers, just me and Joomla!. At times when you're faced with simple hurdles that you can't seem to work around, it felt lonely. Submitting Noob questions in the Joomla! forums that don't always get answered just compounded this more.
So, what changed?
Last November, I stumbled on what seemed like a new buzz word, well for me anyway, this being CCK. Cool, a way to extend Joomla!'s content, this seemed like an exciting thing to take a look at and soon found Zoo, FlexiContent and K2. After comparing the creators sites, I chose to test K2 quite simply because:
- I did not want to spend money on Zoo, I had no commercial needs
- Flexi had no English manuals at the time
Using K2 changed a lot for me, my whole outlook and involvement with Joomla! and communities, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Wave requests started flooding in.
Through me using K2, blogging on my “live” K2 based site and posting answers to support on the K2 forums, I soon felt part of the K2 community.
By me providing time to help resolve user's issues based on my experiences, pointing them to my reminders and guides, I unexpectedly became an “expert” on K2.
Within just a few months, I was fortunate to be rubbing shoulders, well, Tweets and messages, with leading Joomla! devs, founders, trade experts, my peers who I looked up to. Me, a mere mortal, now had this fascinating bunch of micro communities, template developers, extension developers and other communities too, all with one thing in common, Joomla!
Thanks in part to those that have seen my work, skills and capabilities, they have then supported me, helped me, coached me and have allowed me to be part of the Joomla! Community.
What's my point?
If you are looking to get involved with Joomla!, do it.
There are so many ways you can help directly and indirectly be it beta testing, providing support in the forums or writing documents for Joomla! or getting involved with 3rd party extensions or templates.
All micro communities are self sufficient outside the main Joomla! Community, yet they all support the Joomla! Community cause and its users in their own unique way.
By getting involved, sharing experiences or skills in any of these areas can get you and your abilities recognised. Doing so, it could help you move up a gear and allow you too, to make a career out of website development.
You will create valuable contact links to help share skills and ideas and even collaborate on projects.
You will meet a huge number of passionate, talented, knowledgeable, friendly and in some cases, funny people. Well, you can't have it all.
You will be helping Joomla! and the Joomla! Community to push Joomla! forward, ensuring it stays the number one OS CMS on the market.
If you think you could not help, think again. Start making contacts, start getting involved. Most importantly, enjoy Joomla! and the Joomla! Community.
To find a user group go to community.joomla.org/user-groups.html