It's been over 3 years since I started a Meetup Group for Drupal Developers in Columbia, SC. The groups started out meeting at Richland County Public Libary (which is a Drupal site btw) and since has moved to the IT-Ology building at the corner of Sumter and Gervais in downtown Columbia.
We have met over 36 times since February 2010 and this past week we had our best turn-out so far with 12 Drupal Website builders attending. We discussed Drupal Commerce as well as responsive themes such as Omega. We had several serious newcomers who wanted a better understanding blocks and views and some other more basic concepts.
I spent some time showing people how to evaluate a Drupal module using the information on the Drupal module's project page and how to find the number of downloads for a particular version of the module.
We've had over 60 people attend these meetings representing dozens of companies, government organizations, non-profits, and educational institutions. There is a continued growth Drupal Development in South Carolina, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.
If you're interested in learning more about Drupal, please attent our Meetups at IT-Ology the 2nd Monday of Every Month. Also, I teach a Drupal 101 & 102 class every few months-- check the IT-Ology Calendar or signup for their newsletter for more information.
'll be teaching a session of "Hello Drupal" for the Open IT Lab at IT-Ology in Columbia, next Saturday, March 17, 2012, 9:30 - noon. If you've never been to IT-Ology, you should definitely check it out. It is a state of the art high tech training facility.
Below is the content of the flyer that's being used to promote the session:
Considering a career in web development? This workshop will introduce the open
source Drupal content management system and framework, in use by about 2% of
the world's websites, including whitehouse.gov, economist.com, and
dev.twitter.com. SC Drupal User Group Leader Tom Sliker will lead this hands-on
workshop to get you going with Drupal. Drupal has both a point and click interface
to allow tech-savvy people to put together websites with no programming
experience; and it also has an API and framework for programmers to develop
unique applications. And it's all free--it's open source.
WHAT ATTENDEES WILL LEARN
Explain how a typical site is built in Drupal, and explain the page-model in Drupal.
Use Drupal specific terminology such as !elds, views, node, block, page. Determine
what skills you need to develop to reach your goals. Know where to go to !nd
Update, 10/11/2011: Facebook has postponed the beta version of timeline afterTimeline.comfiled a lawsuit. Timeline is currently only available to those who have Facebook’s Developer application installed.
I've been playing around with the Facebook changes recently announced at f8 in San Francisco and freaking most of the public out soon thereafter. The real-time ticker and subscribe button makes sharing quicker and easier. The popular stories and recent stories seem to be confusing.
The feature that's really caught my eye is the timeline. The timeline rolls out to the public around October 6. To sample it ahead of time, you can access it through the developer apps. For personal users, the attraction of the timeline is obvious: it's attractive, artistic, much like a scrapbooking page layout. The timeline is fun – with one click you can go back to any year, any month and see status updates, photos and important events. It was described by Nir Refuah, vice president of McCann Digital in Israel, as “a digital autobiography.” Refuah said, “First Facebook became the digital ID of everyone, and now it will try to gather our whole life story,”
For brands, the attraction is more subtle. I had trouble at first understanding why a brand would like the new timeline, then the content developer in me kicked in. The timeline's all about story – history -- content. Acquiring as many 'likes” as you can is no longer a driving force. For content-driven non-competitive people like me, that is great news. Awesome content is what will get you in the stream. The popularity contest is no longer about star power, it's about authenticity and the human component of your business. Campaigning for the most “likes” won't do much for you.
To sum up what I've learned so far, the timeline benefits for your business include:
The cover. The cover is a big photo across the top of your page. It is prime real estate and very easy to change. This will be great for promotions and product roll-outs.
The Information blurb. Currently, a viewer has to dig deep to find a company's information tab. When found, it is surprisingly limited, weak and bland. The new timeline will feature the information right under the cover, above the fold, in an easy-to-read format, easy to click through to more info.
Infographic format. The new timeline format will propel brands to focus more on engagement and back story rather than getting more likes. Getting more comments and likes becomes less valuable than sharing authentic content. I believe the mom and pop shops that I serve will benefit more from this than the big corporations. Mom and Pop have real stories involving real people. Mom and Pop shops have a back story and biography that is generally more personable than the giant conglomerates. Admittedly, I'm a little biased on that.
The timeline rolls out soon for personal facebook pages. I'm not sure when it rolls out for brands and business pages.
Just when I was starting to flirt with Google+, Facebook has gotten back in the game and lured me back. Imagine that.
I'm a little late sharing this but I just wanted to take moment to mention the very successful Bar Camp Charleston (www.BarCampChS.org).
There were dozens of interesting sessions covering everything from Linux to Web Design to Salsa dancing. There were 3 Drupal sessions. The first was 'Intro to Drupal' which was given by Nikolai Burton. Nikolai runs Charleston Drupal Users Group (http://chsdug.org/) and also presented a session called "A Whirlwind World Tour of Film." Nikolai was asked to do this session att the last minute and he filled in admirably. He presented to a packed classroom of more than forty people and it was a valuable session.
My second Drupal session was at 5 pm when most of us were approaching a brain-dead state after a full day of information consumption. The Topic for this session was 'Drupal Next Steps - an Introduction to Drush & Performance Tuning'. By this time the Drupal crowd had thinned considerably. It didn't help that the time slot put me in competition with he very popular 'How to Make Your Own Beer' session. All in all, it was a very productive day and I want to express congratulations and thanks to the team that made it happen.
I found out today that the myrcpl.com site is built with Drupal. Also found out that an old friend and co-worker from Syneractive (Scottie) helps to manage the site. It's a great looking site and very well done.
I love the Richland County Libary (or as Poof would say, the lye-berry), and I love them even more now. Next time you're in the library, tell them you love their Drupal site!