In her recent write up of DrupalCamp Scotland, Shannon Vettes of Commerce Guys posed the question, “… how can organizers find people and convince them that they should meet up at a camp?” With a disparate and geographically remote community this can be a challenge.
In an ideal world all Scottish based Drupal users would be registered on drupal.org and signed up to the Scottish group. However, in a small, but nonetheless expanding, community this is not the case. Newcomers may have downloaded Drupal but not registered, or they may have registered but not found groups.drupal.org. In these early stages of Drupal engagement, attendance of a camp or local meeting is often needed to ensure newcomers understand the importance of the way the community works. This then enables new users to engage fully with drupal.org resources.
Personal contact, whether business or social, is more prevalent in smaller geographical areas, making it easier to encourage people to attend local meetings.These in turn can be used as the recruiting grounds for attendance to the camps.
With DrupalDrinks having been established in both Edinburgh and Glasgow for several years growing numbers have been introduced to the community. The format of these events has also evolved with formal presentations and discussions taking place as well as informal socialising. Thanks is due to Good Creative and Heehaw Digital who have donated the use of their boardrooms allowing the formal element of DrupalDrinks to flourish. For those interested the Glasgow meetup is organised by Paul Linney and Edinburgh by Bryan Gullan and Joachim Noreiko.
These meetings only cover the central belt of Scotland but thankfully after discussions at DrupalCamp Scotland, John Hume from the University of Dundee and Drupal Scotland’s own Rob Carr are expanding the community north with the inaugral DrupalDrinks Dundee on 21st May. As a good number are already scheduled to attend, Dundee’s DrupalDrinks will hopefully become a permanent feature on the community calendar.
While discussions are ongoing in Inverness, Scotland’s third-biggest city, Aberdeen, is still not represented at this level and if anyone would be interested in filling this gap please contact Drupal Scotland.
Social media and other tech communities
Naturally the promotion of the camps via social media is also important, both at organisational level (@DrupalCampScot, @DrupalScotland) and individually. We also reach out to other tech communities such as TechMeetup, Refresh Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Highland Web Group, and the various LUGs and ask them to promote the camp both at their meetings and on social media.
Unfortunately, geographical remoteness is still an issue, with some unable to attend local meetings.
To convince individuals to attend an understanding of the needs of the community is required. With a small and diverse community this is not always easy, for example, trying to ensure a keynote speaker will appeal to the majority. That said, several factors make the task easier. Firstly we are a growing community with a large number of newcomers at various stages of their Drupal journey. Therefore training sessions are always popular with this section of last years DrupalCamp fully booked. There was unfortunately no training this year but the Glasgow community are running training in September. Other sessions covering the basics and emerging aspects of Drupal are also appealing to this section of the community. Secondly, as there are a smaller number of experienced people they generally provide speakers from within their number,who are similarly experienced, to fulfil their needs.
Is it working?
While there is more that can be done to find the community our numbers are increasing (see graph), with this years camp recording our highest attendance levels to date. If you have any thoughts about improving promotion, interested in running a meet up or organising community training then please get in touch.