Drupal 8

Getting started with Drupal

Last week I attended the Nonprofit Technology Conference for the first time since 2011. I was very impressed with the organization and the the content of the conference, it was great to see how the community has evolved over the years.

Along with Tim Nafziger, I co-facilitated a discussion session for members of the NTEN/Nonprofit Drupal community. We had an excellent group with a wide range of people participating, from newbies to agency owners. Our two main topics were how to get started learning to use Drupal, and what the future of Drupal holds. The latter topic is hard to summarize, but suffice to say there are still a wide range of opinions about Drupal 8. Even more than 2 years after it’s release, there are still 4 times as many sites using Drupal 7 as Drupal 8.

As for learning Drupal, we had many great suggestions. One person shared this cartoon illustrating that rather than the typical “learning curve,” figuring Drupal out is more like climbing a cliff. But when you get to the top you can really kick butt.

The Drupal Learning Cliff


So, here are our suggestions for scaling that cliff!

How to think like a network… on fire

As I mentioned last month, I gave a 5-minute Ignite talk called “”How to think like a network (a.k.a. Five aspects of effective networks in five minutes)” at the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference. It’s the latest version of my ongoing rant/spiel about network-centric advocacy. Below is a video of my talk with the actual slides underneath so that you can follow along at home. Think you can keep up?

(Apologies for how Slideshare mangles the design of the slides!)

Building “buzz” for your cause

WeAreMediaToday I’m thrilled to be at the annual conference for North Carolina nonprofits. This used to be a regular hangout for me, but in the last decade my work has shifted to more national organizations and I haven’t had the time or funding to attend it in many years. Nice to see all the new and old faces here.

The reason I’m here is that I was invited to be a co-presenter of NTEN’s We Are Media workshop. This all-day workshop is based on the fantastic curriculm developed by the NPtech community with Beth Kanter’s leadership a few years ago. For my breakout session on “Building Buzz” I’ve combined NTEN’s materials on the subject with my own network-centric approach. You can see the results in my presentation…

Five aspects of effective networks

I’ve been doing a few presentations lately that include the basics of network-centric organizing, so I thought it would be helpful to post a refresher here. With props, as always, to Marty Kearns from whom I learned a lot of this.

Update 6/25/10: Here’s the latest version of my presentation on network-centric thinking: https://lotusmedia.org/how-to-keep-thinking-like-a-network

Update 5/22/08: Now you can watch the presentation, which makes very little sense without me talking.

Five aspects of effective networks

  1. Strong social ties
    • Personal relationships
    • Trust
    • Awareness
  2. Dense communication grid
    • Online & offline
    • One-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many
    • For example
      • Blogs, forums
      • E-mail, IM, SMS
      • Face-to-face
  3. Common story
    • Shared values
    • Collective narrative
  4. Culture of sharing
    • For example
      • Data, information
      • Skills & expertise
      • Money
      • Space
  5. Network awareness
    • Feeling like a member
    • Knowing what the network is for

Here are some more resources to learn more about network-centric organizing strategies:

  • Earlier presentations on this topic: https://lotusmedia.org/advocacy-20-the-slideshow (slides) & https://lotusmedia.org/ruby-goes-to-class (video) &
    https://lotusmedia.org/civic-engagement-and-technology (with helpful links)
  • Blogging tips: https://lotusmedia.org/so-you-wanna-start-an-advocacy-blog
  • Network-centric approach to politics: https://lotusmedia.org/the-political-cluetrain
  • Background reading: https://lotusmedia.org/network-centric-reading-list
  • Marty Kearns’ widsom: http://advocacy20.org & http://netcentriccampaigns.org

… and more in my “Advocacy 2.0” category on this blog: https://lotusmedia.org/in/nptech/advocacy/

Welcome to the Lower Ninth Ward

Last week, Brian and I had the immense pleasure of being given a post-Katrina tour with Quintus Jett, a professor at Dartmouth. He is the Director of the Gentilly Project, an effort to use open source principles to map the state of storm-damaged New Orleans neighborhoods. At their web site you can use dynamic GIS maps to zoom in on the condition of each lot (ie: vacant, being renovated, occupied, etc.), and zoom out to see the block-by-clock process of rebuilding.

I was so grateful for a chance to see the community personally. As you may know, there are still spray-painted symbols on many homes left by the rescue efforts. The biggest shock was that much of the Lower 9th Ward, which used to be hundreds of homes, is now a grassy field with just a few cement blocks and slabs marking former foundations.

You can browse my pictures at Flickr or watch the slideshow below.

NTC on Twitter

I tweeted at the Nonprofit Technology Conference last year, but not many people were even aware of Twitter then. This year, way more folks are tweeting. We are having great conversations. Plus you can follow the #08ntc hashtag and see it collected even if you don’t follow each person who is tweeting the conference.

Kudos to Holly Ross and the NTEN posse for the best NTC yet! (Of course, I still have a few suggestions… 😉 )

Big NPtech news

Seven months ago, I lamented about Convio buying GetActive, now Convio’s going public. I call this more bad news for nonprofits.

However, our day is also brightened by the news that the lovely and (extremely) talented Holly Ross is taking the helm at NTEN. She has ably and patiently run their Nonprofit Technology Conferences for many years and is a great choice to continue to lead NTEN. Congrats, Holly.

It must be noted that I bitched about the fact that the last time they hired a new ED (14 months ago) I only got an e-mail from NTEN and had no blog entry to link to. This time, that is certainly not the case. Well done, all.

Also, good luck to my friend and outgoing ED Katrin Verclas, who will surely find success in whatever she does. I hope it’s kicking butt with MobileActive.

Mind the gap, part 1

This is the first part of a rant I have been mulling over for about 3 years now. I want to get it up before the end of the event, so I will save my proposal for a second post. Cross-posted at http://www.netsquared.org/blog/rubyji/mind-gap-part-1

Advanced nonprofit technology practitioners need a place to connect and learn from each other. Who will fill this gap?

For years this was the collective whine from the hundreds of NTAPs who attend the Nonprofit Technology Conference to help other colleagues in the sector. When NetSquared was announced in 2005, I was excited to hear they would be bringing together the best minds from the nonprofit world with the leading technologists. Would this be the long-awaited venue for advanced “NPTECH” conversation?

In 2006, I attended NetSquared and it was one of the most useful and impactful conferences I had been to in years. (See my blog post here.) I eagerly signed up to come and participate again this year.

As you know if you are reading this, N2Y2 has a different goal, which is to connect innovative projects with the funding they need to succeed. I question whether $25,000 is enough to really make much impact, but I appreciate that this is a good goal. But it’s one that I don’t have any personal investment in, and it leaves the need for interaction largely unmet.

Tune in for Part Two: Eating our own dogfood, and meeting our own needs. To be posted here and at http://www.netsquared.org/blog/rubyji

Friends for peace

The American Friends Service Committee (awesome Quakers) have this great campaign right now where people take pictures of themselves making a statement of their constituency for peace.

Here’s a picture they took of me at the Nonprofit Technology Conference:

blogger for peace

And here’s one that Brian added to the collection:
computer design geek for peace

You can browse them all at http://friendsforpeace.org/browse or http://flickr.com/photos/friendsforpeace. Unrelated – they also just sent me a big Friends for Peace sign in the mail and I also saw one on a car in Carrboro yesterday!

It’s NPTech time!

NTC logo I’m getting ready to head to DC for the 2007 Nonprofit Technology Conference for the rest of this week.  For many of us, this conference is a like an annual reunion of a wonderful group of socially-conscious geeks.  We were there for each other back when the rest of the nonprofit sector thought we were crazy… and look – we're all grown up (and in demand) now! 😉

On Thursday I'll be leading a discussion on "The Future of Online Outreach" along with Carnet Williams, who has been at this even longer than I have.  On Friday I will participate in panels about "The Community Driven Nonprofit: Web 2.0 Applied" and "User-centric web publishing: Using RSS, tags, and microformats to give your stakeholders the content they want."  Somewhere in there is also a meeting at the office, lunch with clients, catching up with old coworkers, and a half a dozen parties around DC!

Let me know if you will be there as well.  I'll be watching the backchannel, especially Twittter.