[nSLUG] Encouraging participation and reaching out into the community

Ben Armstrong synergism at gmail.com
Tue Jul 16 07:49:18 ADT 2013

I think we need a bit of perspective on what Mike has done by setting up
a twitter account for the group:

This group has always encouraged its members to exercise their freedom
to take initiative and make their own contributions in whatever way they
see fit. And by times that initiative has taken shape in "reaching out"
kinds of activity (remember the installfests?) So, nothing new here.
Also, keep in mind that we did meet and discuss already about Mike's
technical talks idea, so this is really just a means to an end: to carry
that off successfully, he needed some means to a) solicit help and b)
get the word out. Arguably, the former could be done entirely on the
mailing list, but we'd potentially miss out on help from the very same
new people Mike hopes we can reach through this event. As for the
latter, in this modern age of social media, I think it's shortsighted of
us if we ignore this powerful platform for reaching people.

On 15/07/13 11:52 PM, Michael Gillie wrote:
> Let some of the younger generation expand the currently limited
> horizon of the NSLUG mailing list. Note that i say expand, not
> replace.

That's the crux of the matter. Whatever distaste some members may
express about social media, it is not a threat to what we have going
here on the mailing list. All substantial conversation will still happen
on the list. The social media channels are just convenient ways of
reaching out and getting information to people who might not otherwise
see it.

> If it will upset some key members like Jack and Frank, maybe the
> best thing to do is not involve twitter at all....

And then you go and contradict yourself, Michael. Don't do that. :)

First of all, although I'm sure they appreciate the flattery of being
called "key" members, aren't we all "key" members, all of us who spend
any time at all participating? We're all peers with an equal voice in
how we run the group and equal opportunity to jump in and get things
started. Second, I didn't see anyone get truly upset over this. I don't
think it's a big enough issue to warrant any drastic action.

We've heard from some who won't be participating. No problem.
Participation is not mandatory. Objectors can opt out. We've also heard
from those same people that they prefer conversations be "kept on the
mailing list". No problem there, either.

Maybe those opting out just need a bit of an idea exactly what this is
for? Then you can, I hope, reevaluate the value to the group.  Here is
what Mike has posted so far (most recent first, as is usual with twitter):

NS Linux Users Group ‏@NSLUG 20h
Anyone want to volunteer to make us some posters to advertise our next
meeting, and/or flyers to advertise NSLUG? #Halifax

NS Linux Users Group ‏@NSLUG 14 Jul
@mosaichfx: NSLUG is having an evening of technical talks Aug 12 at
5:30pm. Would folks from your group want to join us? Give a talk?

NS Linux Users Group ‏@NSLUG 12 Jul
Want to help, but not interested in speaking at our next meeting? We
still need people to make posters etc. Tweet to @mikedoherty_ca

NS Linux Users Group ‏@NSLUG 12 Jul
Want to show off your cool open-source side-project? Tweet us your pitch
and you could be our next speaker on Aug 12. #Halifax #linux

NS Linux Users Group ‏@NSLUG 11 Jul
We're putting on an evening of technical talks Monday August 12, 5:30pm
at @dalfcs. More info: http://nslug.ns.ca/mailman/listinfo/nslug …
#linux #Halifax

Now, there's nothing particularly new here. Mike already mentioned the
planned technical talks on the list and solicited help there. Except for
a few mundane details of getting the event organized (re. posters,
flyers) Mike's post substantially covered all of the above.

I'll stress again: this is outreach. Each of those hash-tags above
(#linux, #Halifax, etc.) will ensure those tweets get seen by people who
search for them, and each time some other twitter account is mentioned
(@mosaicfs, @dalfcs) the messages reach not only the owners of those
accounts, but also people following them.

To sum up: I saw some mild objections in this thread to twitter, and I
feel I've addressed them above. The account is out there now and Mike is
actively posting to it. I think it is a net positive for the group. Now,
my opinion should carry no more weight than any other's here, but I
don't see anything happening here that's going to harm the community
we've established on the list, and see nothing but the positives on the
other side of the argument: Mike's initiative is rewarded, more people
learn about our little group and join in, and we all learn to get along
a bit better.

If, after all this, there are those who strongly feel the new twitter
account is bad for the group, please make your case for it. But I think
at this point, we would need to hear a pretty compelling reason to take
any action against it, so make your point well.


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