What do the following have in common?
- Foster Care
- Charter Schools
I've been involved with all four - and they all require members of the community to be Of Service. Without those, who are willing to take time to to benefit a greater good, a community collapses.
I learned about service from a very young age. I became a chorister in St. Matthew's Church when I was 6 or 7 years old. This church choir is an amazing place, producing some of the finest choral musicians of my generation. I had the good fortune of rubbing shoulders with the likes of Gerald Finley, Matthew White, and Daniel Taylor. As a chorister there, I spent every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons practicing with the other boys. Friday evenings were devoted to full practice with the entire men and boys sections. Then the choir would sing two services on Sundays - one in the morning and one in the evening. The excellence would not have emerged, without those willing to sacrifice personal time to a greater good.
As an adult, I continued this legacy of service by engaging the Foster Care System. The Foster Care System tries to protect/support/save the most vulnerable members of our society. The stories you hear are heartbreaking. This ultimately led to the building of Trauma Adoption, a site devoted to supporting Foster Parents and Adoptive Parents of children who have suffered trauma at a young age. Children would remain parentless, without support, aging out at 18 without those willing to sacrifice personal time to a greater good.
Charter Schools are an interesting entity. They are part of the public school system, but are often instantiated by parents who feel the overall public school system has not served the needs of their children adequately. The formation requires a "charter" which outlines accountability that the school must adhere to in exchange for the partial autonomy it receives from the the system. Charter Schools have governance from a Board of Directors who look at high level issues like HR when they are escalated, the budget, and school adherence to policies. I've been on the Parent Teacher Association Board at one school. I was recently elected to the Crown Pointe Academy Board of Directors. These are volunteer Boards. The school would cease to function properly without proper governance without those willing to sacrifice personal time to a greater good.
How does this relate to Drupal? Understanding the idea that Drupal is a community of Developers, Strategiests, Business People, Project Managers, and so much more is the beginning point. Many of these people are giving of their own time in benefit to the overall community. There is an altruistic element to contributing/sharing/helping - but there are also lots of profoundly good personal reasons to:
At the end of May 2012 I announced that I had just had my last day with Examiner.com and that I was looking for new work.
The graph to the left is from Klout, a site that looks at your overall activity and the activity around you in social networks and assigns you a score.
Klout writes about itself:
Klout measures influence online
Our friendships and professional connections have moved online, making influence measurable for the first time in history. When you recommend, share, and create content you impact others. Your Klout Score measures that influence on a scale of 1 to 100.
The Standard for Influence
When we're measuring your influence there's no room for error. We have a killer team of scientists and engineers working everyday to ensure continued accuracy and make the Score clear and actionable. We hold ourselves to a high standard and we hope you will too.
The blue arrow points to the moment in time when I made my announcement. Two days later I had finished a blog post and posted that. That stratospheric increase over about 24 hours represented reaction to two messages that I sent out on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
What occurred was pretty phenomenal. Members of the Drupal community grabbed ahold of the messaging and began to distribute it across their networks, effectively amplifying the message exponentially. Within a few hours, I started getting leads to new jobs. I had a first informal interview within a few hours of my first social message.
On June 2nd, I finished up a post that did a brief retrospective of my time at Examiner.com but also talked about my upcoming job search. I used Bit.ly on links that I passed out and included on the post. Bit.ly allows you to track click throughs and the like on URLs that you shorten using the service.
Bitly says this about themselves:
bitly is the easiest and most fun way to save, share and discover links from around the web. We call these links bitmarks, and you can use bitly to remember, curate and share them.
bitly is available via our website, browser extensions, mobile web, and numerous third-party tools integrated with our open public API. bitly also powers more than 10,000 custom short URLs and offers an enterprise analytics platform that helps web publishers and brands grow their social media traffic.
This graph shows analytics for the shortened URL I distributed.
While bitly isn't a perfect tool - others can come to posts from other locations - it does give you a sense of click through traffic and URL sharing with the particular shortened URL you've created.
I found it interesting that the number one referral of this shortened URL was Email Clients, Instant Messaging, AIR Apps, and Direct Sharing of the URL. People saw the URL, presumably with context from an email share or in skype or IRC and so forth and *chose* to click through to the post from there.
Twitter then came in second as a source for folks finding the post. There was recirculation from my site itself - the shortened URL was at the top and bottom of the post encouraging others to share it. Then came in facebook, and then Drupal.org itself.
Looking at Google Analytics, there was an interesting flip in in order of referral traffic - Google saw the following order:
- (direct) / (none)
- drupal.org / referral
- google / organic
- t.co / referral 113
- dogstar.org / referral
- google.com / referral
- facebook.com / referral
So, what's the point to all of this and how does it relate to Service and Community? I don't believe that without serving the community and thus creating the relationships/network I've developed over the last five and half years, ANY of this would have been possible. People know that I care about our ecosystem, because I spend the time giving to our ecosystem. Such an outpouring of help from such an amazing community wouldn't have have happened. Because I care, you care. I am humbled and gratified that so many of you wanted to help me out.
My take away?
Thanks for making me the goal this time round. I promise to remain of service to the community.