In December 2013, I went to the Holiday gathering of the local web developers (fondly named Web Geeks) to see some faces with whom I had not connected extensively since going into baby hibernation. Conversations were had about merriment, depression, organization, past iterations of the group, and where things stood now. I offered to throw in some elbow grease, and I meant it. By January, I was a co-coordinator with Mark Casias and Zerek Welz.
As a web developer local to Albuquerque and one of the few in ExpressionEngine, I had been around former iterations of the group, was aware of its fairly successful history, and could pinpoint exact communications (in my email history) that had been responsible for much of the groups former success. As a coordinator, I began to re-implement these and other programs (flickr groups, twitter hashtags, speakerrate) that could potentially illustrate the reach of the group and attract more speakers and attendees. In short, nearly all of the email communication sent on behalf of the coordinators and much of the social media spideringcomes from me. Additionally, Ive been able to suggest and bring speakers to the roster, a delight all by itself.
Our location was fantastic. We relied heavily on the availability of the Art Bar by Catalyst Club which had (aside from a brimming bar) a relaxed, upscale lounge setup and all AV equipment in place so that our attendees and speakers could relax and participate in a comfortable environment. Now, the Art Bar appears to have borne the punishment of chafing state regulators, so our new location is Tractor on 4th, which has a private setup for a meeting room with beer service - not bad!
Self-identifying web geeks of Albuquerque are a mixed bag of terrific people. We get everything from beginners getting their feet wet to hardcore computer nerds to experts in specific CMSs to JS developers who wont give jQuery the time of day. Designers too, and graphic artists. Typically I am the only ExpressionEngine developer who attends. The doors are open to any of these folks and more, and we try to keep the topics at the intermediate level and varied among many subspecialties to keep presentations engaging to the community as a whole.
Ive really enjoyed getting back out into the Albuquerque web community and being able to work to strengthen and educate our community. Theres more work to do though - were currently operating without a budget and without community partners. Id like to see us be able to give away conference tickets, books, or other vendor items at raffles during our meetings and hold enough water/ be able to pay speakers on a national level - and at the end of all this, offer Web Geeks as an attraction on a national level for geeks from everywhere who may be considering a move to Albuquerque.
Web Geeks meets on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 for an hour-long presentation followed by socializing. Do you have ideas for the Albuquerque Web Geeks group? Leave them in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABQWebGeeks logo by Design5sixty4.