Your presentation is a Netflix series

Your presentation is an event, just like a Netflix series premiere. Build some hype leading up to your presentation, get the anticipation and interest going. Give your audience something to participate in during the presentation. Then keep the conversation and activity going afterwards.”

More than a presentation (WordCamp Miami 2020)

I contributed a guest post to WordCamp Miami 2020. It’s part of a series for new WordCamp and WordPress meetup speakers.

Rather than focusing on the talk itself, I offered some suggestions for how speakers can make their presentation part of a larger conversation or initiative.

+ Check out this follow-up post from David Bisset, a compilation of tips and reminders for new speakers.

++ WordCamp Miami is always a blast. The next one is on February 28th. Early bird tickets are on sale until December 31st. Crossing my fingers I’ll be able to make it down again…!

The uneven playing field of Open Source

“In Open Source, there is a long-held belief in meritocracy, or the idea that the best work rises to the top, regardless of who contributes it. The problem is that a meritocracy assumes an equal distribution of time for everyone in a community.”

The privilege of free time in Open Source (Dries Buytaert)

Great piece from Drupal founder Dries Buytaert.

The playing field isn’t even. Saying that “everyone is welcome to participate” and not acknowledging — or adjusting — for additional factors means everyone isn’t welcome to participate. It isn’t enough.

Take monthly meetups, for example. Always meeting at the same time is great for establishing a routine, e.g. the third Thursday of every month. But then you exclude everyone who works on Thursday nights.

Or what about the location? Maybe it’s somewhere that’s hard to reach by public transit, or inaccessible to wheelchairs. You’re excluding people who can’t make it to the venue, or who can’t even enter it.

As for the counterpoint of “well we can’t please everyone”? That’s true! But you can provide more options. Moving the date around. Trying different venues. Giving folks a way to join remotely.

And as it goes for meetups, so it can go for open source projects. Give people options to participate, and then make it easy for them to discover and learn how to participate.

As Dries puts it:

“While it’s impossible to fix decades of gender and racial inequality with any single action, we must do better. Those in a position to help have an obligation to improve the lives of others. We should not only invite underrepresented groups into our Open Source communities, but make sure that they are welcomed, supported and empowered.”

A new golden age of housing

“Co-ops often have units large enough for families, provide a stable place to live, and usually have below-market housing charges. (Some residents of Ontario co-ops pay even lower rents if they qualify for subsidized units.) After all, there’s no landlord trying to turn a profit.”

Ontario may be headed for a new golden age of housing co-ops (TVO)

Ontario went through a boom of co-op housing in the mid-20th century. Then it all fell apart in the 90’s with government cutbacks. I think we’re due for a resurgence, given the ongoing housing crisis.

+ Co-ops have piqued my interest lately. Housing co-ops are top of mind, but so are co-op organizations in general. From the Ontario Co-Operative Association:

“A co-operative is a legally incorporated organization that is owned by its members, who use the co-operative’s services or purchase their products. They can and do provide virtually every product or service, and can be either for-profit or non-profit enterprises.”

What is a Co-operative? (OCA)

A co-op feels like the logical legal entity to form around a community-centric, for-profit (or not-for-profit) organization, be it for housing or business.

Subscriptions might save local news

Most local newspapers are simply not worth saving, not because local news isn’t valuable, but rather because everything else in your typical local newspaper is worthless (from a business perspective). That is why I was careful in my wording: subscriptions will not save newspapers, but they just might save local news, and the sooner that distinction is made the better.

A sustainable local news publication will be fundamentally different: a minimal rundown of the news of the day, with a small number of in-depth articles a week featuring real in-depth reporting, with the occasional feature or investigative report. After all, it’s not like it is hard to find content to read on the Internet: what people will pay for is quality content about things they care about (and the fact that people care about their cities will be these publications’ greatest advantage).”

The Local News Business Model (Stratechery)

I’m bullish on local news. It’s just taking a while for the next generation of local news properties to pop up. Thanks to projects like Newspack, Substack, and others, I think we’re going to get there soon. Hopefully.

Facebook isn’t a community

There’s no such thing as a 2.2BN+ “community” — as the company prefers to refer to its globe-spanning user-base. So quite how the massive diversity of Facebook users can be meaningfully represented by the views of a last resort case review body with as few as 11 members has not yet been made clear.”

Meet Facebook’s latest fake (TechCrunch)

Facebook talks about community but they outsource moderation. In turn, there’s no room for nuance or subjectivity in their content policies, but that’s exactly how a community governs itself.

Facebook — sorry, FACEBOOK — isn’t a community. It’s a database marketing platform. It’s a behemoth repository of personal information with a handful of apps running on top of it to gather more information for the database.

Are FB’s apps useful? Absolutely. But the app users aren’t customers and they sure aren’t a community. FACEBOOK’s advertisers are their customers and, arguably, more of a “community” than the users.

FriendDA

WHEREAS I possess a bright idea that I am choosing to disclose to you, The Advisor, with the mutual understanding that you are my friend and that you will not screw me.

Termination of this FriendDA can be executed by either party, but don’t be a douche.”

FriendDA

Hat tip to my colleague Chris Carfi for sharing something that came with the FriendDA attached. First I’ve heard of it. And I love it.

Digital literacy across generations

” Technology is changing faster each year. Digital literacy can vary between ages but there are lots of ways different generations can work together and empower each as digital citizens.”

Empowering Generations of Digital Natives (WordPress.org)

Last week was Digital Citizenship Week and I had absolutely no idea that this was even a thing. (Oops.)

There were a few good posts published last week from Yvette Sonneveld, the marketing team rep for Make WordPress. They cover an intersection of WordPress and digital citizenship and are worth skimming, at the very least:

We’re putting some of this advice into practice through our local WP Durham meetups. I also touched on some of it in my talk at WordCamp Niagara last week.

These community events — meetups, WordCamps, unconferences (sup PodCamp Toronto?) — are all facets of digital citizenship. They take the online offline, offering in-person experiences to complement what we do on the web.