Patchwrangler

John Jacobs shares a few leads

Drupal 7 news

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The new version of Drupal is getting close to release. I am exited about this because the social media site I’m working on – Pool is using Drupal 5. This was the best version a few years ago when the  Pool project began development but since then the Drupal community has been hard at work improving it’s code base. Their latest stable release is 6.14.

When Pool first started planning Pool V2.0 we were anticipating to go to Drupal 6. One good thing about our slow process of redesign :~) is that D 7 is now getting close to release and we may actually be able to jump straight in to it! This will bring lots of enhancements and enable us to deliver an even better open media platform to the Pool community.

If you’re interested to find out what the future holds for Drupal and enjoy listening to friendly open source nerds chatting, dip into this podcast http://www.lullabot.com/audiocast/podcast-79-drupal-7

It’s great to hear Angie Byron A.K.A. webchick, one of the D7 lead developers talking about her work on the project and some of the features to look forward to.

Some of my favourites are:

  • Streamlined uploads
  • Meta taxonomies
  • Better geotagging capability
  • Reduced reliance on theming for functionality
  • Automated testing framework
  • Admin. dashboard
  • Elimination of user vs. node tensions

If you have read this far then you might also be interested in the User Experience project that has made a significant contribution to the D7 release. http://www.d7ux.org/

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Filed under: Media, , , ,

The Art of Community – a review

9780596156718_catI have mentioned the Art of Community book here before but have now read the first two chapters and am getting a lot out of it.

I recommend it to your attention if you are a social media worker or in some ways in the role of a community manager.
It initially suffers a bit from a lack of sub editorial tightness – starting off with a few too many geeky rambling stories as examples for my impatient taste – perhaps an artefact of a freely downloadable book project.

But do stick with it because once Jono Bacon gets down to the business of sharing his years of free software CM skills from the KDE and Ubuntu communities his programmer’s mindset comes to the fore and a nice set of dot pointed tips and steps emerges as a good structured framework for community building.

Read about the book here: http://www.artofcommunityonline.org/about/

Download it here: http://www.artofcommunityonline.org/downloads/jonobacon-theartofcommunity-1ed.pdf

Quote from the project site:

Every software project, online site, or company has to manage the community of interested people surrounding it. The community is the source of new ideas, a reliable support network, and the best marketing tool. When money is tight, making the best use of the community is even more critical.
Author Jono Bacon has been building and managing communities for a decade, particularly in areas of open source software such as KDE and Ubuntu. He currently is Community Manager for Ubuntu, probably the largest community in the open-source software area. His experience and his relationships with other communities and leaders provide a rich and deep well of expertise for this book.
In The Art of Community you’ll experience the broad range of talents required to recruit members, motivate them, manage them, and make them happy to be part of your community. Bacon takes you through the different stages of community and covers the information you’ll need, ranging from software tools to conflict resolution skills. Topics include:
• Sustainable processes for management – how to create day to day processes that are simple, effective and always representative of your community and its members.
• Tools and infrastructure – give your community simple and friction-free tools that they need to do their work, complete with effective communication channels.
• Building buzz – think outside the box and excite and enthuse potential community members to join your crusade, build capacity and keep the train running.
• Measuring aspects of community success – understand, assess and measure your community, discover what can be measured and how to react to the results.
• Conflict management – manage strong personalities that clash, and untangle contentious situations in the open and transparent manner that your community expects.
• Handling live events – organize and schedule productive, fun and engaging live events that get things done and re-affirm social bonds between your community members.
• Scaling the community – as your community grows, things change and adjust to the size, scale and throughput of your membership: handle these changes with as little disruption as possible.
The Art Of Community underlines and illustrates this large body of knowledge with a compendium of stories, anecdotes and tales that bring the concepts to life. Bacon’s amusing and witty writing style makes the Art Of Community a fun read that is sure to help you build strong, effective and engaging communities.

Filed under: Media, , ,

The art of persuasive writing – a book review/summary

I have lots of really great ideas. If only people would put them into practice the worlds problems would be solved.
Sadly this has yet to happen. So what’s missing? Hmm, perhaps if I could write more persuasively….

Enter Lindsay J Camp and the distillation of his 25 years as a copy writer, “Can I change your mind: The art of persuasive writing”
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I swallowed this very digestible book almost whole in one sitting. It is both amusing and nutritious.

What really resonated with me being a User Experience guy is his key point – Always think of your reader first.

That, like the rest of the book, is deceptively simple but very potent. You’re probably time poor like me so here’s a summary of the tips for writers that caught my eye.

  • Always think of the reader first. (Never waste their time or speak down to them)
  • Address an individual.
  • Have a goal.
  • Have a clear message.
  • Summarise in an introduction.
  • Speak as you write.
  • Vary sentence length.
  • End sentences on the down beat.
  • Use rhetorical questions, they stand in for the voice of the reader.
  • Don’t worry overly about punctuation.
  • Use the simplest word that still conveys the meaning and satisfies the reader.
  • End with a clear call to action

Extra strategies worth trying

  • Key phrases in bold or in pull-out boxes.
  • Use a PS to sum up and make it visually findable, as readers often skip to the end to see if it is worth reading through.

You can read a few excerpts here http://www.canichangeyourmind.co.uk/

Filed under: Media

Social Media: The Five-Year Forecast

Social media has only just taken off says media analyst Jeremiah Owyang — and his Future of the Social Web report says social networks and marketers will have to change their strategies. He projects forwards five years and comes up some pretty radical points. He is mainly writing from a marketing perspective but this can be transposed to a creative industries focus. Three points that peaked my interest are;

  • Sites themselves will become less relevant as brands deliver content based on social network identities instead of requiring consumers to surf and search.
  • Social networks will no longer be destinations as much as they will be “aggregations” of communities unattached to individual sites.
  • The successful brands, Owyang says, will be the ones that “let the most popular content spread to the community and the customer[s] where they exist.” 

The executive summary of Jeremiah Owyang’s report can be found here.

I first saw this report mentioned on a Customer Relations Management website here

Filed under: Media, , , ,

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