DrupalCon Los Angeles group photo

Consultant Hobbies: Being Social

Hi Internets. 

This year marked my third consecutive trip to DrupalCon as both a developer and a volunteer social media-er (the millennial in me wants to say “Social Storyteller”). DrupalCon is a global conference that boasts several thousand attendees and highly educational, opinion-stirring sessions and BOFs. Thankfully, I work for some great organizations that have allowed me to balance my full-time duties (learning all the things) with volunteerism.

My role for DrupalCon is managing the North American social media channels. That means every single time you tweet @DrupalConNA, Facebook message the DrupalCon page, or even add a lil' #drupalcon hashtag on Instagram I am looking at you. Right at you.

Social media is a thing. A real thing. And it has a significant impact for the 3,000+ attendee conference. Tangible things that come to mind: disseminating information, answering questions in real-time, gauging community input and response to conference posts, and providing a medium for interactivity between the conference staff and attendees. At a high-level, these interactions are the pieces that I get to connect with participants on. 

But, Alex, how do you manage all the social things and learn like your boss told you to do? 

Great question, Internets. Great question.

The first answer is that I am not alone. There is an incredible team of people at the Drupal Association including Paul Johnson all of whom work to answer your questions, assist in writing copy and posts, and share in the beauty of cat gifs.

Second is Hootsuite or as I like to refer to it inside my mind, “the little miracle”. There is a variety of different products out there (Buffer, Tweetdeck, et al.) that provide some mechanism for looking at chains of content (either @ mentions, specific hashtags) and scheduling content. These are life savers. During the actual conference, I make sure to schedule important posts in advance so that any key information will be distributed to attendees at appropriate times. This leaves me space for intended learning and gives me the benefit of sharing pictures or forwarding tweets/posts that display the organic atmosphere that makes up DrupalCon and the Drupal community. 

I am thankful for the opportunity to connect with the community and appreciate that DrupalCon has taken me to some incredible places and spaces — looking at you Austin and Los Angeles — and taught me so many things (look for a future blog post on business-y things and Drupal 8). I am looking forward to New Orleans 2016 in the Big Easy and watching from afar at Barcelona and Mumbai!

Photo credit: Michael Schmid

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