Web and tech is at this really exciting intersect. About six or so years ago there was still resistance from not for profits in why they needed a web presence in the first place; often a site build was triggered by a CEO retiring.
Now most comms people I work with have impressive technical ability, be it image management, content management, css or basic html. We are no longer teaching a foreign concept to people that know nothing, we are assisting a leap off an already established launch pad.
I look at organisations websites and think “yep, it’s pretty, that’s nice; but you could do so much more”. At the moment web is still focused on the lobby of an organisation, the welcome mat, open the door this is us, this is our logo, this is what we do in a nutshell. The web and people using it are busting to push past the front into the back room where the real change happens.
I stick with Drupal because it is the content management system that is going to provide organisations with the flexibility to bust open the doors to the inside of their organisation.
Getting past the lobby and into an organisations engine room. I want to know more about what organisations do and the change they facilitate, I want to be inspired and connect, and I want to see organisations evolve how they collaborate and leverage the online world. I want to know how they can open their doors to show me how to create a better world, be more knowledgeable, and improve my world.
This doesn’t happen until the divide between technical and non-technical is smashed. Non-techs don’t need to become highly technical or coders, they just need a foot in the door, to see what is possible and what it could look like, and to learn some of the language.
We need non-techs to know what to ask for, to know what a system is capable of and, to know what they need to do to make new development as easy to implement as possible. We need this because non-techs have the insight and relationship with their subjects and community. How many great ideas have never eventuated because someone didn’t know what to ask for; how many projects never reached potential because the wrong software or platform was chosen.
If technologists can’t create environments that are inclusive for people that love technology, they have little chance of getting it right for non-techs. Don’t underestimate how tough community building is, people think it’s natural and intrinsic, but it’s not. Our communities are increasingly becoming degraded and disconnected. There is a strong desire to rebuild and restore, but unless you can show people how and enable them with a map and tools, it’s tough.
I’m a community optimist. I see how communities and people change through engagement. The time is right to make bold steps into this area, the world is ready for positivity and it’s looking for ways to regenerate. But then I’m a community optimist, so I’m biased.