In early February, the Albuquerque WordPress Meetup group (WPABQ) organized a hackathon at a local coworking space called TechLove to create some websites for local non-profits. In the past, WPABQ hackathons have included Sky Garden (now Flow), Fairfield Farms, Cathryn McGill (performing artist). This time WPABQ worked with ABQ Zine Fest, Nano Network of New Mexico, and Querencia Green.
Typically our groups work on self-hosted sites, but, Querencia Green, had an existing WordPress.com site, so we challenged the team to use WordPress.com instead of exporting to self-hosted. The Querencia team members took the challenge as you can see on their site. Even though I love all the projects, I admit I have a special affinity for Querencia since they are on WordPress.com.
ABQ Zine Fest, another fantastic participant, had used Blogger for some time, and the team brought everything over to a self-hosted WordPress site on GoDaddy. She was a bit nervous about coming over to WordPress, but we told her it’s what the cool kids are using
Nano Network of New Mexico had a really large project scope, but the selection team really liked the idea behind the project. The team brought their project into scope for the time we had available and gave them a great site. As of this writing this site isn’t live yet since it has to go through an approval process with the NNNM board.
Hackathons can look different depending on the scene and the group making it happen so I will take a moment before I get too far ahead of myself to explain what a Hackathon means in this context.
A gathering of talented designers, developers, content writers, marketers to create a website in a very short period for a pre-selected organization. The organizations selected depend on specific criteria pre-determined by the hackathon organizers.
Mostly the goal is to have fun and to create something nice. Specifically, the goal is to pool local design, developer, publisher/content writer resources and work as a team to make a live website; a functioning, appealing, usable website for pre-selected local groups.
The way I see it, there are two main purposes behind the WPABQ meetup hackathons.
1. Teamwork: Many web professionals work from home and rarely work in a team environment to produce websites. A hackathon gives us the opportunity to experience the sort of teamwork that is part of a web project. It forces us (in a good way) to come out of our comfort zones to brainstorm, plan, prepare, and complete a project with other people we are not accustomed to working with.
2. Outreach: Since community is the main focus of this meetup group, it is natural for us to periodically give back to the community. We are always giving to each other, learning, helping and at a hackathon we give back to organizations that are not connected with the WordPress community. The best way we can give back is to use our talents to create a WordPress website.
It may seem that this second reason is really the first, but it’s not. Since this is a community, the focus is on the community effort that is necessary to produce the work for the projects we select. For anyone wondering how we organize our hackathons here are some basics. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions.
Click on page 2 for the specifics on schedule, process, and lessons learned.