Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Few Events And Organizations For Civic Hackers

This post is a first attempt at compiling a list of the areas events and organizations which intersect with the interests of people who do civic hacking, as well as other members of the NE Wisconsin TIME community (Tech, Innovators, Makers, Entrepreneurs).

There have been three civic hacking events in NE Wisconsin so far in 2015 -- the June 6th hackathon, the July 22nd meetup, and the August 19th meetup. There will likely be a few more civic hacking events this year, but what are some other events which civic hackers might want to participate in or attend? And what organizations in our region might be of interest to civic hackers?


One type of event for civic hackers to be aware of is the regular meetings of tech organizations in NE Wisconsin. In most cases, that means monthly meetings, although sometimes they're held every other month or quarterly, with a few groups meeting weekly. Check the organizations’ websites for date, time, location and other meeting details.

Ad hoc, or one-off, meetups are another type of event. This type of event is held when a person or, more likely, a group of people decide they want to have a meeting. The informal civic hacking meetups in July and August fall into that category. Finding out about these meetings involves subscribing to or periodically checking relevant websites, like DHMN Civic Hacks, for mention of events relevant to you. You can also find out about ad hoc events by (a) following civic hackers or TIME community members on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, (b) participating in the NE Wisconsin Slack #dhmncivichacks channel, and (c) getting on opt-in mailing lists for organizations or for specific types of activities.

Some organizations or communities of like-minded people put on annual events that may be of interest to specific types of civic hackers. For example, coders are probably interested in the NEWCodeCamp. You can find out dates and other details for these types of events by checking their websites or searching on Google for the event name and the current year.

NE Wisconsin Organizations

Below are some of the region’s organizations that may appeal to civic hackers, with a heavy emphasis on tech groups. This is just groups I’m aware of, and I'm sure there are more out there with civic hacker appeal. If you know of currently active organizations to add to the list, please send me the organization’s name, website, and contact info.

  1. AITP, Association of IT Professionals
  2. Appleton Makerspace 
  3. Appleton Makerspace Coder Cooperative 
  4. Appleton WordPress Meetup 
  5. DHMN, Distributed Hacker/Maker Network 
  6. Digital Fertilizer 
  7. Fox Cities PHP Users Group
  8. FoxPASS, Professional Association for SQL Server 
  9. FoxPUG, Python Users Group 
  10. FRAUG, Fox River Autodesk User Group
  11. NEW Agile Users 
  12. NEWDUG, NE Wisconsin Developers Users Group 
  13. NEWLUG, NE Wisconsin Linux Users Group 

Below are some types of events in which civic hackers may be interested. Let me know what other events I should add to the list.

  1. Organization regularly scheduled meeting
  2. BarCamp, CityCamp, EdCamp or EduCamp, LibraryCamp and other unconferences
  3. Civic hacking meetup, hackathon or challenge / competition
  4. Coder hackathon or challenge / competition
  5. Startup Weekend
  6. TechBreakfast and Geek Dinner
  7. Mini Maker Faire
  8. Tech Cafe (like Google Tech Talks)
  9. Learning Workshop
  10. Classes

I'll update the above two lists periodically if you send me the info or if I learn of others that civic hackers might want to check out.

Because NE Wisconsin is not a hotbed of tech or civic hacking activity, area civic hackers should also consider going outside the boundaries of our 18 counties, both to enjoy a larger number and wider variety of events than offered here and to connect with new people and new ideas.

If you think NE Wisconsin needs a new event not currently available, consider rounding up a core group of organizers to help you create that meeting or other type of activity. With the social networks, smartphones, and free Internet communications and publicity available in 2015, it’s easier than ever to organize participant-driven events. It's easy to start with small informal meetups at local coffee shops or other third places. If you want to do a larger meeting than an informal meetup of friends, consider doing an unconference. If you’re not sure where to start, contact me (bwaldron [at] gmail [dott] com) or look online at some of the guides or how-to manuals for organizing and running an unconference. You’ll meet new people, make new friends, learn and share information and skills, and have a great time doing it!

(Wouldn’t it be handy if there was a website that listed all the organizations and events of interest to NE Wisconsin civic hackers and other members of the region’s TIME community?)


1 comment:

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