This page is a work in progress. Parts of it will be wrong and/or incomplete. Contributions, suggestions, etc always welcome!
Why host meetups for digital responders?
Many digital responders often work alone. And just as independent consultants migrate to coffee shops and coworking spaces to seek out human company, so too do those of us in the humanitarian and disaster response sector. Whether working on the code for tracking infrastructure, struggling with how to tell a story about refugees using mobile technology, thinking about how to invest in a project without disrupting local economies, or wanting feedback on the latest design of your incident-reporting dashboard, we want you to be with friends and cohorts. Many digital humanitarian and disaster responders are the only person in an organization working on this topic, OR you're on a dedicated but distributed team, OR you're just coming to the topic and wanting to put faces with all those online usernames. So it's just nice to hang out, get to know each other, our projects, and brainstorm about challenges.
We also rely on the networks we already know when a crisis occurs. By establishing bonds of trust, knowledge, and having explored and bettered our own projects and understandings, we'll be able to more effectively respond to the next extreme event. We'll know where we can meet up for physical solidarity, a solid internet connection, and people we know and have worked with before. All those background technical links that allow data and knowledge to be shared for a more holistic response are more likely to happen when we're all in the same space as each other.
So please bring your questions, your projects, your challenges. We'll provide the soda, beer, and snacks. We are tool- and sector-agnostic, so long as you are dedicated to listening, sharing, and empowerment.
Want to host one of your own? Here's how! All we ask is that you let us know you are, so we might support you.
Find yourself in the Bay Area when one isn't happening, or simply don't want to wait until the next one? We welcome digital responders (and others) to come cowork from the Nonprofit Technology Center at 16th and Mission in San Francisco any time. Just give us a heads up.
Scaffolding and resources for hosting a meetup with us or elsewhere
We've found the following to be essential to a group check-in:
- Where will the meetup take place? : You'll need a physical location. If you're wanting to do a remote session (either with some or all participants), you might find benefit from the guide for checkin calls.
- When will the meetup happen? : The date and time (include the timezone if you have travelers or remote participants!).
- What will be talked about? : Talk with participants about what's on their minds.
- Who are you inviting? : Invitee list (organizations and/or individuals).
- We have a mailing list which is invited first, and can be registered for via the Main Page
- Be prepared : Think about what you want out of the meetup. Are you looking for help on something? Want to give an update on a project? Looking to hear what others are up to? All of these (and more) are great!
- Be present : Sharing of information requires a receiver. Don't just think about what you'd like to say to everyone, demonstrate respect by paying attention when others are speaking.
- Contribute : The facilitator is likely juggling multiple things. The person speaking can rarely/not take notes for themselves as they speak. We rely on the group to document meaningful exchanges, and that means me/you/us documenting, asking questions, offering suggestions.
Be clear (but not spammy) about letting people know about the event.
- Make an event page on your website.
- Make a way for people to register (by email, event-specific site, or social media forum.)
- Add a stubbed wiki page linked to from the list of events. Our MeetUp wiki page template may come in handy.
- Invite folk to your event. We announce these meetups to
- our digital response mailing list,
- the Digital Humanitarian Network mailing list, and
- the DHN skype channel.
- 1 or 2 days before the event, remind people about the meetup's time and location.
Participants should know they have a set amount of time to add in edits and to make deletions before the notes go in a public-facing location.
- 1 or 2 days after the event, transfer the notes from a collaborative note-taking platform to the wiki page. The only thing left on the riseup pad should be a link to the wiki page.
- Send out a link to the wiki page, plus thanks and top-level analysis to the same channels the meetup was announced to. Ask if anyone is uncomfortable sharing their contact with other participants.
- 1 week after the meetup, send out the participant list and invite everyone to the digital responder mailing list. Do not opt them in, let them do it (or not) themselves.
- Work with participants on the agenda.
- Try to start on time, which means you will need to be present to set up the space about a half hour early.
- Try to end at least a few minutes early.
- Remember the entirety of the group is who you serve, and be ok interrupting someone if they're taking up more than 1/Nth of the time.
- 2016 August Meet Up : August 11th in San Francisco, CA. We chatted about HAM radio, community mesh networks, and why we do what we do.
- 2016 June Meet Up : June 16th in San Francisco, CA. We reviewed MapSwipe, how cross-sector communication works, the ecosystem map, and basic ways of plugging into digital response activities.