Celebrating Five Years of GeekOut South-West
Holy smokes, I knew this year was my fifth year running this blog, but on Wednesday 19th, it was officially the anniversary of the website. Hurrah! No, there’s no time for cake, as I thought that was a perfect excuse for me to chat about everything that’s happened with us. The good, the bad (although there’s not really a lot of ‘bad’) and of course, the outright amazing. All in all, it’s been five years of ups, so expect to see a lot of gushing about how excellent this has been… And hey – We’ll chat about the meetup and what that means to us, as well as future plans.
First off, the most obvious good to have come of running this blog – The meetups. We’ve gone from strength to strength, starting as just me and one other person in a pub together (Thanks Felipe). We had a great laugh that day and I figured that the only way to improve was to keep it going. I worked hard, I put some money into advertisement – and people started to turn up.
We’ve had events as low as 26 people here in Bristol in recent months, but also as high as 76. In the time that we’ve been running, we’ve seen a lot of faces… But we weren’t the only people who wanted to have what we had. Joel joined us in our venture, running his very own Shrewsbury Meets. This, honestly, was an honour to get going. To know that our message has spread up the country is simply amazing.
Further to this, we’ve run our Top 10 lists every week… Speaking of which, at the time of writing this article, we’ve yet to actually start tomorrow’s Top 10. Our lists have been thoroughly entertaining to write – So much so, that we’re making our eBook and working pretty hard on it! Indeed, I’d argue we’re currently approximately 20% of the way through. There’s a lot of editing to be done, but it’s worth it. The end result will be awesome and I’m hopeful you’ll see the results of our hard work sooner than anticipated. There will even be custom artwork for all of the Top 10’s, which is mad – and unless someone can offer to do the artwork for an insanely good price, I guess I’ll muck in on the art myself!
I mentioned before that there hasn’t really been a lot of ‘bad’. I think if we’re going to be pragmatic about this, there’s only one really bad thing to have come from all this – The new website. Okay, sure, it’s an exciting prospect for me, but for everyone else, it’s been three years of development hell. Waiting for the when will it be done? What makes this even more infuriating, is it’s not going to be as good as the time sink has made it seem like it will be. That’s just a fact – There’s no way I can justify how long it’s taken… Unless I were to point out all of the other projects the website have gone through.
As such, the bad is that I feel like I may have over-promised on the new site. Sorry everyone! It’ll be done, when it physically can be done. You’ll always be the first to know when progress has been made. I’ve had to deal with some atrocious APIs for plugins – Which do the job I want them to do. It may have been easier for me to have custom written everything. It may even not be too late for me to do that…
I’ve mentioned many times before that I want us to have our new website, but actually, I won’t focus on that in this part. Instead, let’s talk about what the future means to our community, our friends and more.
We’ve mentioned that we will monetise the website, which it currently has WordAds activated… However this brings in pittance, which the GDPR made even worse. Now website are getting a fraction of the payment they received, to where our record views and viewers month of July received less than one of our lower months. Whilst I understand the problems the GDPR have raised, I believe WordPress.com themselves could have – and perhaps should have – been more transparent about it.
The future of our community means a lot to us; we want people to chat to one another more often and have better ways to communicate. However, because of how much the community means to us, we want to be able to offer you guys a chance to share your work, your hobbies – Everything. We wouldn’t have a community without people coming to our events and believing in what we do, so honestly, thank you everyone for every time you turn up, or buy a poster.
I think the future is going to be quite interesting, as I’m hoping to get people to play a bigger part in the activities. We trialled a “Talk Geek To Me” section at GeekOut Bristol this month, which was admittedly a hard sell. I think if people are given a bit more guidance that these things exist, as well as a bit more fanfare about it, then perhaps it’ll take off? We’ll see. I’m keen to make sure people are the masters of their crafts, as they deserve to be.
There are so many other great things we’ve done as a website, as a community and more. I’m hoping we have more and more great moments, so thanks to everyone who’s been with us every step of the way. If you’ve been with us for a long time, or you’re just finding out about us, let yourself be know. Share with us your thoughts about our past and our perceived future in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re in Bristol or Shrewsbury, make sure you come along to an event soon!