I'm excited and pleased to announce that I am co-managing a new Adobe User Group for New Mexico's web professionals: Webuquerque.
While this is a post to introduce and promote this new group, this is also a personal post. So indulge me while first share some history (or jump to the deets on Webuquerque).
I'm a Transplant
I moved to Albuquerque two years ago, gratefully leaving Bowie, Maryland and the DC area behind. It was one of the best decisions of my life. Albuquerque has become a true home for me.
Unfortunately, it took me about 17 months to feel this way. The move to a new city where I didn't know anyone was more of a challenge than I ever anticipated, especially considering that I don't work in New Mexico (I telecommute for my employer in Maryland).
One of my biggest concerns with New Mexico in general and Albuquerque specifically is that they don't offer much in terms of a job market for web professionals. I spent six months looking for good web employment before I moved with no luck (hence my decision to telecommute).
And once I did arrive, I struggled to find other like-minded web professionals with whom I could socialize and/or collaborate.
Social Media to the Rescue
The first New Mexican from Twitter who I met in real life, Chris Kenworthy, introduced me to Duke City Fix, a social network for Albuquerque. And DCF introduced me to the Albuquerque Web Geeks and BarCamp Albuquerque.
Through these groups and social networks, I've made some amazing friends and professional connections. And I've discovered that Albuquerque has so much to offer in terms of web talent.
Giving Back, Because I'm Just Like That
The more I network and socialize with web folks in the area, the more I feel as if not enough people know about the wealth of talent in the state. I believe this contributes to the lack of professional opportunities here.
And now I'm working with Webuquerque.
This wonderful opportunity came to my attention thanks to one of the friends I made through DCF and Twitter, Jason Nakai. He has been active with the New Mexico Adobe User Group for several years and had agreed to take over management of the web "branch" for 2009.
Jason is equally committed to helping the local web community, so when he told me about this I immediately offered my help. And, lucky me, he gave me the opportunity to co-manage the group with him this year.
Enough about me, let's talk about Webuquerque.
Webuquerque is part of NMAUG, which comprises three "branches:"
- Animotion focuses on animation and motion graphics
- Adobequerque focuses on print
- Webuquerque focuses on web
The primary mission of Webuquerque is to promote standards and best practices in web design and development, while helping support and grow the local web community.
To that aim, we are hosting free, monthly events that begin with a presentation on a web topic, followed by socializing and networking. The goal is to combine education and social.
Our first event is a "meet and greet" at Uptown Sports Bar and Grill on Wednesday, January 21, 2009, beginning at 6:30 pm.
More a social event than educational, Introducing Webuquerque is is a chance to learn more about Webuquerque and our 2009 agenda, as well as to meet some of the presenters and other attendees.
2009 Presentation Schedule
After our kick-off event, Webuquerque events will be on the first Wednesday of every month at Uptown Sports Bar and Grill beginning at 6:30 pm.
We have already lined up some great presenters and topics:
- February 4
- Topic: Social Media Means Business
- Presenters: Scott Westerman, Matthew Reichbach, Jason Nakai
- March 4
- Topic: Cascading Style Sheets
- Presenters: Jason Nakai & Emily Lewis
- April 1
- Topic: Agile and UX Design
- Presenter: Kevin Silver
- May 6
- Topic: Web Standards & Accessibility With Dreamweaver
- Presenters: Virginia DeBolt & Emily Lewis
- June 3
- Topic: Workflows in Adobe CS4
- Presenter: Jason Nakai
- July 1
- Topic: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Presenter: Chris Kenworthy
- August 5
- Topic: Development Frameworks & Libraries
- Presenter: Mark Casias
- September 2
- Topic: Podcasting & Vodcasting
- Presenter: Vincent Ascoli
- October 7
- Topic: Microformats
- Presenter: Emily Lewis
- November 4
- Topic: Web marketing
- Presenter: Reid Givens
- December 2
Note: Topics and presenters subject to change.
Given how successful social media has been for both Jason and I personally, we really want to leverage it for Webuquerque. So, we've setup accounts/groups on several social networks:
Please join/follow Webuquerque on these sites and participate with us.
A Lot of Work, But So Worth It
I'm so very excited about this upcoming year, working with Jason and the presenters to make Webuquerque a success. But I will say that, so far, it has been a lot of work for both Jason and me.
For his part, Jason has coordinated with last year's managers to assume ownership of the new group. He is still dealing with the logistics of getting accounts and access to the Adobe User Group site.
In addition to working on the AUG site, Jason also invested time in designing the logo and creating print materials. He is also responsible for securing Uptown Sports Bar and Grill as our venue for the year.
As for me, I've been setting up the social network sites, generating content for those sites, coordinating with presenters on topics and dates, and trying to be responsive with our Twitter account.
I'd be lying if I didn't say I felt some stress, but I also don't just like my plate full … I like it overflowing.
Plus, it is worth it to me. Jason too. We are both committed to web standards and best practices. We are both committed to our local community. Webuquerque allows us to serve both of those personal commitments.
Help Make Webuquerque a Success
So if you are in the area, please attend any or all of our events. If you aren't, please participate with us on our social networks. When we can, we will post event notes, presentations, etc. so that we can share Webuquerque with everyone. We also hope to utilize Adobe Connect for at least one or two of our presentations.