For those of you who know me, I have spent a career looking at new technologies and understanding how they are used especially in business. For the past few years, I have been using some of the new social networking, social media tools like blogging, vlogging and podcasting. I have also been looking at the evolution of community building as a method for small and medium size businesses to build their brands. Not only are these new tools more effective but many of the more significant tools are open source, which means that the software is essentially free or very inexpensive.
A couple of years ago at Resonnect, we wanted to update the look and feel of the site. Additionally, we want to have the capability of adding or changing content without either learning Dreamweaver, Contribute or Front Page or paying a web developer to make the changes on their time frame. We talked to a few companies that we either knew or had used, and found out a content management system would cost around $10K. Three years later, you can download one for free!
That brings me to Drupal, which is an open source content management system with lots of additional modules, also open source, that allow you to create just about any type of site you want. Blogs, Wikis, multimedia, e-commerce whatever you need.
Now, this blog site uses WordPress and has met my blogging needs for almost three years. However, I find that I want to do more. I want to not just blog but build a community, have more people contribute content and join the conversation. So, I looked at a number of possibilities, and settled on Drupal. The new site that we are developing, Startup Coast, is written using Drupal and it is packed with capabilities.
Now to get started, we contracted a developer who is thoroughly grounded in Drupal and he created a great site that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. What’s more, it is very easy to add, change of delete content.
So, I decided to learn some more about Drupal and discovered Drupal Camp LA and thought it would be good to rub elbows with some Drupal techies and learn new. So, that is how I ended up at Drupal Camp.
So, now my interest is really piqued and I am looking to learn a lot more. I am also hoping to start convincing startups to use these social networking tools and applications to build communities as a technique to establish and grow their brands. They are very powerful and, generally, fit within the limited budgets that most startups are faced with.