Usually Wednesday morning is dominated by the UK-Nigeria online team meeting - but today we are getting close to Christmas so there is no meeting and I am taking time to think about Dadamac beyond Nigeria, and about including more of my wider network (present and future) here at www.dadamac.net.
Dadamac.net online community
The idea behind dadamac.net is that it will be less like a website, and more like an online "home/office/meeting-place/study-space/club/whatever-we-want-it-to-be" for people (present and future) who are connected with Dadamac ideas and activities.
I am still cautious of using the term "Dadamac community" beyond the core group of people I work with. People I connect with online have their own identities and individual interests and I am not trying to "take anyone over". Being part of the dadamac community does not stop anyone from being part of other things in any way. It is simply that sometimes it is very useful to be able to talk about people as a group. I hope people who network actively with me and others through this space will gradually be happy enough to be called the "Dadamac community".
Initial Dadamac Community
The Dadamac community so far is made up of:
The people in UK and Nigeria who are involved in UK-Nigeria collaboration through John Dada and me (the co-founders of Dadamac) ie John and people from his team at Fantsuam, plus me and people like Nikki and Marcus in the UK who connect with the team in Nigeria through Dadamac. I think too of Ricardo and Graham - but have yet to ask them if it is ok to call them "part of the Dadamac community".
Fola already describes himself as "Dadamac Ago-Are" and connects with us in various ways - including being a Dadamac self directed learner (SDL) on my course at Fantsuam last year. Fola and I have been in contact for a long time, which is how he came to be sponsored by Dadamac to attend the SDL course.
Mercy is another Dadamac SDL, and is also a contributor to discussions at Dadamac.net. She has done various things to help me out regarding dadamc.net and is happy to be included as part of the Dadamac Community. We go back quite a while - first working together a few years ago on a Teachers Talking course when she was an administrator at Fantsuam Foundation.
Vijay blogs here at dadamac.net. From the first time we exchanged emails he was communicating with me as "Pam of Dadamac" so it was natural for him to be "part of the Dadamac community" from the very start (i.e. he had not previously been "in Pam's network" - which is how most "early arrivals" to dadamac.net have come to visit this online space).
People contributing comments
Already various people, including some from Minciu Sodas have contributed comments to this site, and I invite them to also be part of the Dadamac community - if they are happy with that.
The techie team
I don't know if Ryan and Andy think of themselves as "part of the dadamac.community" - but we wouldn't be here without them.
Ryan hosts dadamac net and is our Drupal expert, putting together all the modules I need in order to make things happen. (I imagine there is a proper term for what he does - but I am not sure what - "building" and "maintaining" and "Drupal platform" may be appropriate key words.) We have met face to face (F2F) a couple of times but normally work at a distance.
Andy knows much more about Drupal than I do. We work F2F quite often and he is great at listening to what I want to do and then "thinking about it in relation to Drupal" and summarising that in an email to Ryan.
Andy is looking at the user experience for the Dadamac community. Any user friendly touches and things that work well regarding the layout are thanks to Andy. He also did the "silhouettes" for the home page, and is interested in how www.dadamac.net should connect with other online happenings like Twitter and Facebook.
Others I need to ask
There are various other people I think of as "part of the team" - people who have helped me as we have networked on all kinds of things that now come under the heading of Dadamac - but it would be presumptious of me to call them part of the "dadamac community" without asking them first (or unless they tell me they do already think of themsleves as included).
Joining and Growing the Dadamac Community
Over time, as more people become users of dadamac.net to exchange information, it will become increasingly natural to think of ourselves as the dadamac.net community of users - or "dadamac community" (Hmm - I'm still not sure if I should use capital letters or not for dadamac community - the Dadamac logo has a capital letter, but our dadamac email addresses and the website use lower case. I guess "the right choice" will gradually become evident.)
Open letters at Dadamac.net
I appreciate the way that Vijay is willing to share his thoughts, discoveries and learning experiences about development through his Open Letters
I would also like to invite other people, from time to time, to join the Dadamac community to write a series of Open Letters to me (or other people in the Dadamac community) on a specific topic. I think immediately of:
- Andrius Kulikauskas - as we are exploring how Minciu Sodas and Dadamac can best work together
- Fred Kayiwa - as we are wondering if there is any way Dadamac can raise the visibility of his youth work (NB - I don't do material support or fundraising, I only do introductions and provide support for information exchange.)
- Marcus Simmons - as we are exchanging so much information related to sustainable development and Nigeria, and I would like more of it to be shared
- People who have contributed useful comments
- Other people who I exchange information with in private - but it is not private information. If we communicated through open letters we would be free to share what we write with others, and they would be able to comment.
If any of the open letters developed into practical projects or serious group discussions then we could move from just the open letter format to other areas of dadamac.net. If necessary we could try to develop the right kind of new online space for the task.
Developing the site using Drupal
Developing spaces as we need them, to suit tasks and information flows, is why I am developing Dadamac.net in an "add on" Drupal way. The plan is to develop an online space that will grow with the dadamac community, rather than using something ready made, adn less flexible, like a Ning group. I hope this site will reflect our real needs and behaviours: be shaped by our concerns; suit our online communications and our practical collaborations. This is why I chose the approach of developig the site bit by bit, using Drupal. I chose Drupal because I had heard of it, and it was supposed to be good for online communities. I shall find out its strong points and limitations as dadamac.net develops
Please join in
I guess this is now a kind of Beta testing stage here at dadamac.net. Things are working well enough to show to friends - people who will accept glitches and will help in developing this dadamac community space, probably because we already have a history of doing things together online. If that description fits you (or if you are new to our network but interested in helping) please join in.
You could start by adding a comment below (or email me firstname.lastname@example.org).