There is a lot of excitement right now in the Tucson web design and development scene. Tucson Digital Arts Community is rocking the house with monthly workshops, local companies like Bookmans are innovating with their agile web development and engaging user-centric website, and there is a buzz of energy around getting together, sharing ideas and best practices, learning, networking, and improving our community.
Local web ninja Jared McFarland summed it up nicely in Capitalizing on the Tucson Tech Community.
We, as a community, can work together to educate and inspire one another. We can enjoy the same benefits as the people in major tech centers simply by knowing each other and inventing ways to work together. It isn’t about vast numbers of people, but small passionate groups. The web brings like minds together globally, but we can now use the web to find each other and act locally. We can turn Tucson into something intentional, and beautiful, for ourselves and the city.
The larger Tucson community is also bubbling with social events like Ignite Tucson and the myriad of Twitter meetups (“Tweetups”). Just search Twitter for #tweetup #tucson to be amazed. These events cover a much broader range of topics than web design and development but they all share a common goal: to mingle, network, and share with others.
This is how I think it breaks down: socially, the larger community wants to meet itself and technologically, web designers and developers are joining together to improve the tech community. All of this energy and enthusiasm is contagious!
In contrast, I want to share the story of the Tucson Geek Meet, a group I was personally involved with for four years. Started as the Tucson Web Standards Group in 2003 by Molly Holzschlag, the Geek Meet slowly lost momentum over time. Instead of growing and expanding, it stayed a small core of five or six people.
Don’t get me wrong, because of those meetups the five or six of us are now steadfast friends, and several of us have had the opportunity to work together. Now that we are friends we can socialize anytime—we don’t need to call it anything. The idea of the Geek Meet isn’t going away, it’s just being replaced by ad hoc Tweetups and other social happenings around town.
What I want to encourage, and I think Jared hit on this, is not just the social aspects of meeting together but the educational and inspirational benefits of sharing code, experiences, and real-life examples of our work. TDAC is spearheading the effort by organizing workshops and collaborative coding days to get people together to educate, inspire, network, and improve. I’ve been a part of TDAC for six months now, and the tech community in Tucson isn’t just soaking it up, it’s clamoring for more.
We’re hoping soon to have a Refresh Tucson—our neighbors in The Valley have had a strong Refresh presence for three years—we can do the same here in the Old Pueblo. So please participate: join up, tweet up, meet up, share, and pass the word to your colleagues and friends.
Let’s do it, Tucson.
How to get involved
Tucson networks to join and participate in
Are you on Meetup.com? Tell your Meetup.com cronies to join the fine sites listed above, especially if you are on the Meetup.com Web Standards “waiting list”. Wait no more!
For posterity, here is a brief history of the Tucson Geek Meet:
2003(?): Started by Molly Holzschlag.
2005: Tucson Web Standards Meetup moved to Upcoming by Lance (from Meetup.com). We met at B-Line and Famous Sam’s. See Molly’s 2005 post and my 2005 post as well as the Upcoming group page.
2006: Met monthly at the Old Chicago patio. A few Flickr photos from 2006 events: Great Discussion at Tucson Web Standards Meeting, Geoff in Action.
2007: Changed the name to Geek Meet.
2008: The infamous Hooter’s incident. D’oh! (Yes, Molly gave us a good lashing for that, and it was deserved.)
2009: Called it quits in favor of other local groups and Twitter meetups.
This post was originally titled “Rest in Peace, Tucson Geek Meet” but I decided that it was just a small part of the burgeoning Tucson web design and development scene.