As a local community group we have to decide what events it’s best to invest our time and energy into making sure we can do full on advocacy and which events are basically internal computer geek socials.
Let me explain, when the BLU (Boston Linux User Group) holds their annual Summer BBQ; there isn’t much point in 20 Ubuntu geeks turning up with CDs and flyers. The same goes for the FSF Software Freedom Day or the Boston Gnome Summit or a PyCon etc, all these events are internal computer geek driven and the people who attend really don’t need information or CDs to get them into Ubuntu. Chances are they’re already into or not into Ubuntu. But it is easy to turn up for social events, you can give away lots of CDs to people who already know about Ubuntu that way and they’re great places to get to know the wider network of people in the computer communities.
I think some of the best advocacy events though are when we step a little further outside out boundaries into other communities that have little or nothing to do with computers. The PiCon event last year was a success because it was a bunch of Maths and Science geeks, just not computer geeks. They’d heard every Anime or Manga and had come for Cory Doctorow (SciFi writer) and Randall Munroe (XKCD), but we could relate and lots of people were interested and informed about what Ubuntu was and how powerful it was while there because we held a table with demo machines, CDs and volunteers.
That’s the kind of external advocacy event I’d like to be doing more of in our Local Community. Places where normal people from other communities can get to know about what we’re all about. Hopefully at next year’s Anime convention we’ll be able to get a booth proper and be able to hold fort, this year we only managed a small contingent with CDs and Ubunchu Managa prints.
What do other LoCo groups think about attending externally organised events?