PWDO is a social media baby

Did you know that our organization & web design conference started on social media? And it’s been an essential tool ever since.

PWDO at #BoomPH Social Media Day 2014

Originally a presentation at TweetupMNL’s #BoomPH Social Media 2014, delivered by Sophia Lucero.

Hello, we’re from the Philippine Web Designers Organization (or PWDO) and we’re here to tell you how our group came to be.

For the unfamiliar: web designers are people who make websites. When we say design, we don’t just mean creating graphics and making things “stylish” or “artistic”, but also easy & engaging to read through typography, functional & delightful through code and user experience. To quote Steve Jobs: design is not just what it looks & feels like. Design is how it works. And we do that for the web. Social networks like Twitter & Facebook run on websites, and web designers are the people who build those sites.

So we formed PWDO to bring together all these web design practitioners. And social media played a huge part in it.

A message sent out to the social media-verse

Back in 2008, after attending WordCamp Philippines, I posted this on Plurk: We need a web design conference.

  • WordCamp is the event for WordPress users, bloggers, designers, and developers. This was the first time that its creator, Matt Mullenweg, visited the country. (He was also here a few weeks ago at the WordPress community meetup.)
  • Plurk is a microblogging social network. Like Twitter, you can post 140-character updates. Before emoji and stickers became features on Twitter and Facebook, Plurk had built-in emoticons and you could make custom ones if you like. Its distinguishing features include a karma system and horizontally-scrolling interface.

Anyway, this plurk thread got about 150 enthusiastic responses to the call “We Need a Web Design Conference”, and we started planning how exactly we wanted to do it.

After collaborating online with Basecamp, email, and instant messaging, we met up and decided that in order to hold a conference, we needed to form an organization first. We called it Philippine Web Designers Organization.

The web design conference, we called Form Function & Class, which is named after the 3 main aspects of web design & development.

We also decided that in order to gain awareness about FFC, we needed to build buzz for it. So we started holding meetups, called MiniFFC.

The first MiniFFC meetup in October 2008 https://flic.kr/p/5zqhZE

People registered on Google Forms, and later on we started using Eventbrite as well. Of course, we used social media to spread the word.

About a year later, we launched the first Form Function & Class web design conference at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati, with over 400 participants.

The first Philippine Web Design Conference in July 2009 https://flic.kr/p/6DYWSK

Fast forward to today: we’re about to hold our fifth FFC this November, and we still do all this on our free time, as unpaid volunteers.

This is why technology is very important to us: we’re able to communicate and keep everyone in the team updated even if we don’t meet offline. It’s fast, powerful, and free.

It’s also on social media that we’ve met sponsors, speakers, volunteers, and tech groups to collaborate with. With zero or minimal investment, we’re able to get the word out on our events and connect with people we otherwise would never be able to reach—whether it’s the Philippines, Asia, and the rest of the world.

PWDO is on all your favorite social networks. Follow us!

Our social media arsenal

How do we do it? Besides the usual social networks and services like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Hootsuite, Bit.ly, Campaign Monitor…and so on…we’ve come across a few web apps that have become super useful to our “line of work”.

IFTTT

IFTTT (If This, Then That) lets you transmit posts on different services based on certain conditions. In our case, for example: if we tag an Instagram post with #PWDO, it gets posted to our Facebook page, which in turn gets posted to Twitter and Google+ page. It’s got hundreds of web services you can connect to, so this isn’t just for social media posting.

Tagboard

Tagboard pulls all posts from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ with a certain hashtag and displays them to a corresponding tag-board.

Lanyrd

Lanyrd is a conference tracking web app that lets you document all the details of an event (for example, links to your slides, names of speakers, list of topics and sessions) if you’re an organizer, or if you’re an attendee: find and track conferences based on certain criteria like date and location.

And that’s just a few of the social media tools we use to plan our web design events!

Do check out Form Function & Class 2014 coming this November 8, sign up for updates. You can also get in touch with us for speaking, sponsorship, and partnership opportunities. That’s formfunctionclass.com and pwdo.org.

Thank you and have a good day.