You know the saying that goes something like "You don't know what you had until you lose it?" That's how I feel about in-person Hack Club meetings this year. I spent 2 years figuring out how to lead a Hack Club in Indiana, USA, and one of my key takeaways from leading my club was that being super charismatic, encouraging club members to work in groups, offering food, playing music in the background, and constantly running around the room offering help to club members, all went a long way in making clubs a fun, inclusive atmosphere that kept people coming back.
Now, during a global pandemic, we are all faced with a daunting new challege. Quarantine has reduced us all to nothing more than goldfish, swimming around our tiny tanks that have become our entire world, and spending half of our days staring at glass, behind which lies an endless abyss full of all the other goldfish stuck in their own tanks.
I never realized how vastly I underestimated and took for granted the gift of 3D space, and the doors it opens for club leaders, until most club leaders during the 2020-2021 school year suddenly found themselves running meetings over Zoom, a very one-dimensional space. Suddenly, nearly everything I learned about running a good Hack Club meeting is no longer possible. Club members can no longer grab a slice of the pizza in the middle of the room, listen to the upbeat music playing in the background, and share what they're working on with their friends who are sitting at the same table as them. Running a traditional workshop feels like you're a teacher in a classsroom.
There is good news, though: running a great online club meeting is possible, and we're all figuring out how to do it together. One of the first key insights I had is that having some sort of visual aid accompany your online club meeting goes a very long way. A visual aid helps everyone feel more engaged with what's happening in your club meeting because it replaces some of the abyss that Zoom school drowns us in with something fun to look at.
That's why I rewrote the classic Personal Website workshop in slide format. If you're looking for a compelling way to kick off your online Hack Club this year, this workshop has got your back.
A visual aid isn't everything. As a leader, it'll be up to you to run this well. You should read through this and rehearse it before running it in your club meeting, and since it contains less information and explanations of concepts than the original personal website workshop, you should be able to fill in the informational gaps where needed.
Hopefully we'll be able to add it to the Workshops site soon, but for now, it lives at 👉 https://hack.af/personal-website-v2 👈
If you have any questions/suggestions or you run into any issues, please feel free to DM me on Slack. I'm @matthew (Matthew Stanciu) ✨🚀👁