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January 2022 Newsletter

Hey everyone,

Welcome to our first Newsletter of 2022! Since we started RITA in April 2021 we’ve continued to grow steadily. We’ve added more Advocates, County Pages and we’re connecting folks across multiple communities and disciplines. Grab a tea, coffee or water, sit back and enjoy. 


Tech Advocate Updates
We announced 2 more Tech Advocates since our last newsletter in November. Please welcome Gearóid and Robert, representing counties Kerry and Offaly.

A full list of advocates can be found here : https://rita.ie/tech-advocates and a map of where each advocate is located here : https://rita.ie/map.

We are looking for Tech Advocates to represent every county in Ireland and from all walks of life. If you are interested or know of someone who would make a great advocate please let us know : [email protected]


Podcast Number 2

In December we recorded our second podcast. Ntsoaki (County Dublin), Chloe Thompson (County Armagh), Jon-Paul Sullivan (County Clare), Robert Annett (County Down) and RITA founder Thomas Shaw (County Dublin) shared stories about Christmas in rural Ireland, their traditions and favourite festive foods.


County Updates
We published another county page since our last newsletter; Louth

A full list of county pages can be found here : https://rita.ie/counties These pages are full of links to help folks discover more about each county and include useful links such as co-working spaces, transport etc which folks, who are considering a move, might find useful. 

What’s happening next?

  • We are putting together a guide to help small businesses create an online presence in 2022. This is a work in progress and we need your help. The guide can be found here : https://rita.ie/getting-started
  • We’ll continue to announce more advocates throughout 2022 and hopefully have some news regarding a new sponsor. 
  • We have a private Discord server setup where our Tech Advocates can meet and share stories, ideas etc. We are planning to open a public channel where anyone can drop by and discuss their experiences of living and working in rural Ireland.

How can I help?

At the moment the greatest help folks can give is word of mouth marketing. Just telling your friends, colleagues, family etc about RITA is hugely helpful. Likes, retweets, shares, Twitter followers all matter (Twitter Handle : @RITAdvocates). We will need some financial assistance through sponsorship/partnerships as we grow. If anyone has interest in sponsoring then details can be found here : https://rita.ie/sponsors.


Thanks for reading.
Rgds, Tom (@tomwillfixit, @RITAdvocates, @ShipItCon)

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August Newsletter

Hey everyone,

Welcome to the RITA August Newsletter! We hope everyone is having a nice summer. It’s been a busy 2 months over at rita.ie and we have lots of updates below. Grab a tea, coffee or water, sit back and enjoy. 


Tech Advocate Updates
We announced another 2 Tech Advocates in August; Evan and Nikita. Who’ll be next? It could be you.

A full list of advocates can be found here : https://rita.ie/tech-advocates

We are looking for Tech Advocates to represent every county in Ireland and from all walks of life. If you are interested or know of someone who would make a great advocate please let us know : [email protected]


County Updates
We published another 3 county pages since our last newsletter; ArmaghAntrim and Tyrone.

A full list of county pages can be found here : https://rita.ie/counties These pages are full of links to help folks discover more about each county and include useful links such as co-working spaces, transport etc which folks, who are considering a move, might find useful. 

What’s happening next?

  • We’ll continue to announce more advocates throughout September and hopefully have some news regarding a new sponsor. 
  • We have a private Discord server setup where our Tech Advocates can meet and share stories, ideas etc. We are planning to open a public channel where anyone can drop by and discuss their experiences of living and working in rural Ireland.
  • We’ll be hosting our first “Meet The Advocates” meeting in September, which will be virtual, and limited to the Advocates for now. In future we’ll open these sessions up to everyone in the community.

How can I help?

At the moment the greatest help folks can give is word of mouth marketing. Just telling your friends, colleagues, family etc about RITA is hugely helpful. Likes, retweets, shares, Twitter followers all matter (Twitter Handle : @RITAdvocates). We will need some financial assistance through sponsorship/partnerships as we grow. If anyone has interest in sponsoring then details can be found here : https://rita.ie/sponsors.


Thanks for reading.
Rgds, Tom (@tomwillfixit, @RITAdvocates, @ShipItCon)

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What is a “Tech Advocate”?

Ashley McNamara (Willis) sums up the role of a “Developer Advocate” perfectly in this post. At RITA we would like to take a similar approach but instead of advocates representing a role at a company or a product, they are representing their respective counties. Together Tech Advocates will amplify the voice and potential of rural Ireland to colleagues, employers and more. Many of the “Big Tech” companies use advocacy very successfully and at RITA we believe that we can borrow this same approach to unlock the potential of rural Ireland.

Some characteristics of a Tech Advocate include a love of learning, sharing and helping others. They are strong communicators and community builders. If you feel like this role is made for you then please reach out over email : [email protected] or through Direct Messages on our Twitter account @Ritadvocates.

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Every journey has a beginning …

Listen on Spotify

This is the first blog post on the site and I wanted to use this as an opportunity to explain a bit about the “Why”.

Why “Rural Ireland Tech Advocates”?

Over the past number of years I’ve worked in various roles ranging from infrastructure engineer to event organiser to ad-hoc developer advocate and I loved every minute of it. I wanted to use some of these learnings to help with the “Rural Future” initiative which was recently announced by the government.

Tech Advocates

Before explaining what a “Tech Advocate” is, it’s important to understand the role of a “Developer Advocate”.

A developer, a marketer, a branding manager, an integrations manager, a business development partner, a domain expert, an event manager, and a technical writer walk into a bar. She orders a glass of wine. After all, it’s been a long day of jet-setting and hand-holding as a developer advocate.

(https://thenewstack.io/devrel-and-the-increasing-popularity-of-the-developer-advocate/)

I have a huge amount of respect for Developer Advocates and the role in which they play in glueing together parts of the tech industry which had previously been siloed. What if we could take a similar approach and create “Tech Advocate” roles across Ireland? Each county would have their own team of advocates who would share their experiences of living and working in rural Ireland, help grow rural tech communities and be the voice of tech within their towns and counties.

Building A Team

Over the coming months and years, the goal will be to create a team of “Tech Advocates” throughout Ireland. We already have 7 advocates spread across Wicklow, Cork, Kerry, Clare and Wexford after a single tweet. Anyone can become an advocate for their county. There is no gatekeeping. There is also no tolerance of inappropriate language, behaviour and such. We will publish a “Code of Conduct” over the coming days to ensure that everyone feels welcome, safe and respected. If you would like to learn more or help out then please drop an email to : [email protected]

Thanks for reading.

Tom (Twitter: @tomwillfixit @shipitcon)

November Newsletter

Hey everyone,

Welcome to the RITA November Newsletter! It’s been a busy few months over at rita.ie and we have lots of updates below. Grab a tea, coffee or water, sit back and enjoy. 


Tech Advocate Updates
We announced 8 more Tech Advocates since our last newsletter in August. Please welcome Mary, Conor, Tiffany, Ntsoaki, Maurice, Sapphire, Frank and Cathal. Who’ll be next? It could be you.

A full list of advocates can be found here : https://rita.ie/tech-advocates

We are looking for Tech Advocates to represent every county in Ireland and from all walks of life. If you are interested or know of someone who would make a great advocate please let us know : [email protected]


Our First Podcast

In October we recorded our first podcast. Ntsoaki (CK) did a fantastic job of driving the conversation and ensuring we all stayed on topic. Chloe Thompson (County Armagh), Jon-Paul Sullivan (County Clare), Amber Higgins (County Meath), Brendan O’Brien (County Meath) and RITA founder Thomas Shaw (County Dublin) chatted about the good and bad of remote working vs working in an office.

Disclaimer: This was our first podcast and we had a few technical issues, the sound quality isn’t amazing but the content is 100%. Enjoy and please provide feedback.


County Updates
We published another 3 county pages since our last newsletter; Donegal, Down and Leitrim.

A full list of county pages can be found here : https://rita.ie/counties These pages are full of links to help folks discover more about each county and include useful links such as co-working spaces, transport etc which folks, who are considering a move, might find useful. 

What’s happening next?

  • We’ll continue to announce more advocates throughout the rest of the year and hopefully have some news regarding a new sponsor. 
  • We have a private Discord server setup where our Tech Advocates can meet and share stories, ideas etc. We are planning to open a public channel where anyone can drop by and discuss their experiences of living and working in rural Ireland.
  • We’ll be hosting our 2nd “RITA Catch-Up” in November, which will be virtual, and limited to the Advocates for now. In future we’ll open these sessions up to everyone in the community.

How can I help?

At the moment the greatest help folks can give is word of mouth marketing. Just telling your friends, colleagues, family etc about RITA is hugely helpful. Likes, retweets, shares, Twitter followers all matter (Twitter Handle : @RITAdvocates). We will need some financial assistance through sponsorship/partnerships as we grow. If anyone has interest in sponsoring then details can be found here : https://rita.ie/sponsors.


Thanks for reading.
Rgds, Tom (@tomwillfixit, @RITAdvocates, @ShipItCon)

Growing The Community

As we quickly approach 20 Tech Advocates from all across the island of Ireland we wanted to share some of our plans to grow the community.

Our 20 advocates are currently representing 13 counties. We will be making efforts to find advocates from some of the smaller, lesser publicised counties, especially around the midlands. We plan to primarily use our LinkedIN connections and word of mouth to raise awareness about RITA and connect with those folks who we believe can help us grow a really inclusive community. If you would like to join us or if you know of someone who would make a great advocate please drop us a mail : [email protected]

Communication

We’ve recently setup a private Discord server where our advocates are connecting and sharing their experiences and ideas. We plan to open up a public channel where anyone can drop by for a chat, share stories, connect and provide a positive input to the community. We will be using our own Code of Conduct and the Discord Community Guidelines to ensure this is a safe and welcoming space for all.

Social Media

We are planning to start a “Twitter Takeover” where our advocates will takeover the RITAdvocates account for a week and use this as an opportunity to tell followers more about themselves and what they care about. Advocates will also use this time to engage with local businesses, county councils, Meetup groups and community leaders.

Content

Our first piece of content will be a podcast featuring a discussion with some of the advocates on the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead for folks who are planning to work from rural Ireland. If there is a specific topic that you’d like covered in a future podcast please let us know.

If you would like to be involved in any of the above, either as an advocate, sponsor or partner, please get in touch.

Thanks for reading,

Tom ([email protected])

Strength in numbers

With 32 counties, Ireland has an amazingly rich tapestry of folklore and traditions. Every corner of Ireland has stories of heroes and legends, passed down through generations, shaping various parts of Ireland as we see it today.

“There is no strength without unity.”

Irish Proverb

At Rural Ireland Tech Advocates our goal is to shine a spotlight on the uniqueness of every county and connect Advocates across the whole island. We believe that every county has a part to play in #OurRuralFuture. As the community grows, we plan to organise events for Advocates and invite guest speakers to share their experiences of building both online and offline communities. Some of the other benefits for Advocates will include discounts to conferences, networking opportunities and merchandise.

If you would like to join the community as an Advocate and represent your county please get in touch : [email protected]

Thanks for reading,

Tom.

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