It's as easy as attaching a spreadsheet to an email - that's fun!
posted this on May 28, 2011 13:38
I spent one winter taking people sailing for weekly vacations in the British Virgin Islands on the second largest trimaran (three hulls) sailboat in the world. The skipper of the sailboat had a principle that I've never forgotten. He would tell us, "the easier it is, the better it gets done". I think the Socrata team must have sailed with him too.
The next time someone asks you how much time and effort it takes to actually publish data, I recommend you share this: "If you have the skills to attach a spreadsheet to an email, you have all the skills required to publish a dataset. It's that easy." When I say this, I often see eyes widen or signs of relief. Could it be that easy to get started? yes, it is. This is part of the genius of the Socrata architects. While the platform is very powerful, the beginning publisher does not need to understand technology to publish datasets. This allows a new publisher of a system to rapidly put data online and have fun doing it! It is the single most important contribution to the "Wow" factor for the new, non-technical publisher.
Those who do know technology have lots of options as well. But their time is expensive and they are usually working on other projects and cannot turn their attention to help with publishing until it gets much higher in the dreaded priority queue. No problem - you don't need their time to get started.
Making publishing so easy for the beginner is a welcome change from systems that appear to cater only to advanced users. Who would have thought publishing data could be fun? But that's what I hear from many new non-technical publishers. They are having fun!
My old sailing skipper in the Caribbean would approve!