I've been building websites for a long time, and I'm still learning. I was still in elementary school when I started learning HTML, and things have come a long way since then. Only a few years ago I started learning how to use a CMS to make regular updates easier, and I've recently started learning how to build web-based applications from scratch. Seeing some lines of text you've written turn into a functioning website is extremely satisfying, and thanks to ThinkUp I've started having the joy of contributing to an open source web-app and learning from their community.
So what is ThinkUp, and what does it do? Well, it's open source software that "stores your social data in a database you control, and makes it easy to search, sort, filter, export, and visualize in useful ways." It's a great tool for a Twitter power-user, but even more useful for businesses who want to really connect and learn from their customers using social networks.
So how did I get involved? Well, the project is hosted on GitHub where development is open to anyone willing to help. I saw very small bug listed, fixed it, and submitted the change. A few days later I saw another minor issue I thought I could handle, and again fixed and submitted. After a few days I was very encouraged when I noticed my name in the "contributors" section despite my "contributions" being very small.
I'm hoping I can continue to learn more and make bigger contributions, but until then I'll be taking on all the small tasks I can. I've always appreciated open source software and it finally feels good to have something to contribute to. Thanks to Gina and the ThinkUp community for a cool app to play with, I'm looking forward to seeing what I can learn.
If you've always wanted to learn how to build websites, don't hold back! There are tons of resources like W3Schools that make it easy. If web development isn't your thing, you can still give ThinkUp a shot if you have a web host or server.