Access to social media platforms is something that we don’t think twice about. We simply log on, like, share, and post. But what if you have accessibility problems?
In this practical article, Erin Tierney walks through ways to make sure your social media accounts are not only engaging but accessible to all of your community members.
Matt Asay gave a fantastic talk at DevXcon last week. In fact, his was one of my favorites, not because it delved into the latest and greatest tools, but because it went back to the basics of why we do what we do, and how we do it successfully. You don't start with tools or even a hire -- you start with asking questions like "Who is our audience?" and "Why is that the community we're going after?" Only by answering those questions can you begin to build a strategy around DevRel that will be successful at your unique company.
He gives a great summary of his talk in this Tech Republic article that should be mandatory reading for anyone looking to venture into DevRel at their company.
Derek Powazek wrote up a powerful statement this week on what is (and isn't) community management, and what it actually involves. Rather than summarize, I'm simply going to give you a TL;DR from his post (but trust me... it's worth clicking through to read the full piece!).
Anyone who’s ever managed a community knows how complicated people are. A reasonable community member can suddenly have a bad day. Sometimes things that look like bad contributions are honest mistakes. Other times things that look reasonable to a bystander are known to be abusive to the sender and recipient... Point is, we’re complicated critters.
Of course humans need tools to help manage community. I’ve built systems to do this. And, sure, machine learning can be part of that. But I fear the leaders of Twitter and Facebook are depending too much on technology (again), and overlooking the kinds of systems that are great at this kind of empathetic flexible pattern recognition: humans.
...Thus far, [their communities have] been for everyone and everything. It’s time to rethink that. While there’s a community for everyone, not everyone is welcome in every community, and that’s okay. That’s how communities work.
You can’t create a system for everyone, where everything goes, not communicate the rules, not design for community, and then say it’s just too hard to protect everyone. This end state is the outcome of all of those decisions. And AI is not going to be the patch that fixes all the bugs.
If you've been reading my newsletter faithfully, you know that I have a great deal of respect for Carrie Jones, who just recently launched a newsletter herself! While mine is links- and news-driven, hers is more conversation-driven, and I think you'll find a lot of value in it. If you're a community professional, I'd encourage you to read the first issue and subscribe today!
Fabian Pfortmüller nails it with this recent article. So many communities struggle with this "rollercoaster" of highs and lows. How many of us have had to write messages like "So sorry it's been so quiet, but here's this awesome thing coming soon!" and then we disappear again for a few more months? ✋As Fabian says,
Consistency matters, because it affects how members assess the future of the group.
In short, small, consistent communication is far better than the occasional awesome surprise.
Another name for community manager could be relationship manager. After all, we're often connecting, moderating, and influencing relationships among community members. But how often do we also connect, moderate, and influence relationships internal to our organizations? This article from Community By Association talks about how to navigate interdepartmental relationships just as smoothly as you do community ones, which is likely a skill all of us could use to improve.
It's fairly obvious based on last week's acquisition that Microsoft is a different company than they used to be. Under the direction of Satya Nadella for the last four years, it's become clear that Nadella's main focus is not just developers, but developer communities, and it seems to be working for him. No matter how you feel about the Github acquisition, it should be a feather in our caps -- something that excites us as community and DevRel professionals. After all, if Microsoft can justify the business value of community to the tune of $7.5 billion, that should help pave the way for us to justify a $3000 event sponsorship.
The Community Roundtable gives us one more reason why it's crucial for us as community professionals to build relationships internally at our companies as well as externally: we can engage people across departments and deliver value by making connections between our coworkers, just like we connect those in our communities.
In this article, they dive into all of the different functions that Community Management can serve within a company.
I'm always hesitant to believe in something that says it's "the right way" -- largely because I believe there's more than one "right way" for most things. That being said, this article from Babble founder Juyan Azhang is fairly spot on! Here are the 7 principles he says are necessary in order to build a successful community.
What else would you add to the list? Hit reply to let me know, or leave a comment for him to take part in the conversation.
I've been poring over this three-part series on community conferences this week (start with Part 1) as we're 2 months out from REdeploy and things are ramping up!
Nicola Corti walks through how to choose a venue, what needs to go in the CFP, how to ask for help, setting up a website and schedule, and more. If you're planning a conference (and aren't a whiz at event planning from top to bottom), this is an incredible resource!
Teamwork and inter-departmental communication can be a tricky subject when it comes to Developer Relations. Figuring out where your job starts and ends and overlaps with 5 other roles throughout the company isn't an easy position to be in! In the latest episode of Community Pulse, PJ, Jason, and I sat down with Greg Bulmash and J. Paul Reed to talk about team dynamics, communication, maintaining good relationships, and more. Check it out wherever you listen to podcasts and then head over to communitypulse.io to check out the show notes.