Managing communities requires tough choices sometimes. Whether that's how you're handling a difficult situation in a community, deciding between tools, or prioritizing yourself over work, there's an often-present tension between what the "right" choice is. At some point we all need to realize that there isn't always "right" choice... there's simply a choice that is slightly better than the other. Figuring out where those priorities fit in advance is always helpful so you have a matrix with which to make those decisions down the road.
For me, the best matrix looks like this:
- community first
- company second
- prioritizing ourselves above all to prevent burnout
What's your go-to priority list when push comes to shove and you have to make a decision? I'd love to hear about it! Hit reply and let me know.
As you head into the weekend, don't forget to do something for you in addition to being there for your community. It'll make any difficult decisions that come your way next week that much easier to face.
1) Don't demo things people can't immediately use.
2) Be crystal clear on your message and never do something just because you can if it doesn't further your message.
DevRel Advice Column
Conference and writer friends, I find myself at a loss when trying to write a speaker bio. Any resources or tricks you recommend?
Question for the day: What qualities constitute a “master Community Manager” in your eyes?
Discover the Best Online Brand Communities
Want to see how your online community stacks up, or what the top companies are doing? Check out this new tool from Feverbee. You can search by sector or by platform, or simply browse to your heart's content.
Building True Communities
If you have a coworker who needs to be convinced that vanity metrics aren’t worth much unless they people that represent those numbers are actually engaged with you, send them over to this article from Ernest Fung. A few key quotes from the article:
A huge follower number is great to a certain extent, but are they really your fans if they don’t care about what you have to say?
Having a small fan base is a blessing. You’re able to do things that don’t scale — and there’s no better time to do it.
You don’t want a million fans right away, you want 1,000 true fans. It doesn’t mean that you have to stop once you reach a 1,000, in fact your next 1,000 will come a lot easier as your ‘day-one’ fans will vouch for you and help you achieve your goals.
3 big steps toward building authentic developer communities
How do you build community while also meeting the needs of an organization? Follow these three steps laid out by Leslie Hawthorn:
- Understand the value of community members.
- Set clear expectations for community contribution.
- Be consistent.
The Many Definitions of 'Community'
From sharing knowledge as well as emotions to uniting for a better good to a place to tell your story, community means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. In this article from Community Folks, Pranidhi Puri asks 18 people what community means to them.
Guide to working from home
Working from home takes a special skill set that isn't as straightforward as you might think! Given how many DevRel professionals work from home or while on the road, Laura Czajkowski has taken it upon herself to share knowledge from over a decade of remote work.
Make Time for the Business Skills that Will Keep Your Community Going
Much of community management can feel like putting out one fire after another, with no time for reflection, introspection, or learning. But at the end of the day, we need to be taking the time to invest in our professional careers in order to continue properly supporting our community. This article from Lindsay Starke gives you 3 key ways to make time.
Problematic Members - Managing a Vocal Minority
There are times when 1% of your community can take up 90% of your time, and not in a good way. How do you manage the vocal minority -- the problem children in the midst of your community? Check out this article from Darren Gough to see how approaching a difficult situation in a fair and structured manner can make a huge difference.
Anytime you're looking for the direct value that DevRel is contributing back to your company, take a moment to look at the "upward cycles," as Feverbee's Richard Millington calls them. Whether it's sending stories of awesome community members to the PR team, making warm hand-offs to sales, or passing along the 5 most commonly asked questions to product & engineering, the work that you're doing provides direct value. It's just a matter of figuring out how to frame that story!
5 Podcasting Tools You Should Know About
Looking to take on the world with the next great podcast? There are a few tools you should know about first. In addition to the 5 listed here, I'd recommend Libsyn for syndication of your podcast.
The Value of Developer Relations
I had a lot of fun chatting with Patrick O'Keefe about the value of DevRel last week on the latest episode of Community Signal. We talked about what some of the best (and worst) metrics are, how being a storyteller is an important part of being in DevRel, and how to keep your team from burning out.
Community Leadership Summit
If you missed the Community Leadership Summit, be sure to mark it down for next year. I might be a tad biased, but in my opinion, it's one of the best professional development conferences for community builders out there. Mornings are packed with keynotes, but the afternoons are all facilitated by the attendees: what topics are interesting to us? what have we been wondering about? what are we struggling with? The topics range from forums and in-person events to Codes of Conduct and how to push reset on your community efforts.
Here are a few of my favorite tweets from the weekend:
As a community manager, most important that your boss understands community. Boss more important than where in the org. It's hard to teach. #CLSummit
Metrics: they’re not just because your boss wants them; they are good for your community.
Ding ding - first mention of communities as ecosystems. One of my favourite concepts right now. Ecosystems need systems perspectives (and this can make metrics and evaluation challenging). I've also found it helpful to think about the flow of inputs --> outputs --> outcomes. Are you measuring outputs or outcomes or both? Outcomes could take a lot longer to become visible and depend on multiple factors.
Productivity = ratio of outcomes to inputs.
Effectiveness = ratio of outcomes to outputs
Efficiency = ratio of outputs to inputs
Find the full Twitter stream here.
(Image copyright Jim Grisanzio)
DevRelCon Tokyo also happened this past week! If you missed it, here are a few key tweets to keep you up to speed until Hoopy releases the conference videos:
"Don't be a gate keeper. Raise the community so there will be people to take your place when you leave." -Satoru Fujiwara
Good tip from @DEGoodmanWilson "If you aren't enjoying what you're doing, change it. Find what you're passionate about and pursue it with fire."
Everyone not in DevRel:
– Y'all basically partying all over the world on company money! 💸
Everyone at #DevRelCon:
– I know… devrel isn't as glamorous as it seems… it's exhausting and soul-crushing… but I beg you, try finding at least a bit of fun! 🙏
If you can't measure it,
you can’t improve it.
Want to see more of the conversation? Join the #DevRelCon hashtag on Twitter.
Recent Conference Talks & Recaps
If you've been experiencing FOMO from all of the awesome conferences happening around the globe, fear not! Many of the speakers are posting their slides and conferences have begun releasing videos. Hunker down with your favorite beverage and snack and enjoy a day of DevRel content!
Developer Relations Events
As conference season spins up for the 3rd time this year, you can be sure that there are enough DevRel events to go around. Whether online or offline, there are all sorts of ways to meet up with your fellow DevRel-ians.
Developer Relations Jobs
Exploring the possibility of a new job as you enjoy your last few weeks of summer? Look no further. See a job that's out of date or know of one that should be added? Hit reply and let me know!
Developer Avocados 🥑
Speaking of tough decisions... how many times have you debated whether those 3 medium avocados that you need to make the best guacamole ever are really worth the cost? One thing you can be sure of... the price is high because the cost is high, not just because of the classic supply and demand model. Well, ok... so it's more than a little like the classic supply and demand model. But also, there's been an avocado shortage that's adding complication to the mix.