Community has been such a significant keyword in my life throughout 2010 that I had to mindmap everything I could think of relating to community in my life this past year (hence the image to the left). Yea, a lot, right?
First of all, to answer the first part of today’s #reverb10 prompt, “Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010?” Believe it or not, online communities often help formulate IRL relationships. I know, hard to believe that having profound, intelligent, and sometimes emotional conversations in an online community could move you to actually want to meet a stranger in public. But it’s true. It’s 2010. That’s what people do. 3.5 places I found community this year:
- Brazen Careerist: If I were picking favorites here, I would pick Brazen Careerist (BC) as my favorite online community of 2010 (and part of 2009). I also want to take the time here to recognize two amazing community managers, Ryan Paugh and James Moreau, for being instrumental in helping me feel like a real part of the BC community and helping me to find (or create) good communities within the network. Oh, and Rebecca Thorman–because she encouraged me to participate more frequently & deeply by always posing the most interesting questions and continuing conversations offline about the network. So not only did I meet a group of motivated job seekers and professionals, we’ve continued to relate to each other as members of the community as if it were an alma mater. For example, just today one of my bosses interviewed a friend of mine for a job where I work. During the interview my friend explained that she met me through an online network, Brazen Careerist, even before she moved to Raleigh. And now we’re good friends. And I’m helping her get a job. Oh and I discovered (well, actually I beta tested…) Network Roulette on BC. It’s not exactly its own community, but it’s a great place to start to find just about anyone you may want to start/join/participate in an online or IRL community. In a nutshell: without BC I would literally would not be a part of any of the communities I am a part of today. It has been that important. Even if I’m not an active member every month, it’s importance will never go away.
- Tweetups: Tweetup: An organized or impromptu gathering of people that use Twitter. At fist I thought this was the geekiest Twitter fad ever. Then I realized they’re real. And fun. And not going away. Because basically it just means using Twitter to find people with common interests to join in on activities. Ummm awesome! Last I checked a community was “an interacting population of like-minded individuals”. Tweetups of all kinds have been instrumental in getting me out of my shell and into the community. I’ve gone to all sorts of tweetups: movie tweetups, social media tweetups, idea-sharing tweetups, ice-skating tweetups, not-at-sxsw tweetups, etc. I met some of my new best friends at these events. Whenever I travel somewhere and I have some free time I set up a tweetup or join in on one in the city I’m traveling to. I’m never worried about not fitting in with the crowd because anyone who knows what a tweetup is is a friend of mine and we’ll have plenty to talk about! The more the merrier! Thank god I have a social life!
- PechaKucha Nights Raleigh: I MADE THIS! I’m so freaking proud of building this community practically from the ground up. I must thank my mom dearly for asking for my help when she wanted to bring another idea-sharing event to Raleigh, PK Nights and needed help with promotion and getting the word out about the event. I was so wary of getting involved in another project when I was trying to focus on changing my career, but organizing and creating this PKN community ended up being the best thing I could have done this year. Imagine, I actually somehow convince between 100-200 people every few months to come stand in a room for 2 hours watching people get up in front of the crowd and talk about their passions, however odd they may be. PechaKucha Nights manage to bring together a group of people all similarly passionate about being open-minded, creative, and sparking interesting conversation. These are truly my people. Gawd, it makes me all teary-eyed!
- TCDC: Aka the Triangle Community of Developing Careerists. Uhhh “community” is in the name of the description. I thought I had to include it. This is another community a fellow Brazen Careerist member and I spent most of 2010 defining and finally putting into practice by October. I won’t say too much about this because this is already getting too long.
The second part of the prompt asks, “What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?”
The fact of the matter is, I feel like I’m being pulled in a million directions these days. I only mentioned the most important communities above, but if you knew how many other groups, teams, and communities I belong to you would probably think I’m insane (maybe I am)! Matt Cheuvront actually reminded me in his recent post on community that sometimes we need to let go of some communities. So for 2011 I would like to commit more time to one community (aka a team) rather than spend just a little bit of time on a lot of communities. I want something to put all my passion and energy into. If this is cryptic in any way, what I mean is: I’m ready to join a company full-time, for pay, working with a team that I really feel a part of and doing work that I can really get behind. At this very moment (a situation that changes monthly) I’m working 20hrs/week with a “community” that doesn’t care about me in the slightest, 8hrs/week interning with a small local startup that I *really could* get behind, freelancing a few hours a month purely to help a friend out and get a little extra cash, and volunteer organizing events for two different nonprofit groups (PKN & TCDC).
And just for kicks, I think it’d be pretty cool if I could pull off more deeply connecting with:
- My UNC-Chapel Hill alumni network. I’ve been seeing alumni pop up all over the place recently and I have an even stronger connection with alumni now than with the students while I was enrolled at school there. In full disclosure, I actually only spent a total of 4 semesters on campus at UNC and never had a hell of a lot of school spirit. But now that being an alum appears to be a GOOD THING, I’m way more excited about meeting other UNC graduates :)
- Organized, stress-free, GTD people. Now that’s a community I’d like to be associated with. I used to be the “organized” person in the family–organized my sock drawer, my closet by color, everything was in its right place, etc. Then I don’t know, I guess my life got busy or something? I’ve been reading David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity and I’m in love. I must find others who’ve made an organized life for themselves and be their friend. I hear that you start acting like the people you associate yourself with.
In participation with #reverb10.