Since we had a bunch of people coming into San Francisco for OSBC, and quite a few community managers already living in the Bay Area, I thought that a meetup of community leaders would be a fun idea for the evening prior to OSBC. Initially, I thought we’d have maybe 10 people hanging out in the hotel bar, but we ended up with 20-25 people, and The 451 generously offered their space to host my get together.
It was a nice opportunity to network with other people in similar roles while having some very interesting discussions about various aspects of community management. It got me thinking about a few things. Kingsley from Salesforce.com does an incredible amount of personal outreach including searches on MySpace and Facebook for people listing Salesforce as interests. I need to think about ways that I can encourage people to participate as I build Jive Software’s developer community around products like Clearspace. Getting a few influential, community savvy, early adopters during the initial stages of the new community can also help build momentum.
Whurley also made a really good point about how each community competes with other similar communities for developers. New communities have to be interesting, compelling, and highly relevant if you want developers to take time away from other communities to spend time interacting in your community.
I definitely need to keep doing these types of events. We can learn so much from each other when we take the time to talk and share ideas about building communities. We’ll do another one of these around OSCON in Portland!