Content is vital to any community. Uncommunity #43
👋 Hey there! Rafy here.
Welcome to the latest issue of Uncommunity - the newsletter that helps you become a better community builder. We bring you community experts’ interviews, content on communities, tools to scale community or events, and jobs to be applied.
This week, our guest for the AMA is Hugh Lashbrooke. Hugh Lashbrooke is the Head of Community Education at Automattic, where he works on the WordPress open-source project. For over 8 years, he has been involved in exciting community initiatives such as the WordPress meetup program, launching a charity hackathon event series, building an educational platform, and much more.
Let’s go 🚀🚀
What's your definition of Hybrid Communities?
A hybrid community is one that serves all its members equitably, regardless of whether they are exclusively online or offline. It’s not easy to build this kind of community - it requires being hyper-aware of members’ needs and intentional about meeting them effectively.
How critical is content when building communities?
Content is vital to any community, and that holds true regardless of your interpretation of ‘content’. Ultimately, a community is a group of people who connect over a shared interest, and if there isn’t any content to connect over then the community doesn’t really have a place to come together.
We are seeing Community Education related roles more & more. What changed in the community industry? Why is community education important?
I don’t think anything changed as such, but rather people have become increasingly aware of the opportunity that communities have to provide relevant training in specific areas of expertise. By definition, communities include people with incredibly specific skillsets, so taking advantage of that internal knowledge to provide education and training to community members just makes sense.
I think this has come to the fore now, more than in the past, largely because the pandemic has forced a lot of people to look for new or additional sources of income, many of which require new skills for which communities are uniquely suited to provide training. People have found a need to upskill quickly - a university degree isn’t going to help them, so turning to experts in their community is an excellent option.
In today's world, what can new brands learn from open source software on building thriving communities?
Open-source thrives on transparency and collaboration, whereas the default behaviour for brands is to keep things close and not allow potential competitors to get a look in. If more brands adopted an open-source mindset and focused on collaboration with others, even potential competitors, then they would find the value their community provides will increase exponentially.
What's your take on building community first, product second?
I suppose it would depend on what the purpose of your community is. I’m a big believer in brands building communities of interest - where the community is about the topic and content, regardless of the brand that created it. Some great examples of this are Indie Hackers, Community Club, and Culture First, although there are plenty of others. If your focus is on providing value to people as a community with a shared interest then the product can come later on, and that’s OK - in fact, a handy side-effect is that it would give you a fantastic source of ideas for your product before you even build it.
If, on the other hand, your community is all about your product and not the general topic of interest, then the product must come first by necessity. Building a product community without a product is disingenuous at best.
What's the best article on communities you've read ever?
I’ve read a lot over the years and continue to do so every day - it would be an impossible task to find a single excellent article from all that time. I do thoroughly enjoy the posts from Rosie Land and Commsor and Evan Hamilton’s Community Manager Breakfast.
Advice to someone who's just getting started in community management?
Be open, be honest, and be real - this industry, more than most, can spot a fake from miles away. “Fake it till you make it” is terrible advice - being real, and consequently being open to learning, will get you much further than any pretence of prior success you could fabricate.
Follow Hugh on Twitter.
*Knock knock* Are you with me? Okay, great. Because we are just getting started! Read on to know what’s happening (or happened) in the world of Community Management.
What else we’re reading?
The importance of community in a crisis.
If you have a data breach or a product recall issue, and you need to reach customers quickly, an active, managed online community will be the fastest, most effective way to do that. Here are some ways you can make use of when crisis hits.
This Simple Hack Will Increase Chances of Your Community Members Following Guidelines. Community guidelines can only be of value if community members adhere to them — and that’s only possible if members are aware of your guidelines, understand your guidelines, and finally, are motivated to follow them. That’s why Gesche Haas, who’s been running the Dreamers and Doers community since the last 8 years, is sharing this super-simple hack. It’s so easy, it might nearly seem too obvious.
The CEO of Roblox on Scaling Community-Sourced Innovation.
The company’s decision to embrace UGC opened it up to a whole new world of innovation, well beyond what its employees could envision or manage. Roblox achieved it with a culture that values long-term thinking, employees with a founder’s mindset, a laser focus on end users, and an organizational structure that helps them stay creative and engaged.
Read on to know more.
What makes a community go viral? Shrey Singh has the STEPS model for you to grab.
Ritualistic Community Examples. Struggling to create rituals for your community? Here are the templates to get started.
Why I care so much about community. And you should too. Read here.
The Intersection of Community + Category Design. Jenny Weigle explores where does Community come into the picture in the process of category design.
The Community Operations Job Description. In this article, Tiffany Oda lists the job descriptions that you can use as inspiration as you embark on the journey of hiring a CommOps professional.
[EVENT] Leveraging Events & Rituals to Boost Community Engagement. RSVP here.
The Harsh Reality of Running an Online Community. Let’s get real, raw and honest. Which of these confessions hits home for you?
[PODCAST] Community Pulse: From execution to strategy. Listen.
Just one conversation a day..
Talked to your members lately?
Subtle yet powerful.
The trade off is worth it.
Here’s a handy guide for your to bookmark!
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