What Does It Take To Build Community?
Clearly, the pandemic has had an impact on community activities. Many user groups and partner communities were able to migrate to an online format, which has been fantastic. However, as businesses and communities return to normal, there is still some hesitance for many on going back to full-fledged in-person events. While companies and user groups alike are experimenting with hybrid activities, most people are reporting severe online fatigue. Opinions vary on what the future will look like — or how fast we will get to that future.
Within the Microsoft ecosystem, many were surprised by the announcement that a pillar of the community — the SPSevent.org site, with a team of long-time volunteers — announced that they would be shutting down the site after more than a decade. With an outpouring of thanks and gratitude for the organizing team (Eric, Susan, et al), the question remains: what now? Do we need a centralized calendar and hub for community-focused events? Or has the pattern been set, and people will figure things out on their own? What tools are needed to help us support and continue to build community? And what will be the long-term impact of SPSevents shutting down?
In the next #CollabTalk TweetJam taking place on Wednesday, September 22nd at 9am Pacific (UTC -7), the community will once again join forces and have a focused discussion on the topic of “The Evolution of Community.” In this 1-hour Twitter-based panel discussion, we’ll bring together Microsoft MVPs and RDs, community experts, Microsoft partners, consultants, and practitioners to share their perspectives and real-world examples for the changes happening to our local, regional, and global communities — from user groups and SharePoint Saturday events, to global customer and partner events — and what we can do to embrace and/or manage these changes.
Anyone can join this community discussion using Twitter and the #CollabTalk hashtag or your favorite Twitter platform. You don’t even need to be an “expert” to participate in the online conversation. Anyone can ask questions, comment on the questions posed, or just “lurk” in the background. These online discussions are open to anyone — you do not have to be on the panel to participate.
If you have never participated in one of these tweetjams, it’s pretty simple: anyone can jump in and share their thoughts, or just lurk in the wings and absorb the wisdom of the crowd. Either way, it’ll be a TON of content to consume in a single hour. You can follow the live session using the Twitter UI of your choice (Twitter.com, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, whatever). How it works is that I’ll post a series of questions every few minutes, and people will respond to Q1, Q2, Q3 and so forth with A1, A2, A3, always including the #CollabTalk hashtag with their answers. Feel free to reply as often (or as little) as you’d like, ask your own follow up questions, share relevant links, re-tweet others, and engage with the audience.
The questions we will discuss during the session include:
- How did you first get involved in community? What is your “origin story”?
- With so many online events, what do you predict will be the future of in-person events?
- What will be the community impact of SPSevents shutting down? Does community need a centralized site/service to survive?
- What tools and resources do you rely on for building and supporting your community efforts?
- What help should Microsoft and other partners/sponsors provide to the community? What help is essential versus nice-to-have?
- What are your best-practices for growing community, whether locally, regionally, or globally?
- What are your community-building plans, going forward?
As always, there will be side-questions, side-conversations, and wise-cracking throughout. This is open to the public, so please join in the discussion! The dialog is always thought-provoking and fun.
Participating on this panel (so far):
- Eric Overfield (@ericoverfield), Microsoft RD & SharePoint MVP, founder of PixelMill
- Kevin McDonnell (@kevmcdonk), Office Apps & Services MVP and solutions architect at CPS
- Jay Leask (@jayleask), Office Apps & Services MVP and US federal director, strategic accounts & solutions for AvePoint Public Sector
- Jon Levesque (@JonJLevesque), lead product evangelist at DocuSign
- Laura Rogers (@WonderLaura), SharePoint MVP, consultant, and owner of IW Mentor
- Dux Raymond Sy (@meetdux), Microsoft Regional Director, SharePoint MVP, and Chief Brand Officer at AvePoint
- Adam Ball (@AdamCBall), co-founder of COUCUG, Teams and Skype for Business MVP
- Jennifer Mason (@jennifermason), SharePoint MVP, Microsoft regional Director and vp of workforce transformation & learning at Planet Technologies
- Suzanne George (@spgenie), Microsoft Regional Director, MCTS, and chief architect for collaboration services at Cognizant
- John White (@diverdown1964), dual SharePoint and Data Platform MVP, cto at UnlimitedViz and tyGraph
- Martina Grom (@magrom), co-founder of atwork.at, Office 365 MVP and Microsoft Regional Director
- John Peluso (@johnconnected), Microsoft Regional Director, and chief product officer at AvePoint
- Stacy Deere-Strole (@sldeere), SharePoint MVP and owner of Focal Point Solutions
- Mike Maadarani (@mikemaadarani), Office Apps & Services MVP, cloud solution architect at MCM Consulting
- Hal Hostetler (@TVWizard), Microsoft MVP and senior field engineer and social media coordinator for Roland, Schorr & Tower
- Ben Stegink (@benstegink), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure consultant, owner of Intelligink, LLC
- Ed Senez (@edsenez), president at UnlimitedViz and tyGraph
- Galen Keene (@sdkeene), consultant and collaboration architect, managing partner at Butterfly Technologies
- Seb Matthews (@sebmatthews), consultant, entrepreneur, evangelist, freemason, world traveler
- Kurt Kragh Sørensen (@KurtKragh), intranet consultant and owner of IntraTeam.com
- Wes Preston (@idubbs), SharePoint MVP, evangelist, and owner at TrecStone
- Paul Swider (@pswider), cto at RealActivity, and enterprise SharePoint strategist
- Matt Varney (@thevarnish), intranet manager at KCTCS
- Craig Jahnke (@techJahnke), co-founder Chicago Power Platform User Group, co-chair M365 Chicago, customer engineer at Microsoft
- Alex Terentiev (@alexaterentiev), Office Development MVP, member of the PnP team, solution architect and developer for SharePointalist
- David Drever (@DavidMDrever), Office Apps & Services MVP, senior manager and enterprise architect at Protiviti
- Sascha Fredrich (@saschaF80), IT consultant of Microsoft solutions at bei Bechtle AG
- Doug Ware (@DougWare), associate director at EY
- Shari Oswald (@shortcutshari), co-founder and productivity evangelist at PowerUP! Learning
- Tobiasz Koprowski (@KoprowskiT), Data Platform MVP, founder and consultant at Shadowland Consulting
- Eli Robillard (@erobillard), SharePoint MVP, musician, fly-fisher, collaboration technology guy
- and your host, Christian Buckley (@buckleyplanet), Microsoft MVP & RD, #CollabTalk founder, Microsoft gtm director at AvePoint
If you would like to be included on one of these panels, please drop me a line via email, LinkedIn, or Twitter. And thank you again to tyGraph for your support of these CollabTalk tweetjams! And finally, if you are interested in being a sponsor of a future tweetjam, please contact me.
We’ll be back on October 22nd with another tweetjam focussed on “Staying Productive in a Multi-Tenant, Multi-Cloud World,” so be sure to follow me (@buckleyplanet) for news and updates.