I’m curious about what makes some community management events really good and others, not so good.
Think of a community management event (online or in person) that you really enjoyed or found valuable. What made it so good?
It’d be great to see what people think!
The ones I’ve hosted and enjoyed the most have been interactive (e.g. working via a Miro board) or really small, where the conversation goes deep.
I don’t know how others feel, but I’ve completely switched off virtual conferences. They do absolutely nothing for me.
I did enjoy the IRL Guild event last week though (and met you, finally!), and really I want to do more of that. IRL has always been where the biggest impact happens.
I’m yet to join a proper community management event – guess I’m referring to “a conference”.
Those that are online just make me feel overwhelmed so I don’t end up joining. I spend a whole tonne of my working life involved in online events (big and small) so for some reason, it becomes a blocker to do something similar for my career growth as a community professional.
I enjoy smaller online events yet struggle to find the energy to attend if they happen to be towards the end of my working day.
I very much look forward to in-person community professional events. That disconnect from the online world would allow me to focus, connect with other attendees and have some deep chats.
I’m a fan of the unconference style and also one-track conferences with plenty of opportunity for serendipitous connections. Multi-track and my head explodes trying to work out what to attend!
Some great observations there @rosiesherry
It’s what we get out of the experiences and what we’re able to give that matters most.
For example, knowing we’ll be able to contribute and share, or we’ll have quality time to connect with others, or we’ll be able to ask a trusted expert questions, or we’ll be able to receive great insights
Virtual conferences for me need to have the right content - too many community conferences have lost the practical/useful edge and are chasing big names or appealing to beginners or decision makers. I think the right tracks in a conference (whether online or offline) make all the difference.
Yes, I was pleased to meet you (finally! :)) at Guild IRL last month. I put a lot of effort into helping to promote that event, acknowledging meaningful contributions, and in generating interest on the day. I agree, having good IRL or in-person events are really important for any profession
Thanks @simon_tomes - sounds like you’re yet to find the right type of event for you!
When I ran events as part of CMX London, we worked hard to address the topics the community had asked to hear about, and made sure we had time for online peer connection in smaller groups, even if it was just 10-15 minutes. We also made sure to offer a blend of online and offline events so we could meet the needs of remote and London-based folks. This seemed to work well.
I think it can be hard to gauge when to put events on - a lot of my work is in the charity sector where going to a peer/networking event during the day is fine, even welcomed as part of learning and development. We found for a lot of other sectors people couldn’t attend until evenings, unless it was an online ‘lunchtime’ type event.
I’m hoping we will see smaller in-person community events. They don’t have to be huge or complicated affairs involving speaker stages or sponsors. Just bring people together and have a sense of how you’ll bring value for the attendees - for seasoned facilitators that’s do-able but harder than it sounds for newbies!
I know of one unconference type event that was being organised but sadly I think they chose a Monday which is the day I’m least able to get away from the day job (service handovers and resolving weekend issues)
I think my problem with Virtual conferences is that the content is often superficial and not very helpful. I’m not against them, but selection of content generally needs to be better.
Agreed - it’s the content, or the value, that matters most. Otherwise, why would people bother to take the time or spend the ££ to attend?
Although I’ve been organising unconferences and meetups for over a decade, I’m new to community manager (cmgr) events.
Because of the pandemic, The Guild Community Summit is only my second in-person cmgr event. The first one was the cmgr breakfast club I organised earlier this year. I’ve been to a couple of others but they were socials, not focused on cmgr stuff.
I like CMX virtual events, especially a recent facilitated discussion by the Education and Nonprofit Sector chapter.
Although I value hearing talks from experts, I value discussion and collaboration more.
So I’ve decided to put my unconference skills to work for the cmgr community. As I personally learn best by doing, I’m hosting an intimate, prototype, hybrid event this month which I’ll learn from, iterate and grow over the coming years.
Unfortunately user needs and venue constraints meant it’s on Monday 27 June, which I agree Serena isn’t my personal preference. I nearly cancelled it last week, but the event space manager convinced me to go ahead with it.
So, to sum up, being together and sharing is what I enjoy and find valuable What makes it so good is expert facilitation and meeting my personal neuro-atypical and mental health needs. Plus good food really helps
Thanks for posing the question Serena.
Most important thing I’ve got from the community management conferences I’ve been to is connecting to other community managers. All those discussions with people who understand your job and who also have faced the same issues that you’re facing. This was at least as valuable as anything I got out of any official talks.
BTW, the prototype cmgr unconference went well
One of the attendees did a good writeup https://jemimagibbons.com/social-media-strategy-2/how-to-build-a-community/
You can now register your interest for an Autumn unconference via https://ti.to/community-unconference/autumn-2022
That’s a really helpful answer James. As you say, some people prefer more interactive discussion and collaboration, whereas others opt for listening to a speaker or panel with expertise.
Sorry I couldn’t make the first unconference but I’m interested in coming along to one in future. I’ve run a couple of unconference style events and providing people are willing to share topics, questions and ideas, they work really well.
I agree - it can be most helpful to connect with other peers who may have similar situations or practical experience that can be helpful. Just knowing someone else ‘gets it’ can be invaluable.
Thanks for sharing Mark, hope all is well with you