Paying Me, Paying you.
Being part of the Community that is open provides everyone with many levels at which they can take part, contribute and interact. However it was not until I read this article by Jeremiah Owyang; “Paying yourself and one thing leads to another” that the lightbulb went on in my head and I realised how much you can get back from a community by taking part.
This “thought” had been bouncing around my head for a few days following a conversation with Dave Murphy ( Schwuk ) about how to make use of Social Networks and Communities. I had already expressed that the value in these online services is not in how many contacts you can collect, which for many is how they rate their own success , but in how those contacts enrich or inform you and in turn how your own contribution can shape that community. An idea which could very well be encapsulated by the word “Ubuntu“.
Taking Jeremiahs advice to heart I am making a dedicated effort to contribute more in the following areas since each of these contribtutions will as an investment of my time reap a reward in the future.
Many “new to linux and ubuntu” users are more likely to have come from the world of Windows Support which tends towards Forums and Bulletin boards ( sweeping assumptions aside, thank you Gervase !) . The forums own RSS feeds which provide me a list of new and unanswered posts for the day provide a rich vein of opportunity to dive right in and answer questions and respond to thoughts quickly. For many the Forums are the first exposure to open source support and the feeling that there is a community out there listening to them is important.
Ubuntu Mailing Lists.
I , like others, am beginning to find email a burden in terms of personal communication and since twitter and pownce and facebook are keeping me in more direct contact my email client is generally just a inbox for maillists and notifications. Similarly responding on the mail list is as important to community involvement as the forums and taking part in the conversation keeps me as informed as I can be. It would be great though if I could access the Maillist via RSS.
This Blog and others
As a method of promoting the brand of Nik Butler this Blog has been great at establishing a personality in regards to my own interactions with the open source community. I have also been very lucky to have a few articles published on OreillyGMT recently and I will be using that platform to promote more business and commercial interactions between myself and the outside world. I am also currently working on my other brands Reduced Hackers and Azydeco and those will have their own content and presentation quite different from here. Each however should be updated regularly to maintain the “presence” and “credibility” of my online personality, or brand. In publishing my thoughts here I am sure to get some feedback recommending or directing my ideas into other territories which will benefit me further.
Facebook and Pownce.
I have started an experiment to move my clients and conversations away from email and into Facebook and Pownce thanks to the controlled nature of the content I can keep client conversations in the Client space and not saturated with notifications and subscriptions I can also use the “presence” of these sights to help inform my clients and readers as to my own activities.
Of all the Social Networking sites this one has managed to maintain is momentum and excitement long after the story moved on. Through Twitter I have been able to stay in contact with the current conversation(s) for eveyone whom I follow and have friended. This in turn has kept informed me of events and news as well as enabled me to provide more current advice and direction to my own clients.
I have found RSS to the only way to encapsulate all the incoming news feeds into a coherent and sensible method of coming up to speed with what is new and current on the net today. I am not alone in this since Robert Scoble and Vic Stringer , two social network contributors at totally different ends of the user spectrum find RSS the best way to manage inputs. Sharing articles I locate from Google Reader which may be of interest to me or my readers has opened some interesting conversations and invitations just in bringing them to others attention.
With RSS I have the input methods which are bringing me upto speed and helping me to stay current on news stories and upcoming events. I primarily use email now as a way to track mail list conversations and to be notified of payments or updates to processes. Much of my daily conversations now take place in Twitter, Pownce and Skype and IRC . I still get spam but its restrained to Email and is becoming less relevant every day. What is interesting in the above contributions is that they do not require a level of “technical” skill or certain knowledge but a willingness to add to the pot of ideas in a positive way.
I blogged this more because of Jeremiah and Daves comments and since I have been asked quite a few times this week as to the best way to contact me or how do I stay informed I thought to write about my experiences. It will be interesting to see where this is in one years time. I look forward to the comments and ideas which come from this post.
Thanks for reading.