Community Manager Tip: Meet People in Person

For those of us who manage global online communities, meeting people in person isn’t always easy. However, it is important to find ways to meet people in real life whenever possible, and we should be careful not to underestimate the value of making these real world connections. Last week, I attended LinuxCon where I gave a presentation about the MeeGo Community and did more demos than I can count, but the real value of the conference was in the conversations that I had with community members.

Some thoughts on why this is so important:

  • You put a face to the name and start to build better relationships with people.
  • People will provide different feedback in person and will often talk more frankly about community issues that they would not be comfortable putting in writing in a public forum.
  • It’s fun! These are people that you have something in common with and you can have some really interesting conversations with people and make new friends in the process.
  • I return from conferences refreshed with new ideas that come from having conversations with people outside of the typical daily routine.

Additional Reading

Part of a series of community manager tips blog posts.

Photo by Aaron Hockley of Hockley Photography.

3 thoughts on “Community Manager Tip: Meet People in Person”

  1. IRC, Email, and collaboration forums are essential, but they are missing a lot. In-person interaction is a far richer communication environment. Barriers to saying ‘hello’ to people and directness with them are reduced, respectfulness is improved, and it’s almost required for creating a shared experience, which is cement that holds relationships together. It’s exactly the reason why I plunked down a wad of change to get out to Linuxcon this year, and try to show up from time to time at community gatherings.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Many of the most engaged community member on my community I’ve met in person. It’s amazing…. you think that they are engaged and then after you meet they become even MORE engaged. The personal connection that we make off like carries into the community seamlessly and engages even more people in the conversation.

  3. I think you read people’s emails differently after you’ve heard their voice. You know their sense of humor, their speech rhythm, etc. You can actually understand them better on email and IRC.

    Plus it’s really hard to have a beer or a coffee together over email. 🙂

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