Specialization can lead to loneliness.
It’s true. No matter how good you are or how much you like to work independently, at the end of the day we would love to discuss our passions with our peers. Its not always easy when at the office your seen as the expert. Its not like your going to go to a local bar and happen to find someone who is an expert either. This is where I really urge people to actively find a community within their expertise. Not communities that are going to be your hiking buddies or the people you go to happy hour with.
Technical Benefits of Communities
You need to find people in your space, people who deal with your same problems and issues. At the end of the day when you are good at what you do, you can get complacent. This means you can become privy to updates in the industry and when you are unchecked, you may not realize that you may not be doing everything to the best of your ability.
Benefits of joining a community include:
- Access to industry updates from your peers. With so many ears its easier to stay up to date with everything
- Solutions to problems that you may be having. This can come in templates, tools, resources, etc. that may be perfect for what your dealing with
- Increased authority. People respect those who are active and constantly interacting. Your standing in your industry will begin to climb so long as you stay committed to it.
Personal Benefits of Communities:
I’m a big believer of balance. So including the personal benefits is so important to me. When you joining communities that are a part of your life, you become more well connected and know that there are others who are dealing with your same issues. Being able to vent, discuss and figure out ways to get past your unique problems of the industry can push you past frustrated and into feeling zen.
- Camaraderie and a feeling of connection. Knowing that there are other people who care just as much about the work you do.
- Sense of Empathy. By giving to the community and helping your other peers, it makes you feel like an active member of the community, contributing to the overall good
- Funnel for Friends. When you help others and consistently see other users at a community, friendships will form
Let’s Just Rip the Band Aid Off and Get Rid of Some Negative Connotations
Communities make people think of things like forums. Forums make people think of ugly user interfaces that are filled with anti socialites. A common way people think of these forum and online community participants are of people who don’t have friends, parked in their garage who have nothing better to do than to go online and talk to others about trivial issues.
Well, lets just get rid of that now. The internet is dominant. And many of the social medias you use have some ancestry into forums.
Communities are much more prevalent and common on the internet. This is because with the internet being so accessible now its hard to enjoy oneself through all the filth. Online communities solve that. With areas that are devoted to your skills and passions, you can filter all the filth and concentrate on things that you actually like. Many of these communities have the same operations like many of your favorite social medias, so learning to use them is relatively easy.
Where to Find Communities
Communities exist almost everywhere that is possible. Many websites have blogs and membership forums. Twitter has things like Twitter Chats, Facebook with Facebook groups and many sites dedicated to be a forum.
The best way to look is to do a simple Google search. Type in your industry and type in forums, twitter chats, or groups. Remember, your not going to find all of them immediately either and nor should you. There is no way you will be able to manage and participate all of these different groups. Pick a couple that you have an affinity towards, start contributing and getting your comfort level up. Once you’ve developed a habit, then start moving on and contributing in other areas.