Are you an expert on the theme of your community?


(Cristina Salzillo) #1

How many of you are currently managing communities that are about a subject that you don’t know or you are not passionate?
If so, how did you create engagement, conversation starters and deal with field experts?


(Piper_Wilson) #2

I’m currently an assistant for a community dedicated to UX (user experience) http://community.uxmastery.com/.

I am in no way close to being an expert but, I am passionate about people and the topic really is interesting. There is a lot of psychology and problem solving involved.

I like to think that I’d be able to be passionate about any community because my interest actually lies with the people but I’ve never been in a community for sludge miners so I can’t be sure.

My understanding is that there are two schools of thought with this. One says that you can take an expert and teach them to manage a community. The other says that you can take a ‘people person’ and train them to be experts.

I don’t ever see myself as a UX designer or expert, but I can do research, take notes, read a LOT and learn about the people in my community; their interests, passions, experience, etc.


(Cristina Salzillo) #3

Thanks @Piper_Wilson ! I didn’t know about the two school of thought! I guess I belong to the first then.
I am now creating a community with some sub-communities of different types of professionals all studying different masters degree in our University online. I have narrowed different areas of interest and gathered some founders for each group, and I am now working with them.
Even if I love learning all the new things that these people are bringing to the plate, it is impossible that I will become an expert myself, (we are talking about doctors, or finance experts, etc.)
Assuming this, I am empowering the members to be the engine of the community and me the facilitator.
I have some members that took the lead and are coming up with great ideas for webinars and contributions we can feature in the community.
It is taking a lot of time in the implementation of these ideas.
They express them not in a structured way, and since I am not an expert on the matter, I don’t know how to feel the blanks that they leave.
So we spend a lot of time going back and forth with emails, recaps and meetings where I ask for more info.

If you also are not experts on the subject of your community, what kind of procedures do you have in place with your superusers?
I was also hoping that there might be some pre-made materials that I can use to guide the members in channelling their efforts in the right direction. For example, a document that they have to fill for a webinar, or something for an article so that from our side we can understand easier and faster the core of what they want to create.


(Piper_Wilson) #4

When in doubt, ask more questions.

Unfortunately, I’m only a few weeks in so I don’t have any outward facing procedures with our gold members yet. At the moment, I’m focusing on welcoming new members. I look for threads and resources to answer any questions they have.

Here’s some strategy information that should help you get started. https://www.feverbee.com/strategy/


(Shreyas) #5

I’m definitely not an expert in my community. We have a community of people who work on DevOps, JavaScript, android, data science, machine learning etc. So there’s no way I could be an expert in all these topics. However, I make sure I stay updated on the latest topics enough to hold a conversation about the topic, the trends etc. My role is mainly to connect people in the community. [quote=“Piper_Wilson, post:2, topic:6062”]
One says that you can take an expert and teach them to manage a community. The other says that you can take a ‘people person’ and train them to be experts.

I don’t ever see myself as a UX designer or expert, but I can do research, take notes, read a LOT and learn about the people in my community; their interests, passions, experience, etc.
[/quote]

This pretty much sums up everything I have to say.


(Sarah Hawk) #6

In the past I managed a community where the scope was broad. It was a dev community and I only knew a few of the languages included. I’ve also worked on the agency side where I worked with finance and airport communities – definitely not my area of expertise!

While I think that being an expert in the area is a bonus (you can carry conversations, answer questions when others don’t etc) I don’t think it’s vital.

You DO need to have the respect of your community though.

I think your plan to empower superusers is the right approach.


(Cristina Salzillo) #7

Thanks everybody for sharing your experience!!