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Creating and Managing an Engaged Online Slack Community

Creating and Managing an Engaged Online Slack Community

Helpful tips, processes and useful tools I have used in creating and managing a community of over 2,400+ African software design, development and delivery experts/enthusiasts.

Osioke Itseuwa

December 02, 2017

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  1. a distributed community of software developers, designers and PMs across

    Africa, helping clients build world class software.
  2. Hello, I am Osioke Onoarue Oarue-Itseuwa (aka Sprime). • Traveler

    • Street Photographer (see https://instagram.com/ganinigeria) • DIYer • Life Hacker (see https://spracks.com) • Explorer (see https://blog.ganinigeria.com) • Open source lover In one sentence: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I am Jack.
  3. My Community history 2009: Member of the defunct FOSS NG,

    Founder of the defunct OpenIT Community, AIESECer. 2013: NYSC IT trainer. 2014/2015: Google Local Guide community lead, Open source project community lead (States & Cities and later Disease Info). 2016/2017: Community manager Devcenter Square, Together with Google Developer program, and a GitHub Super Fan.
  4. Community focus: Devcenter Square 400+ people talking weekly, 750+ people

    active weekly, 2,400+ members, 40+ sub-communities.
  5. Starting Out In one sentence: Make your community comfortable. •

    Create code of conduct, guides and community docs ◦ After creating them, make them very easy to be seen by members. Slackbot mentions and pinned messages are a good way to help members find these documents • Discussions and chats arranged into different channels ◦ Multiple channels for different topics helps arrange the content and makes it easier to read when more people start to talk. ◦ It helps reduce a long thread of messages on different topics (which translate to cluttered information or noise), to arranged information in curated channels on each topic. This makes following discussions and reading becomes easier.
  6. Starting Out ... • Moderation should be on fleek ◦

    DO NOT JOKE WITH MODERATION. Moderation through artful curation and diplomacy helps reduce noise. • In the early days, welcoming new join ins, personally. Try to do it from time to time even as the community goes larger. ◦ It helps them bond in faster, and makes them fill more settled. • Watch out for cross posters, spam, trolling, teasing or bullying. DO NOT ALLOW ANY OF THESE, NO MATTER HOW SMALL. A little drops of water make a mighty ocean.
  7. Creating Engagement In one sentence: Help members learn and connect

    • Help members know how to partake in the community properly ◦ Build the community culture by being a good example through your interactions in the community ◦ Carefully select the first members who would have the characteristics you would want the whole community to have ◦ Create a norm/culture document to help members see the culture code and keep to it. Slackbot mentions and pinned messages are a good way to help members find these documents
  8. Creating Engagement ... • Create and strengthen member’s bonds. Members’

    connections and bonds create the connections that define a community. ◦ Host live online events, as well as offline physical events. Nothing builds bonds faster than 1 on 1 interactions, and when they happen in person, they are stronger ◦ Become friends with the members, so when you invite them for events, or ask for their help to answer a question in the main channel, volunteer for events and the likes, they see it as their friend asking them, and not the community manager
  9. Creating Engagement ... • Learn/find out the topic/interest your community

    members are most passionate about ◦ Communities are a meeting of individuals who connect over an interest or topic they all like. Knowing the topics, curating and sharing content around this topic will create discussions. • Start the initial conversations ◦ People are naturally shy in a new environment, seeing others talk helps them see how to talk and know it is safe and okay to engage • Mention members in topics or discussions you know they can join in on. This notifies and invites. It also makes them feel more comfortable joining in on the discussion. But do not over do this, do it with members you have formed a connection with, so you do not appear intrusive.
  10. Tools for Slack • Slarck.com ◦ When conversations go above

    10k (and they will), Slarck’s integration helps view archived messages • Paperbot ◦ Most of the important information shared are usually links. Paperbot arranges links shared in a beautiful and easy to read way. • Zapier.com ◦ There are a lot of zaps (automated scripts/tasks) that help. Like my personal favourite, sending a new member a DM. It is helpful in onboarding new sign ups. • Posts and Text Snippets ◦ Slack has an inbuilt docs and editor, use them to share and keep important messages like Guidelines. They make reading in Slack easier.
  11. Tips and Resources • Join other online communities, study them,

    be active in them, and learn from them. E.g. Feverbee (experts.feverbee.com), CMX Hub on Slack and Facebook (cmxslack.github.io), Buffer on Slack (buffer.com/slack), Devcenter Square (devcenter-square.github.io), • Read and research a lot. Favourite places to go to: Feverbee.com, Community Management videos and Talks by Dan Franc, CMX Hub (cmxhub.com). ◦ Books: Hooked by Nir Eyal & Platform Revolution by Geoffrey Parker
  12. Tips & Resources • Understand a little of User Experience

    design, how people behave (behavioral psychology), product design and people management. It will help you create better processes for your members. ◦ Sign up for hackdesign.org’s class ◦ Read through productpsychology.com and nirandfar.com ◦ Play Interland on beinternetawesome.withgoogle.com to better understand internet bullying and how bad it can be. Also read through the resources there ▪ Also read this post - https://medium.com/humane-tech/the-immortal-myths-about-online-ab use-a156e3370aee