[nSLUG] Encouraging participation and reaching out into the community

Ben Armstrong synrg at sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
Wed Jul 17 13:11:14 ADT 2013


Thanks for your thoughtful contribution to the discussion.

On 07/17/2013 12:50 PM, Jack Warkentin wrote:
> I have two concerns over having a twitter account.

Those are valid concerns. I hope to perhaps diminish your anxiety a bit
by explaining how to address each of them.

> First: I enjoy *all* of the posts to the email list, and making the
> occasional posting myself. If I don't participate in the new twitter
> account, I am concerned that I will miss out on something that might
> *really* interest me.

You might. But you might also be already missing out on what happens on
irc, and we've had an irc channel for a very long time. Plus, people who
don't show up for our monthly meetings miss out on that ... I'm afraid
the only way to guarantee you do *not* miss out is to show up. :)

That being said, if there are significant goings on in Twitter that any
of us who follow it think would interest others on the list, we'll try
to remember to post it there as well.

> Second: If we start using some communication device other than the email
> list, then next might come a facebook account,

Indeed, why not? I agree, that probably would be the next logical step.

> a linkedin (I think
> that's how it is spelled) account, and who knows what else. That could
> split the group into subgroups among which intersubgroup communication
> is significantly reduced. I think the group is small enough as it is
> that such splitting would be undesirable.

If it really did diminish the size of our community every time one of
these new "back-channels" emerged, I would agree. Fragmentation*** of
our already rather small community would not be a good thing. But that
has not been my experience so far. People who are only on irc and don't
participate on the list probably prefer weren't going to participate on
the list to begin with, and just enjoy having that contact with us.
People who are on both irc and the list enjoy doing both, and being on
one doesn't diminish use of the other. I anticipate Twitter will be very
much the same in its impact.

> On the other hand, I know that people who have jobs, or would like to
> have jobs, are pretty well compelled to have presences on social media.
> As a 75-year old old fogy, I guess it is a luxury for me not to have to
> have such a presence. I just hope that my above concerns fail to
> materialize.

I predict they won't. Meanwhile, you may reserve the right to say "I
told you so" later, if they do. :)  But seriously, let's wait and see
how beginning to use social media with the group has an impact on our
community and several months to a year from now, we can assess how it
went, and if anything needs to change. Like you, I truly don't want to
see any harm come to our community and would not be encouraging us to go
down this road if I hadn't thought it through and deemed the risk to be
very slight.

*** I would assert that in Linux communities since the beginning of
history there has always been a concern about fragmentation. But over
time what has happened is, each time a new "splinter community" emerges,
it tends to add to existing communities rather than bleeding away people
from the old. So today we have a marvelously diverse set of communities
around free software that reflects all of our different desires and
needs, and a lot of crossover of membership between them.

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