Some weeks, you’ll have a lot of tangible checkmarks on your to-do list. Other weeks, it feels like you haven’t done anything. Still, in reality, you’ve spent a lot of time planning for things in the future, thinking deliberately–rather than just reacting–about the people in your community, their needs, and how you can support them as the community builder for your own community. This is one of those weeks for me.
I still got my blog posts in. We’re announcing the winners of the Deepgram + Learn Build Teach Hackathon, and I added to my Reading List series with a post on Community Builders Resources.
I went for two this week, with a Twitter Space with Julia Seidman, “Developer Growth: Writing to Learn” and a livestream working through adding Cypress to a React Application for a blog post that will come out later this month. I’ve been working on building a practice of creating content and repurposing it. And that’s been on my mind this week as I did these live events. I may write a post with the takeaways of the Twitter Space, but for now, you can see my notes in the Twitter thread from the space. (If you’ve seen any cool ways to reuse Twitter Space content, I’d love to know!)
Processes and Planning
Over the last couple of years, I’ve talked about a content creation lifecyle. Here’s what I mean by that:
Say you want to publish a tutorial. The end goal of the content creation lifecycle would be to end up with a video, written tutorial, code snippets, Twitter thread and maybe a Space, live demo, and a short-form video. The video might be a livestream of you implementing what you’ll be writing about for the tutorial–but it’s something you can definitely link to. From that video, you can clip for your short-form video (YouTube, Instagram Reels, tiktok, etc.). You can even transcribe the video to help write the blog post and the Twitter Thread. Finally, that code gets put into stackblitz or codepen so users can test it out live.
I haven’t nailed that process quite yet because of the pace we’re going in other things, but I keep thinking, “What about the community?” For me, so much of the content that I create is to build community. I write for myself, but I love when it means that I get to engage with others and hear their thoughts on what I’m writing about. Where does the community fit into the content creation lifecycle? We have to find ways to make space for those in our community to be a part of this conversation. Because that’s the content I want to produce; the kind of content that creates conversation.
Part of my planning and thinking deliberately about this included using Twitter Spaces to extend the conversation. What have I started talking about? How can I continue this conversation with interested people? Can I repurpose Twitter Spaces to be a blog post? Sure. They can extend the conversation from both angles.
But how else can we extend the conversation? Well, we can do things the old-fashioned way and have a face-to-face conversation. Why not have a small group discussion about the topic or a workshop if it’s a tutorial? Interact with the community in ways that are meaningful to them.
I’m ideating on the best way to do this and ensuring I’m not building an echo chamber. I want to find more ways to listen to others and learn from each other. To do this properly, however, requires quite a bit of planning, and it always feels like there’s not enough time in the day to do that.
One way I’m ensuring my planning time happens is committing to time away from the computer and phone to think things through. Write them down on notebook paper, and remove the distractions of slack, email, Twitter, etc. And since I work from home, it’s also important to remove the distractions of laundry, kids, and the bills sitting on my desk.
I’m going to try to commit to one morning or afternoon a week outside of the home without device distractions. I’ve tried this before on Friday afternoons because I thought it would help me to disconnect from work for the weekend, but then I ended up feeling like there were too many loose ends to wrap up, and I couldn’t turn work off. For now, I’ll play it by ear and find a good two to three-hour time period where I can be afk.
Another part of the planning process I worked on this week was community campaigns. It might seem like creating simple discussion posts doesn’t require that much time, but if you want to weave a story of information, listen to what the community wants and needs, and create plans to act on those wants and needs, you have to research and create space for meaningful conversations with consistency. A lot of times that means building out posts ahead of time and implementing them when the situation is right.
As I build out these processes and think more holistically about all the things that I’m creating, I want to find a way to make this a smooth and repeatable process. It’s not something I’ve thought deeply about, but I hope that as I build in time to think through these things, I’ll be able to share more about that here. And that we can maybe even have a conversation about it.