Here we are with another roundup of things I have been working on, complete with a juicy foray into the archives too. So, sit back, grab a cup of something delicious, and enjoy.
To gamify or not to gamify community (opensource.com)
In this piece I explore whether gamification is something we should apply to building communities. I also pull from my experience building a gamification platform for Ubuntu called Ubuntu Accomplishments.
The GitLab Master Plan
Recently I have been working with GitLab. The team has been building their vision for conversational development and I MCed their announcement of their plan. You can watch the video below for convenience:
Social Media: 10 Ways To Not Screw It Up (jonobacon.org)
Here I share 10 tips and tricks that I have learned over the years for doing social media right. This applies to tooling, content, distribution, and more. I would love to learn your tips too, so be sure to share them in the comments!
Linux, Linus, Bradley, and Open Source Protection
Recently there was something of a spat in the Linux kernel community about when is the right time to litigate companies who misuse the GPL. As a friend of both sides of the debate, this was my analysis.
The Psychology of Report/Issue Templates (jonobacon.org)
As many of you will know, I am something of a behavioral economics fan. In this piece I explore the interesting human psychology behind issue/report templates. It is subtle nudges like this that can influence the behavioral patterns you want to see.
My Reddit AMA
It would be remiss without sharing a link to my recent reddit AMA where I was asked a range of questions about community leadership, open source, and more. Thanks to all of you who joined and asked questions!
Looking For Talent
I also posted a few pieces about some companies who I am working with who want to hire smart, dedicated, and talented community leaders. If you are looking for a new role, be sure to see these:
From The Archives
My Forbes piece on the impact of behavioral economics on technologies, including an interview with Dan Ariely, TED speaker, and author of many books on the topic.
Advice for building a career in open source (opensource.com)
In this piece I share some recommendations I have developed over the years for those of you who want to build a career in open source. Of course, I would love to hear you tips and tricks too!
Some time ago I signed an Austin-based data company called data.world as a client. The team are building an incredible platform where the community can store data, collaborate around the shape/content of that data, and build an extensive open data commons.
As I wrote about previously I believe data.world is going to play an important role in opening up the potential for finding discoveries in disparate data sets and helping people innovate faster.
I have been working with the team to help shape their community strategy and they are now ready to hire a capable Director of Community to start executing these different pieces. The role description is presented below. The data.world team are an incredible bunch with some strong heritage in the leadership of Brett Hurt, Matt Laessig, Jon Loyens, Bryon Jacob, and others.
As such, I am looking to find the team some strong candidates. If I know you, I would invite you to confidentially share your interest in this role by filling my form here. This way I can get a good sense of who is interested and also recommend people I personally know and can vouch for. I will then reach out to those of you who this seems to be a good potential fit for and play a supporting role in brokering the conversation.
This role will require candidates to either be based in Austin or be willing to relocate to Austin. This is a great opportunity, and feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions.
Director of Community Role Description
data.world is building a world-class data commons, management, and collaboration platform. We believe that data.world is the very best place to build great data communities that can make data science fun, enjoyable, and impactful. We want to ensure we can provide the very best support, guidance, and engagement to help these communities be successful. This will involve engagement in workflow, product, outreach, events, and more.
As Director of Community, you will lead, coordinate, and manage our global community development initiatives. You will use your community leadership experience to shape our community experience and infrastructure, feed into the product roadmap with community needs and requirements, build growth and engagement, and more. You will help connect, celebrate, and amplify the existing communities on data.world and assist new ones as they form. You will help our users to think bigger, be the best they can be, and succeed more. You’ll work across teams within data.world to promote the community’s voice within our different internal teams. You should be a content expert, superb communicator, and humble facilitator.
Typical activities for this role include:
- Building and executing programs that grow communities on data.world and empower them to do great work.
- Taking a structured approach to community roles, on-boarding, and working with our teams to ensure community members have a simple and powerful experience.
- Developing content that promotes the longevity and sustainability of fast growing, organically built data communities with high impact outcomes.
- Building relationships within the industry and community to be their representative for data.world in helping to engage, be successful, and deliver great work and collaboration.
- Working with product, user operations, and marketing teams on product roadmap for community features and needs.
- Being a data.world representative and spokesperson at conferences, events, and within the media and external data communities.
- Always challenging our assumptions, our culture, and being singularly focused on delivering the very best data community platform in the world.
Experience with the following is required:
- 5-7 years of experience participating in and building communities, preferably data based, or technical in nature.
- Experience with working in open source, open data, and other online communities.
- Public speaking, blogging, and content development.
- Facilitating complex and sensitive community management situations with humility, judgment, tact, and humor.
- Integrating company brand, voice, and messaging into developed content. Working independently and autonomously, managing multiple competing priorities.
Experience with any of the following preferred:
- Data science experience and expertise.
- 3-5 years of experience leading community management programs within a software or Internet-based company.
- Media training and experience in communicating with journalists, bloggers, and other media on a range of technical topics.
- Existing network from a diverse set of communities and social media platforms.
- Software development capabilities and experience
Recently I signed ClusterHQ as a client. If you are unfamiliar with them, they provide a neat technology for managing data as part of the overall lifecycle of an application. You can learn more about them here.
I will be consulting with Cluster to help them (a) build their community strategy, (b) find a great candidate as Senior Developer Evanglist, and (c) help to mentor that person in their role to be successful.
If you are looking for a new career, this could be a good opportunity. ClusterHQ are doing some interesting work, and if this role is a good fit for you, I will also be there to help you work within a crisply defined strategy and be successful in the execution. Think of it as having a friend on the inside. 🙂
You can learn more in the job description, but you should have these skills:
- You are a deep full-stack cloud technologist. You have a track record of building distributed applications end-to-end.
- You either have a Bachelor’s in Computer Science or are self-motivated and self-taught such that you don’t need one.
- You are passionate about containers, data management, and building stateful applications in modern clusters.
- You have a history of leadership and service in developer and DevOps communities, and you have a passion for making applications work.
- You have expertise in lifecycle management of data.
- You understand how developers and IT organizations consume cloud technologies, and are able to influence enterprise technology adoption outcomes based on that understanding.
- You have great technical writing skills demonstrated via documentation, blog posts and other written work.
- You are a social butterfly. You like meeting new people on and offline.
- You are a great public speaker and are sought after for your expertise and presentation style.
- You don’t mind charging your laptop and phone in airport lounges so are willing and eager to travel anywhere our developer communities live, and stay productive and professional on the road.
- You like your weekend and evening time to focus on your outside-of-work passions, but don’t mind working irregular hours and weekends occasionally (as the job demands) to support hackathons, conferences, user groups, and other developer events.
ClusterHQ are primarily looking for help with:
- Creating high-quality technical content for publication on our blog and other channels to show developers how to implement specific stateful container management technologies.
- Spreading the word about container data services by speaking and sharing your expertise at relevant user groups and conferences.
- Evangelizing stateful container management and ClusterHQ technologies to the Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, and Mesosphere communities, as well as to DevOPs/IT organizations chartered with operational management of stateful containers.
- Promoting the needs of developers and users to the ClusterHQ product & engineering team, so that we build the right products in the right way.
- Supporting developers building containerized applications wherever they are, on forums, social media, and everywhere in between.
Pretty neat opportunity.
If you are interested in this role, there are few options for next steps:
- You can apply directly by clicking here.
- Alternatively, if I know you, I would invite you to confidentially share your interest in this role by filling in my form here. This way I can get a good sense of who is interested and also recommend people I personally know and can vouch for. I will then reach out to those of you who this seems to be a good potential fit for and play a supporting role in brokering the conversation.
By the way, there are going to be a number of these kinds of opportunities shared here on my blog. So, be sure to subscribe to my posts if you want to keep up to date with the latest opportunities.
In a nutshell, a report template is a configurable chunk of text that can be pre-loaded into the vulnerability submission form instead of a blank white box. For example:
The goal of a report template is two-fold. Firstly, it helps security teams to think about what specific pieces of information they require in a vulnerability report. Secondly, it provides a useful way of ensuring a hacker provides all of these different pieces of information when they submit a report.
While a simple feature, this should improve the overall quality of reports submitted to HackerOne customers, improve the success of hackers by ensuring their vulnerability reports match the needs of their security teams, and result in overall better quality engagement in the platform.
Similar kinds of templates can be seen in platforms such as Discourse, GitLab, GitHub, and elsewhere. While a simple feature, there are some subtle underlying psychological components that I thought could be interesting to share.
The Psychology Behind the Template
When I started working with HackerOne the first piece of work I did was to (a) understand the needs/concerns of hackers and customers and then based on this, (b) perform a rigorous assessment of the typical community workflow to ensure that it mapped to these requirements. My view is simple: if you don’t have simple and effective workflow, it doesn’t matter how much outreach you do, people will get confused and give up.
This view fits into a wider narrative that has accompanied my work over the years that at the core of great community leadership is intentionally influencing the behavior we want to see in our community participants.
When I started talking to the HackerOne team about Report Templates (an idea that had already been bounced around), building this intentional influence was my core strategic goal. Customers on HackerOne clearly want high quality reports. Low quality reports suck up their team’s time, compromise the value of the platform, and divert resources from other areas. Similarly, hackers should be set up for success. A core metric for a hacker is Signal, and signal threshold is a metric for many of the private programs that operate on HackerOne.
In my mind Report Templates were a logical areas to focus on for a few reasons.
Firstly, as with almost everything in life, the root of most problems are misaligned expectations. Think about spats with your boss/spouse, frustrations with your cable company, and other annoyances as as examples of this.
A template provides an explicit tool for the security team to state exactly what they need. This reduces ambiguity, which in turn reduces uncertainty, which has proven to be a psychological blocker, and particularly dangerous on communities.
There has also been some interesting research into temptation and one of the findings has been that people often make irrational choices when they are in a state of temptation or arousal. Thus, when people are in a state of temptation, it is critical for us to build systems that can responsibility deliver positive results for them. Otherwise, people feel tempted, initiate an action, do not receive the rewards they expected (e.g. validation/money in this case), and then feel discomfort at the outcome.
Every platform plays to this temptation desire. Whether it is being tempted to buy something on Amazon, temptation to download and try a new version of Ubuntu, temptation to respond to that annoying political post from your Aunt on Facebook, or a temptation to submit a vulnerability report in HackerOne, we need to make sure the results of the action, at this most delicate moment, are indeed positive.
Report Templates (or Issue/Post Templates in other platforms) play this important role. They are triggered at the moment the user decides to act. If we simply give the user a blank white box to type into, we run the risk of that temptation not resulting in said suitable reward. Thus, the Report Template greases the wheels, particularly within the expectations-setting piece I outlined above.
Finally, and as relates to temptation, I have become a strong believer in influencing behavioral patterns at the point of action. In other words, when someone decides to do something, it is better to tune that moment to influence the behavior you want rather than try to prime people to make a sensible decision before they do so.
In the Report Templates example, we could have alternatively written oodles and oodles of documentation, provided training, delivered webinars/seminars and other content to encourage hackers to write great reports. There is though no guarantee that this would have influenced their behavior. With a Report Template though, because it is presented at the point of action (and temptation) it means that we can influence the right kind of behavior at the right time. This generally delivers better results.
This is why I love what I do for a living. There are so many fascinating underlying attributes, patterns, and factors that we can learn from and harness. When we do it well, we create rewarding, successful, impactful communities. While the Report Templates feature may be a small piece of this jigsaw, it, combined with similar efforts can join together to create a pretty rewarding picture.
Just a quick note that my Reddit Ask Me Anything discussion is live. Be sure to head over to this link and get your questions in!
All and any questions are absolutely welcome!
Last week a bun-fight kicked off on the Linux kernel mailing list that led to some interesting questions about how and when we protect open source projects from bad actors. This also shone the light on some interesting community dynamics.
The touchpaper was lit when Bradley Kuhn, president of the Software Freedom Conservancy (an organization that provides legal and administrative services for free software and open source projects) posted a reply to Greg KH on the Linux kernel mailing list:
I observe now that the last 10 years brought something that never occurred before with any other copylefted code. Specifically, with Linux, we find both major and minor industry players determined to violate the GPL, on purpose, and refuse to comply, and tell us to our faces: “you think that we have to follow the GPL? Ok, then take us to Court. We won’t comply otherwise.” (None of the companies in your historical examples ever did this, Greg.) And, the decision to take that position is wholly in the hands of the violators, not the enforcers.
He went on to say:
In response, we have two options: we can all decide to give up on the GPL, or we can enforce it in Courts.
This rather ruffled Linus’s feathers who feels that lawyers are more part of the problem than the solution:
The fact is, the people who have created open source and made it a success have been the developers doing work – and the companies that we could get involved by showing that we are not all insane crazy people like the FSF. The people who have destroyed projects have been lawyers that claimed to be out to “save” those projects.
What followed has been a long and quite interesting discussion that is still rumbling on.
In a nutshell, this rather heated (and at times unnecessarily personal) debate has focused on when is the right time to defend the rights on the GPL. Bradley is of the view that these rights should be intrinsically defended as they are as important (if not more important) than the code. Linus is of the view that the practicalities of the software industry mean sending in the lawyers can potentially have an even more damaging effect as companies will tense up and choose to stay away.
Ethics and Pragmatism
Now, I have no dog in this race. I am a financial supporter of the Software Freedom Conservancy and the Free Software Foundation. I have an active working relationship with the Linux Foundation and I am friends with all the main players in this discussion, Linus, Greg, Bradley, Karen, Matthew, and Jeremy. I am not on anyone’s “side” here and I see value in the different perspectives brought to the table.
With that said, the core of this debate is the balance of ethics and pragmatism, something which has existed in open source and free software for a long time.
Linus and Bradley are good examples of either side of the aisle.
Linus has always been a pragmatic guy, and his stewardship of Linux has demonstrated that. Linus prioritizes the value of the GPL for practical software engineering and community-building purposes more-so than wider ideological free software ambitions. With Linus, practicality and tangible output come first.
Bradley is different. For Bradley, software freedom is first and foremost a moral issue. Bradley’s talents and interests lay with the legal and copyright aspects more-so than software engineering, so naturally his work has focused on licensing, copyright, and protection.
Now, this is not to suggest Linus doesn’t have ethics or that Bradley isn’t pragmatic, but their priorities are drawn in different areas. This results in differences in expectations, tone, and approach, with this debate being a good example.
Linus and Bradley are not alone here. For a long time there have been differences between organizations such as the Linux Foundation, the Free Software Foundation, and the Open Source Initiative. Again, each of these organizations draw their ethical and pragmatic priorities differently and they attract supporters who commonly share those similar lines in the sand.
I am a supporter of all of these organizations. I believe the Linux Foundation has had an unbelievably positive effect in normalizing and bridging the open source culture, methodology, and mindset to the wider business world. The Open Source Initiative have done wonderful work as stewards of licenses that thousands of organizations depend on. The Free Software Foundation has laid out a core set of principles around software freedom that are worthy for us all to strive for.
As such, I often take the view that everyone is bringing value, but everyone is also somewhat blinded by their own priorities and biases.
Unsurprisingly, I see value in both sides of the debate.
Linus rightly raises the practicalities of the software industry. This is an industry in that is driven by a wide range of different forcing functions and pressures: politics, competition, supply/demand, historical precedent, cultural norms, and more. Many of these companies do great things, and some do shitty things. That is human beings for you.
As such, and like any industry, nothing is black and white. This isn’t as simple as Company A licenses code under the GPL and if they don’t meet the expectations of the license they should face legal consequences until they do. Each company has a delicate mix of these driving forces and Linus is absolutely right that a legal recourse could potentially have the inverse effect of reducing participation rather than improving it.
On the other hand, the GPL (or another open source license) does have to have meaning. As we have seen in countless societies in history, if rules are not enforced, humans will naturally try to break the rules. This always starts as small infractions but then ultimately grows more and more as the waters are tested. So, Bradley raises an important point, and while we should take a realistic and pragmatic approach to the norms of the industry, we do need people who are willing and able to enforce open source licenses.
The subtlety is in how we handle this. We need to lead with nuance and negotiation and not with antagonistic legal implications. The lawyers have to be a last resort and we should all be careful not to infer an overblown legal recourse for organizations that skirt the requirements of these licenses.
Anyone who has been working in this industry knows that the way you get things done in an organization is via a series of indirect nudges. We change organizations and industries with relationships, trust, and collaboration, and providing a supporting function to accomplish the outcome we want.
Of course, sometimes there has to be legal consequences, but this has to genuinely be a last resort. We need to not be under the illusion that legal action is an isolated act of protection. While legal action may protect the GPL in that specific scenario it will also freak out lots of people watching it unfold. Thus, it is critical that we consider the optics of legal action as much as the practical benefits from within that specific case.
The solution here, as is always the case, is more dialog that is empathetic to the views of those we disagree with. Linus, Bradley, and everyone else embroiled in this debate are on the right side of history. We just need to work together to find common ground and strategies: I am confident they are there.
What do you think? Do I have an accurate read on this debate? Am I missing something important? Share your thoughts below in the comments!
Just a short reminder that tomorrow, Tuesday 30th August 2016 at 9am Pacific (see other time zone times here) I will be doing a Reddit AMA about community strategy/management, developer relations, open source, music, and anything else you folks want to ask about.
Want to ask questions about Canonical/GitHub/XPRIZE? Questions about building great communities? Questions about open source? Questions about politics or music? All questions are welcome!
To join, simply do the following:
- Be sure to have a Reddit account. If you don’t have one, head over here and sign up.
- On Tuesday 30th August 2016 at 9am Pacific (see other time zone times here) I will share the link to my AMA on Twitter (I am not allowed to share it until we run the AMA). You can look for this tweet by clicking here.
- Click the link in my tweet to go to the AMA and then click the text box to add your question(s).
- Now just wait until I respond. Feel free to follow up, challenge my response, and otherwise have fun!
I hope to see you all tomorrow!
Social media is everywhere. Millions of users, seemingly almost as many networks, and many agencies touting that they have mastered the zen-like secrets to social media and can bring incredible traction.
While social media has had undeniable benefits to many, it has also been contorted and twisted in awkward ways. For every elegant, well deliver social account there are countless blatant attention-grabbing efforts.
While I am by no means a social media expert, over the years I have picked up some techniques and approaches that I have found useful with the communities, companies, and clients I have worked with. My goal has always been to strike a good balance between quality, engagement, and humility.
I haven’t always succeeded, but here are 10 things I recommend you do if you want to do social media well:
1. Focus on Your Core Networks
There are loads of social media networks out there. For some organizations there is an inherent temptation to grow an audience on all of them. More audiences mean more people, right?
Well, not really.
As with most things in life, it is better to have focus and deliver quality than to spread yourself too thin. So, pick a few core networks and focus on them. Focus on delivering great content, growing your audience, and engaging well.
My personal recommendations are to focus n Twitter and Facebook for sure, as they have significant traction, but also Instagram and Google+ are good targets too. It is really up to you though for what works best for your organization/goals.
2. Configure Your Accounts Well
Every social media network has some options for choosing an avatar, banner, and adding a little text. It is important to get this right.
Put yourself in the position of your audience. Imagine they don’t know who you are and they stumble on your profile. Sure, a picture of a care bear and a quote from The Big Lebowski may look cool, but it doesn’t help the reader.
Their reading of this content is going to result in a judgement call about you. So, reflect yourself accurately. Want to be a professional? Look and write professionally. Want to be a movie fan who believes in magical bears? Well, erm, I guess you know what to do.
It is also important to do this for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If you want more Google juice for your name/organization, be sure to incorporate it in your profiles and content.
3. Quality vs. Quantity
A while back I spent a bit of time working with some folks who were really into social media. They had all kinds of theories about how the Facebook and Twitter algorithms prioritize content, hide it from users, and only display certain types of content to others. Of course this is not an exact science as these algorithms are typically confidential to those networks.
There is no doubt that social networks have to make some kind of judgement on what to show – there is just too much material to show it all. So, we want to be mindful of these restrictions, but also be wary that a lot of this is guessing.
The trick here is simple: focus on delivering high quality content and just don’t overdo it. Posting 50 tweets in a day is not going to help – it will be too much and probably not high quality (likely due to the quantity). Even if your audience sees it all, it will just seem spammy.
Now, you may be asking what high quality content would look like? Fundamentally I see it as understanding your audience, how they communicate, and mirroring those interests and tonality. Some examples:
- Well written content that is concise, loose, and fun.
- Interesting thoughts, ideas, and discussions.
- Links to interesting articles, data, and other material.
- Interesting embedded pictures, videos, and other content.
Speaking of embedding…
4. Embed Smartly
All the networks allow you to embed pictures and videos in your social posts.
Where possible, always embed something. It typically results in higher performing posts both in terms of views and click-rate.
Video has proven to do very well on social media networks. People are naturally curious and click the video to see it. Be mindful here though – posting a 45 minute documentary isn’t going to work well. A 2 minute clip will work great though.
Also, check how different networks display videos. For example, on Twitter and Google+, YouTube videos get a decent sized thumbnail and are simple to play. On Facebook though, YouTube videos are noticeably smaller (likely because Facebook doesn’t want people embedding YouTube videos). So, when posting on Facebook, uploading a native video might be best.
Pictures are an interesting one. A few tips:
- Square pictures work especially well. They resize well in most social interfaces to take up the maximum amount of space.
- The ideal size is 505×505 pixels on Facebook. I have found this size to work well on other networks too.
- Images that work particularly well are high contrast and have large letters. They stand out more in a feed and make people want to click them. An example of an image I am using for my Reddit AMA next week:
Authenticity is essential in any human communication. As humans we are constantly advertised to, sold, and marketed at, and thus evolution has increasingly expanded our bullshit radar.
This radar gets triggered when we see inauthentic content. Examples of this include content trying to be overly peppy, material that requires too many commitments (e.g. registrations), or clickbait. A classic example from our friends at Microsoft:
Social media is fundamentally about sharing and discussion and representing content and tonality that matches your audience. Make sure that you do both authentically.
Share openly, and discuss openly. Act and talk like a human, not a business book, don’t try to be someone you are not, and you will find your audience enjoys your content and finds your efforts rewarding.
6. Connect and Schedule Your Content
Managing all these social media networks is a pain. Of course, there are many tools that you can use for extensive analytics, content delivery, and team collaboration. While these are handy for professional social media people, for many people they are not particularly necessary.
What I do recommend for everyone though is Buffer.
The idea is simple. Buffer lets you fill a giant bucket full of social media posts that will hit the major networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (pages), and Instagram. You then set a schedule for when these posts should go out and Buffer will take care of sending them for you at an optimal chosen time.
Part of the reason I love this is that if you have a busy week and forget to post on social media, you know that you are always sharing content. Speaking personally, I often line up my posts on a Sunday night and then periodically post during the week.
Speaking of optimal times…
7. Timing Is Everything
If you want your content to get a decent number of views and clicks, there are definitely better times than others to post.
Much of this depends on your audience and where you are geographically. As an example, while I have a fairly global audience for my work, a significant number of people are based in US. As such, I have found that the best time for my content is in the morning between 8am and 9am Pacific. This then still hits Europe and out towards India.
To figure out the best time for you, post some social posts and look at the analytics to see which times work best. Each social network has analytics available and Buffer provides a nice analytics view too, although the nicer stats require a professional plan.
Knowing what is the best time to post combined with the scheduled posting capabilities of Buffer is a great combo.
8. Deliver Structured Campaigns
You might also want to explore some structured campaigns for your social media efforts. These are essentially themed campaigns designed to get people interested or involved.
A few examples:
- Twitter Chats – here you simply choose a hashtag and some guests, announce the chat, and then invite your guests to answer the questions via Twitter and for the audience to respond. They can be rather fun.
- Calls For Action – again, choose a hashtag, and ask your audience for feedback to certain questions. This could be questions, suggestions, content, and more.
- Thematic Content – here you post a series of posts with similar images or videos attached.
You are only limited by your imagination, but remember, be authentic. Social media is riddled with cheesy last-breath attempts at engagement. Don’t be one of those people.
9. Don’t Take Yourself too Seriously
There has much various studies to suggest social media encourages narcissism. There is certainly observational evidence that backs this up.
You should be proud of your work, proud of your projects, and focus on doing great things. Always try to ensure that you are down to earth though, and demonstrate a grounded demeanor in your posts. No one likes ego, and it is more tempting than ever to use social media as a platform for a confidence boost and increasingly post ego-drive narcissistic content.
Let’s be honest, we have all made this mistake from time to time. I know I have. We are human beings, after all.
As I mentioned earlier, you always want to try to match your tonality to your audience. For some global audiences though it can be tempting to err on the side of caution and be a little too buttoned up. This often ends up being just boring. Be professional, sure, but surprise your audience in your humanity, your humility, and that there is a real person behind the tweet or post.
10. What Not To Do
Social media can be a lot of fun and with some simple steps (such as these) you can perform some successful and rewarding work. There are a few things I would recommend you don’t do though:
- Unless you want to be a professional provocateur, avoid deliberately fighting with your audience. You will almost certainly disagree with many of your followers on some political stances – picking fights won’t get you anywhere.
- Don’t go and follow everyone for the purposes of getting followed back. When I see that Joe Bloggs has 5,434 followers and is following 5,654 people, it smacks of this behavior. 😉
- Don’t be overtly crass. I know some folks online, and even worked with some people, who just can’t help dropping F bombs, crass jokes, and more online. Be fun, be a little edgy, but keep it classy, people.
So, that’s it. Just a few little tips and tricks I have learned over the years. I hope some of this helps. If you found it handy, click those social buttons on the side and practice what you preach and share this post. 🙂
I would love to learn from you though. What approaches, methods, and techniques have you found for doing social media better? Share your ideas in the comment box and let’s have a discussion…
Well, hello there, people. I am back with another Bacon Roundup which summarizes some of the various things I have published recently. Don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest posts right to your inbox.
Also, don’t forget that I am doing a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Tues 30th August 2016 at 9am Pacific. Find out the details here.
Without further ado, the roundup:
Building a Career in Open Source (opensource.com)
A piece I wrote about how to build a successful career in open source. It delves into finding opportunity, building a network, always learning/evolving, and more. If you aspire to work in open source, be sure to check it out.
Cutting the Cord With Playstation Vue (jonobacon.org)
At home we recently severed ties with DirecTV (for lots of reasons, this being one), and moved our entertainment to a Playstation 4 and Playstation Vue for TV. Here’s how I did it, how it works, and how you can get in on the action.
Running a Hackathon for Security Hackers (jonobacon.org)
Recently I have been working with HackerOne and we recently ran a hackathon for some of the best hackers in the world to hack popular products and services for fun and profit. Here’s what happened, how it looked, and what went down.
Opening Up Data Science with data.world (jonobacon.org)
Recently I have also been working with data.world who are building a global platform and community for data, collaboration, and insights. This piece delves into the importance of data, the potential for data.world, and what the future might hold for a true data community.
From The Archive
To round out this roundup, here are a few pieces I published from the archive. As usual, you can find more here.
Using behavioral patterns to build awesome communities (opensource.com)
Human beings are pretty irrational a lot of the time, but irrational in predictable ways. These traits can provide a helpful foundation in which we build human systems and communities. This piece delves into some practical ways in which you can harness behavioral economics in your community or organization.
Atom: My New Favorite Code Editor
Atom is an extensible text editor that provides a thin and sleek core and a raft of community-developed plugins for expanding it into the editor you want. Want it like vim? No worries. Want it like Eclipse? No worries. Here’s my piece on why it is neat and recommendations for which plugins you should install.
Ultimate unconference survival guide (opensource.com)
Unconferences, for those who are new to them, are conferences in which the attendees define the content on the fly. They provide a phenomenal way to bring fresh ideas to the surface. They can though, be a little complicated to figure out for attendees. Here’s some tips on getting the most out of them.
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Earlier this year when I was in Austin, my friend Andy Sernovitz introduced me to a new startup called data.world.
What caught my interest is that they are building a platform to make data science and discovery easier, more accessible, and more collaborative. I love these kinds of big juicy challenges!
Recently I signed them up as a client to help them build their community, and I want to share a few words about why I think they are important, not just for data science fans, but from a wider scientific discovery perspective.
Data plays a critical role in the world. Buried in rows and rows of seemingly flat content are patterns, trends, and discoveries that can help us to learn, explore new ideas, and work more effectively.
The work that leads to these discoveries is often bringing together different data sets to explore and reach new conclusions. As an example, traffic accident data for a single town is interesting, but when we combine it with data sets for national/international traffic accidents, insurance claims, drink driving, and more, we can often find patterns that can help us to influence and encourage new behavior and technology.
Many of these discoveries are hiding in plain sight. Sadly, while talented data scientists are able to pull together these different data sets, it is often hard and laborious work. Surely if we make this work easier, more accessible, consistent, and available to all we can speed up innovation and discovery?
As history has taught us, the right mixture of access, tooling, and community can have a tremendous impact. We have seen examples of this in open source (e.g. GitLab / GitHub), funding (e.g. Kickstarter / Indiegogo), and security (e.g. HackerOne).
data.world are doing this for data.
Data Science is Tough
There are four key areas where I think data.world can make a potent impact:
- Access – while there is lots of data in the world, access is inconsistent. Data is often spread across different sites, formats, and accessible to different people. We can bring this data together into a consistent platform, available to everyone.
- Preparation – much of the work data scientists perform is learning and prepping datasets for use. This work should be simplified, done once, and then shared with everyone, as opposed to being performed by each person who consumes the data.
- Collaboration – a lot of data science is fairly ad-hoc in how people work together. In much the same way open source has helped create common approaches for code, there is potential to do the same with data.
- Community – there is a great opportunity to build a diverse global community, not just of data scientists, but also organizations, charities, activists, and armchair sleuths who, armed with the right tools and expertise, could make many meaningful discoveries.
This is what data.world is building and I find the combination of access, platform, and network effects of data and community particularly exciting.
If we look at the most profound impacts technology has had in recent years it is in bubbling people’s curiosity and creativity to the surface.
When we build community-based platforms that tap into this curiosity and creativity, we generate new ideas and approaches. New ideas and approaches then become the foundation for changing how the world thinks and operates.
As one such example, open source tapped the curiosity and creativity of developers to produce a rich patchwork of software and tooling, but more importantly, a culture of openness and collaboration. While it is easy to see the software as the primary outcome, the impact of open source has been much deeper and impacted skills, education, career opportunities, business, collaboration, and more.
Enabling the same curiosity and creativity with the wealth of data we have in the world is going to be an exciting journey. Stay tuned.