“Let’s start a user group!” or “We should start a new meetup.com!” or “This would be an incredible new space on the EMC Community Network!”
These are the phrases of good intentions that I finally have the right metaphor to convey what I see in it.
It’s like saying “Let’s get a puppy!”
Anyone who’s heard this proposition first hand knows that sense of angst that comes to mind. There are a number of questions you have to be ready to answer:
- Am I prepared to commit to this decision from this point forward?
- Am I considering the responsibility that comes with the decision?
- What are other consequences have I not considered?
Here’s the moment when you’d still be bound to hear “but I really want one!”
And I don’t disagree with the value to be had! It’s incredible to be a community leader. The reward of being part of the EMC Community Network and the EMC Elect in particular is a real honor. Commitments, though, are rarely just positive or negative, no matter how dreamy-eyed we may start out.
Brace Rennels began this train of thought by saying “Communities are like puppies: everyone wants one, but most aren’t prepared to take care of it.”
That’s the moment when it clicked. What is it about communities that people underestimate at first glance?
The analogy began to flow and I came up with this SlideShare that walks through both the negative and the positive of investing in a community.
The ends are clear: there is great reward to reap. No one here is going to disagree with that conclusion.
What is up for debate is how much time is spent considering your responsibility that will follow before your community is right in front of you, expecting you to lead, taking up your time, peeing on your carpet and eating your shoes.