This month’s “salon-style” call focused on the changing landscape of social media, and how STEM professionals are engaging (or not) on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and more. Lou and Katie created a loose scaffold to facilitate the call, drawing on their many, many years of life online, and we thoroughly enjoyed the conversation that unfolded.
We did not record this month’s call, so that everyone who participated could feel comfortable sharing their opinions and experiences, and this recap is intentionally free of identifying information. We’ve also collected the resources shared on the call at the end of this post – from books to blog posts to suggestions of people to follow – so scroll on to find out more!
The last few years have seen a shift in how people behave online. More and more, we see individuals announcing that they will leave this platform or that, either for new websites or for a life lived less online. Relatedly, spaces that are more private are increasingly replacing public ones for conference back channels and subject-specific discussions. While these changes may be understandable, as community managers, this shift away from sharing and connecting in public forums presents very real challenges.
During this month’s salon-style community call, we will investigate how the upheavals in social media platforms (and how people engage with them) are impacting community-building activities online. Please come ready to share your experiences and opinions, as well as any ideas you have for what’s next. This month’s call will not be recorded, but a recap blog post will be made available shortly after.
On this month’s call, we invited the Organizational Mycology team to facilitate an Oblique Thinking Hour activity for CSCCE community members. Beth Duckles and Dan Sholler led us through a series of prompts, culminating in breakout conversations where participants looked at community manager challenges from a range of surprising perspectives.
Oblique Thinking Hours
So, you might be wondering: “What is an Oblique Thinking Hour?” These sessions are an experimental way of facilitating a group as they work through a problem or challenge. Instead of attacking the problem head on, they come at it “obliquely,” building an appreciation for what everyone brings to the table before trying to find a solution.
Are you facing a community management challenge right now that you just can’t find a solution to? In this month’s community call, CSCCE community of practice member Beth Duckles will facilitate an Oblique Thinking activity to help us all work together on finding solutions.
This year, we’re switching up our community call formats, cycling around three broad approaches each quarter: i) sharing of skills and knowledge e.g, via talks, panel discussions and show and tell; ii) building together e.g, by combining our collective knowledge to do or make something new – including shaping our CoP and; iii) providing more opportunities to build deeper connections with one another via various different approaches to networking that are grounded in skills you can reuse in your own role.
This month, we are focusing on connecting, and you can expect something completely different from any CSCCE community call that’s come before! We’ll be asking you to share your varied skills, including those you might not flex so often in the workplace, and collaborate with other members of the community to solve common challenges in STEM community management. Expect to leave feeling energized and having connected more deeply to other members of the CSCCE CoP!
Many STEM communities rely on volunteers, and yet it can be hard to sustain volunteer engagement. For our November call, we’ve invited three community managers from open source software organizations to participate in a panel discussion about how to create volunteer opportunities that are emotionally and intellectually fulfilling, and recognize and reward member contributions in these volunteer roles.
While our panelists this month all work with open source communities (which ties in with the new POSE training program we’re developing!), we encourage you to attend even if this isn’t your focus area. The discussion will be relevant to a range of STEM community settings.
Join us via Zoom on 16 November 2022 at 11am EST/4pm UTC (note that the US daylight saving’s transition may change the time for this monthly callin your time zone.)
This month’s community call was part of an ongoing series focusing on the role of community, and the community manager, in STEM. These conversations flowed from the 25 Community Manager Case Studies we published earlier this year, and we’ll be publishing a report to summarize our findings in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can catch up on our August (an overview of the case studies project) and September (a conversation about self-advocacy for community managers) calls on the CSCCE blog, and add our November call (which will focus on supporting and recognizing volunteers) to your calendar.
One of the common challenges identified from the case studies is that many community managers feel that their role is poorly understood, and so people in these roles sometimes find themselves juggling disparate definitions of success. During this session, we heard from three STEM leaders — Josh Greenberg from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, John Ohab from the Hertz Foundation, and Karthik Ram from the University of California at Berkeley — about how they think about the importance and impact of communities, and the qualities they look for in a successful community. This recap describes some of the themes that emerged during this discussion, and includes the recordings of each presentation.
Community management in STEM is still an emerging profession, with community managers often finding themselves in the position of charting their own career path. Explaining to others what you do, why it’s important, and the ways in which you excel doesn’t always come naturally (especially the last part!) and it can help to have some strategies at your fingertips for different situations. So, for this month’s community call we convened an off-the-record conversation about how to advocate for yourself, build your CV, and work with your supervisors to advance your career.
CSCCE’s blog is a wealth of information on scientific community management. But, we realized, for many folks new to CSCCE, that information is somewhat buried in the archives. So, this week we decided to take a look back* at some of the blog posts we’ve** shared over the years, curating them so that you can easily find certain topics or collections, and invite you to add your thoughts as a guest blogger.
In August, we started a conversation about common challenges faced by community managers in STEM. On that community call, which also included an overview of our findings and recommendations from the CSCCE community manager case studies project, several participants noted that they often find themselves defending the importance of their work to leadership, human resources, and/or their community members. This challenge was connected to a lack of clarity around what it looks like to turn community management into a lifelong career; not only advocating for what you do today, but making a plan for where to go next.
So, this month we wanted to hold space to continue this conversation with an off-the-record community call co-moderated by members of the community of practice. This is a great opportunity not only to hear from others’ experiences, but also to help the community as a whole chart a path forward.
Join us on Zoom at 11am EDT / 3pm UTC on Wednesday, 28 September (please note that this month’s call will not be recorded, but we will share a blog post recap afterwards with key learnings and resources).
Following on from our August community call, where we introduced some of the emerging trends from our forthcoming report on community manager roles, this fall we’ll be hosting a series of follow-on conversations to get at some of the challenges we identified. Each call will address at least one of the common challenges community managers face, and hold space for community reflection and feedback.
In this blog post, you’ll find a brief summary of what to expect from each call, as well as dates and details so that you can add each call to your calendar. We’re still working out some of the details for this series, so if you see something that particularly resonates with you and you’d like to be involved as a speaker or panelist, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (note: you don’t have to be a member of our community of practice to contribute to our monthly calls).
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