If you're a group leader on My developerWorks and you're not emailing your group, it's probably dead.
Wait... did I just say that? That was a little bit blunt. But if you're a group leader I wanted to get your attention.
My developerWorks offers some amazing features for groups (if you're not familiar with all of them, check out this sample group
). But one of the areas that can be challenging is notifications. Today there is no simple way to sign up for email notifications for a group. So it's not easy to keep up with what's happening in a group unless you come back to it daily or weekly. Many people join a group, but never go back regularly to see what kinds of activities have been happening. So if you're not communicating with your group members once in a while, chances are they don't know what kind of great things are happening in your group.If you're a group leader trying to develop a meaningful active group, consider these ideas:
- Email your group on a regular basis - I'd suggest monthly. If you have a very active group, you might be able to justify every two weeks or even weekly - but this is probably the exception, not the rule.
- The goal of this email is to remind group members that they are part of a group, and provide them with highlights of what's been happening recently that they might have missed out on.
- Make a commitment to send this regular email to your group - make sure it's obvious in your group charter so that it's understood that if you want to be part of this group, you'll be receiving a regular email.
- Make a commitment not to spam your group - don't lose their trust or respect. Only send emails on topics that are relevant to the topic of your group. Don't send emails randomly or too frequently. Don't send emails about trivial things.
- Make your regular emails useful for group members. Consider including...
- A summary of activity in the group from the last month. Or if there has been a lot of activity - maybe just the most important highlights.
- Important news or key changes in the group (example, upcoming events, new group leaders, new group charter, new group project, etc.)
- Requests for group participation. What can your group members do this month? Add new bookmarks? Answer a question in the discussion forum? Post an experience or best practice in the group blog? etc...
- Highlight group members - maybe new group members, or very active group members - help people mix and mingle.
- Get creative... the rest is up to you!
- A few other suggestions:
- Keep your emails simple, short and easy to read.
- Use hyperlinks.
- Use a standard format so your group members will start to recognize it. Be sure to introduce what this email is, why they are receiving it, and how they can stop receiving the email if they wish.
- You may want to create an archive of your group emails in your group blog so that anyone in your group can go back and reference them later.
And since we're all crazy about examples, here's one from the My developerWorks enthusiasts group:
Thanks for being part of the My developerWorks enthusiasts group and welcome to our second monthly group update email! This monthly email is intended to help you keep up with what's new in the group. If you don't want to receive these emails, you can be removed from the email list by leaving the group.*Image from Esparta
Take your profile picture for a "Picnik"
I want to encourage you to add a picture to your profile on My developerWorks if you haven't already. Maybe you haven't added a picture yet because your picture isn't the right size or you want to edit it and you're not sure how. Well I've added a tip - how to use Picnik, a free photo editing tool to create the perfect profile picture. So go edit your profile and add a picture this month! And while you're out there, update your status and share what you're working on.
My developerWorks sample group
If you're a group owner, there is a new resource that I think will knock your socks off. It's called the My developerWorks sample group. If you want to max out your group on My developerWorks, this sample group will show you how. A big thanks to Ami Dewar who shared this sample group with the rest of us!
My developerWorks enthusiasts Twitter list
If you're not on the list and you'd like to be, please add your Twitter id here. Also, start following the list so you can connect with fellow My developerWorks enthusiasts.
Valuable group resources
My developerWorks tips wiki page
Gold mine of resources to get started or to take your group, blog, or wiki to the next level.
My developerWorks enthusiasts weekly updates
Keep up with what's happening in our group with this archive of weekly updates.
How you can participate in this group
- Share your thoughts or questions or ideas in the discussion board
- Add your resource recommendations to the group wiki related to My developerWorks or social networking
- Share your favorite ideas, tips or best practices in the group blog - Contact me for more information
Have some feedback? Contact me.
If you liked this blog post and you're interested in meeting fellow My
developerWorks enthusiasts, keeping up with the latest My
developerWorks news, and sharing tips and best practices for using My
developerWorks and social networking, come join us in the My developerWorks enthusiasts group!