Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'art of community'


Back in 2009 I had my book on community management and best practice published. It was called The Art of Community, published by O’Reilly.

When it came out I was pretty nervous. It was arguably the first book on community management, and structuring the many and varied topics of community management into a cohesive text was a challenge. I wrestled that challenge for six months writing the book, through my own body weight in coffee and late nights, and such was pretty nervous about how well it would be received. Fortunately, the reviews were very positive and people seemed to enjoy the book.

A little while ago I was getting the itch to write an updated edition. In the time that passed since the first edition I had learned a number of new things about the profession of community management and I was keen to jot them down into a second edition of the book. I contacted my editor, the always affable Andy Oram, and suggested an updated edition. Fortunately, Andy and the good folks at O’Reilly agreed and I set forth on the book.

The Second Edition

The first edition of the book covered most of the major topics that confront a community manager or leader. This includes:

  • The social underpinnings of community.
  • Building a community strategy.
  • Communicating effectively.
  • Building simple and efficient processes.
  • Creating collaborative workflow and facilities.
  • Building buzz and excitement about your community.
  • Measuring community and growth.
  • Governance and community structure.
  • Conflict resolution and relationships.
  • Creating and running events.
  • Hiring a community manager.

For the second edition I revisited all of the existing content. I wanted to re-read the entire book, review what I wrote, improve areas where I felt like I lacked clarity, and otherwise just up the game of the book.

I am also delighted that the second edition includes a new foreword, this time with Chris Anderson, Editor of Wired and author of The Long Tail as well as including the foreword from the first edition with Leo Laporte, founder of the TWiT network.

I also added some new chapters to cover some important new topics:

  • Managing and Tracking Work – this chapter takes all the strategic planning and work definition from earlier in the book and puts in place methods of assigning work, keeping things on track, checking in on progress, keeping people motivated, and if you work inside a company, communicating to different stakeholders efficiently.
  • Social Media – this chapter takes an honest, frank look at social media, its benefits, and some of the pitfalls. The chapter cuts through the hype and identifies how to use social media effectively, not to get over-exposed, manage social media feeds, and coordinate campaigns.
  • Events – the events chapter has had a significant addition where I discuss how to organize a summit, using the Ubuntu Developer Summit as a case study.

I have always believed that the best way to learn and soak up experience and knowledge is the sharing of stories. The first edition of The Art of Community is filled with stories from my career and others, and the second edition continues to include many stories, examples, and life lessons that have helped to shape my perspectives on community management.

I wanted to take this a step further in the second edition and reach to some folks I know to do some interviews about their experience and guidance in growing community. This includes interviews with:

Linus Torvalds
Creator, Linux

Mike Shinoda
Creator, Linken Park

Tim O’Reilly
Founder, O’Reilly Media

Mårten Mickos
CEO, Eucalyptus and MySQL

James Spafford
Media Molecule and LittleBigPlanet

Dries Buytaert
Founder, Drupal and Acquia

Mark Bussler
Creator, Classic Game Room

Mike Linksvayer
CTO, Creative Commons

Mary Colvig

Richard Esguerra
Humble Indie Bundle

Ilan Rabinovitch
Co-Creator, SoCal Linux Expo

Carolyn Mellor
X.commerce, PayPal, and eBay

The second edition was a long and exhaustive process, but I am really proud of the results, and I hope you enjoy it. I think it provides a good, solid foundation of how to build great community and the challenges and opportunities involved.

How To Get It

If you are interested in reading The Art of Community, you can buy it on Amazon and all good bookshops (you can find the Amazon links for your country on this page).

The book is also freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, and you can download it here.

If you do decide to download the book freely, all I ask is that if you like it, please write up a book review online and/or leave a review on the Amazon page. This helps to sell books and continue to support O’Reilly releasing their books under Creative Commons licenses.

Community Leadership Summit – Coming Soon!

One final note…don’t forget that on 14th – 15th July 2012 in Portland, Oregon there will be the Community Leadership Summit; this is the main annual gathering of community managers and leaders. The event is an attendee-driven unconference, and session leaders will all get a free printed copy of The Art of Community (while stocks last).

The event is FREE but you need to register. See the list of registered attendees and I hope to see you there!

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As I mentioned previously, I am working on a second edition of The Art of Community, my book that teaches community leadership and the different skills, challenges, and opportunities therein. The first edition is available under a Creative Commons license (as well as in print form) and designed to be of use to Open Source communities such as the Ubuntu community, so I figure it would be appropriate to share a few updates here and there on my blog.

I am delighted to share that Chris Anderson will be providing the foreword for the book. Chris is the current editor of Wired magazine, winning the National Magazine Award for general excellence three times as part of his tenure. He is also the author of the New York Times best-seller The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. Chris also wrote Free: The Future of a Radical Price and has also been part of The Economist, Nature, and Science. Outside of writing he is actively involved in DIYDrones.

For you Ubuntu fans reading this, Chris is a fan of Ubuntu and interested in the work we are doing to bring Free Software to the masses. I think Chris will bring a strong sense of credibility to the art and science of community management outlined in the book.

You can keep up to date about the book on the website and by following @artofcommunity.

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In August 2009, my book, The Art of Community was published. After a rigorous writing schedule I was delighted to see it finally hit the (real and e-) bookshelves.

As part of the agreement with O’Reilly, I was keen for the book to be released in both print form and under a free Creative Commons license, and O’Reilly happily agreed (they have been releasing many of their books for free for many years). I believe that community management and best practice should be available to all, and not just those with a wallet full of notes, and I can’t think of a better publisher to support this ethos.

If trying to write a great book about your profession was not worrying enough, the really worrying period came next. Would people like it, and would it help them build communities? I wanted to ensure everyone who believed in the book were satisfied when it finally came out.

I worried myself senseless.

This guy got it and likes to read it in front of webcams,

Fortunately, the reception was really quite positive. It was rated #2 in the Top 10 must-have social media books by Mashable, received favourable reviews in the press, and has netted 4 1/2 stars on Amazon USA and Amazon UK, and 4 stars on Amazon Canada. It started being referred to as the leading book on community management and spawned translated editions in Japanese and other languages.

Naturally I was stoked with the reception. Fortunately, the book has sold decently, showing O’Reilly that the Creative Commons approach is good for business, and also that people will indeed buy print copies of media they could get for free. Thankyou to everyone who bought or download the book, and thankyou for your support.

The Second Edition

I few weeks ago I tweeted:

Getting the itch to write a 2nd edition of The Art of Community – would you folks be interested in it? #artofcommunity #oreilly #community

After an eager response I contacted the always awesome Andy Oram from O’Reilly (who was responsible for the first edition happening), and he was interested. I fleshed out some plans, put together a proposal and sent it over. Last week it got approved and this week we finalized the contract.

So, I am delighted to announce that I have started work on a second edition of The Art of Community. I can’t confirm a publishing date yet, but stay tuned.

Keeping Up To Date

Speaking of staying tuned, like with the first edition, I will be blogging throughout the writing process and providing plenty of updates, news, competitions, and features as it continues. You can keep up to date on the official blog, by following the brand new @artofcommunity on Twitter, and on the Facebook page.

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Two lovely nuggets of Art Of Community information to share:

  • Firstly, The Art Of Community was rated #2 in Top 10 must-have books on social media by Mashable. Wow, I am tickled pink about this. Thanks, Mashable folks!
  • Secondly, I have have heard from a bunch of people that the legendary .net Magazine reviewed The Art Of Community saying it was well written, well structured and intriguing that O’Reilly support it as a free e-book too. Rock and roll. :-)

If you lovely people spot any more reviews, do let me know. :-)

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Two New Articles

Just a quick post to outline two recent articles that are online:


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It may have changed by the time you read this, but The Art of Community has now hit the #1 slot for the Business and Culture category

You can see it on this page and you can check out the Art of Community Amazon page here. Go and buy a copy and support the project, folks!

Today I also did a webinar about the book and you see it here. Thanks to Intro Networks for the opportunity!

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Just a quick note: I am doing a webinar on my book The Art of Community at 9am Pacific today.

You can join us here. :-)

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