Loved this posting by new blogger Chuck Dean about joining in the community...
I just picked up and loaded into my RSS reader the LotusSMB blog recently started by Chuck Dean. On his What's It All About post, he makes some points that eloquently touch on a number of things I think are the essence of why we all do this...
I think this year I finally get it. What the whole message is about... collaboration. I know that it might seem stupid to say that... of course it's about collaboration... Lotus Notes/Domino is software built for collaboration... but it goes beyond that Lotusphere is about the collaboration that exists between the administrators, developers, consultants, vendors, bloggers, journalists and Lotus folks who come here every year... and collaboration is not a one way street.... it requires everyone to be engaged.... to give back to the community... and I haven't been giving back the way I should.
I've never seriously thought about starting a blog before. I've read many of the blogs in the Lotus blogging community and I'm proud to call the people who write them my friends. But I always felt I didn't have enough interesting to say. The administrators and developers who participate in the community, the people who present in the best practices track at Lotusphere are seriously talented and I feel very intimidated about my lack of technical depth when I'm around them but I have worked for over 20 years in small businesses, the past 15 for my current employer, where a part of my job is to be the "Lotus Guy" - a roll that has encompassed - administration, development, management and evangelism - so I know something about the pains and problems of small to medium businesses (SMBs).
Collaboration and "giving back"... To me, this is what makes Lotusphere so much more than "just another conference". It's a point in time where our virtual community comes together to meet and hang out with each other face-to-face... a point where we have the opportunity to intensely learn from each other, share what we know with each other, and go back to our "regular" lives with a recharged sense of purpose and focus. It's why I have a hard time explaining to coworkers exactly what the Lotusphere community means to me (no, it's *not* just a vacation in Florida in January!).
Intimidation... with rare exception, I think most bloggers struggle with this. We look at the Paul Mooneys, the Rocky Olivers, the Bill Buchans, and wonder why should we even bother? What could we possibly say that these experts would be even remotely interested in listening to? They, on the other hand, probably look at others and think the same thing. And the reality is, the vast majority of bloggers are ordinary Lotus professionals who struggle the same way you do, and are always looking for that one tip, that one idea that will solve a nagging problem. And your post might just be that gem. And even if it's *not* technical, the blog gives us a chance to know you, to learn about you, and to share in your victories and struggles. And then when we descend upon DisneyWorld for that special week in January, it's as if it's just a continuation of the discussion we all have on a daily basis in the virtual world.
So, Chuck... welcome to the blogosphere. There will be those who you never met who will be interested in your perspective of Lotus from the SMB space. There will be those who you look up to (you foolish man!) who will read your blog to help them round out their perspective of the marketplace. But ultimately, it will be all of us who benefit from you joining the community, contributing to it, and making it stronger.