Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

Community in action

Carl Tyler has a post that captures so much of my own observations on the Lotus community that I want to repost it almost in its entirety for my friends over on the Data Management side of the world (Thanks, Carl.  Emphasis mine):

In the last few years, the Lotus on-line community has taken off, more blogs, more podcasts, more open source software.  If you go back a few years, the only people in the Lotus community that were communicating in anyway on-line were compuserve forum users, newsgroup junkies and Lotus business partners using the (still running to this day thank goodness) Notes Partner Forum.  At prior Lotusphere's these people would know a few people who were attending, but they were much smaller groups of hard core Lotus fans with maybe a  party in some poor individual's room.

Now jump forward to today, there are a couple of hundred active bloggers that you can consider focused on the Lotus space, there are active on-line communities focused on Lotus technologies, OpenNTF, ideajam as examples.  But most of all, there are more readers than posters, and many of these readers go to Lotusphere.  But now they go there knowing about many of the individuals and have a sense of who they are, they know about the places to be on different nights, they know to wear comfortable shoes, they know about the blogger open, they know about LotusphereLive, they know about Jamfest.    I know I still find it very strange when complete strangers come up to me and ask about Jessie and her nose, which gives a certain amount of trust factor when you meet a complete stranger.

Many people believed the internet and web conferencing would be the end of large customer conferences like Lotusphere, personally I think it's the very thing that's re-energized it.

At least I thought that he had summarized it really well until I read this comment from Vaugan Rivett:
It is interesting how the Internet is able to bring together a sense of community with people who you have never meet before. When events are held like Lotusphere, they are almost like being at a reunion.

Being connected to the community really does make events like this more of a reunion than just a conference.

And while I've always been impressed by the dedication and passion showed by the Lotus community, the people doing live casting, live blogging, posting pictures through the event, this year the community has topped itself once more.  Just a few examples:
And this is on top of the posts that have been filling PlanetLotus with people talking about speaking sessions, travel plans, karaoke, and the occasional limerick contest, not to mention now established institutions like unofficial guides and the sessions database.

I'm sad that I'm not going to be able to join everyone in Orlando next week, but it's great to know there are so many ways to follow it from afar.  My hope is that we can reach the point where all IBM conferences can achieve this level of community feeling and involvement.