With the end of the year fast approaching, goals and resolutions come to mind as we look toward a new year.
A great way to get ahead — in building your career or personal brand — is to connect with like-minded individuals beyond your everyday tribe of supporters.
Slack is a great place to start. This resource created for teams serves as a chat room for thousands of communities out in the wild and across the globe.
Here are 11 Slack communities we recommend for journalists, bloggers, and other creators, to help keep you learning and growing in 2017.
1. For community builders: #CreativeTribes
#CreativeTribes is a group of dedicated tribe builders, who are serious about growing businesses, profits, and their communities. Here, 750+ high-powered entrepreneurs from innovative startups, strategists, marketers, developers, designers, writers, and other creatives connect and share experience, strategies, and resources. If you’re looking to connect with others or connect people around your ideas, this group is here to help you hack your growth.
2. For podcasters: #podcasters
The #podcasters community is, of course, for writers, producers, makers, and hosts of podcasts. It’s also for avid listeners of podcasts, and those who perhaps want to create their own digital radio show someday. The group has just over 300 registered members and touches on topics like launching, promotion, artwork, equipment, and more.
3. For makers: #Launch
#Launch was created in 2006 on a whim by 18-year-old Jon Wheatley. It started out as an old-school chatroom with about 20 members. In this secret community, its members (all mostly teenagers at the time) dabbled in web design and development. Over 10 years, many of its members have gone on to do big things. They are Y-Combinator founders, Thiel Fellows, serial entrepreneurs, investors, and passionate makers. They represent companies like Uber, Apple, Dropbox, and more. This Slack community now has 4,000 like-minded members who “collaborate, discuss new products, find work, get feedback, or even find a co-founder,” according to the site.
4. For digital journalists: Digital Journalism Rocks
This new Slack community was created by Lina Timm, program manager with Media Lab Bayern in München. It’s not even a year old. Timm was in search of a place where digital journalism enthusiasts could talk about new projects, collaborate on ideas, and share successes and failures. The global group now is a few hundred strong and covers niche topics like data journalism, messaging bots, monetization, and more. Not sure if you want to join? Take a peek at their Medium page to get acquainted. You also can follow the conversation on Twitter: #djrocks.
5. For freelancers: #freelance
Freelancers, no matter where they live, tend to share the “same common struggles and victories, the same annoyances and benefits,” says the site. The #freelance community wants members to share those experiences with those who know exactly where they’re coming from. Members can utilize the group to form friendships, find tips, boost their business, locate opportunities with potential clients or through partnerships with other freelancers, or just take a break from the grind.
6. For data gatherers: Open Data Community
The ODC Slack community is a place for real-time communication and collaboration on the topic of open data. The group has just over 2,300 members, made up of individuals, nonprofits and corporations alike. Its featured channels help members find open data sources online. They also will find information on events and resources on mapping techniques and other data-related tools and technology.
7. For bot fans: Botmakers
Bots have taken hold in the journalism world. They can help increase productivity, gather data, automate processes, and even fuel chats — like the communities we’re talking about here. With thousands of bots available on Slack, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Kik, Telegram, and Skype, many are working to create their own for personal use or for their organizations. The Botmaker community is for bot fans and creators alike, who want to share information and assist one other. According to the site, its members are “artists, journalists, educators, tinkerers, bot enthusiasts and seasoned pros who make and share friendly, useful, and artistic online bots.”
8. For news futurists: Modern Journalist
Modern Journalist, much like the Digital Journalism Rocks community, explores the future of news. This Slack community started in 2015 and is moderated by Nathan Gibbs, assistant professor at Abilene Christian University and general manager of KACU 89.5 FM in Texas. The group covers everything from web journalism, digital reporting, interactive storytelling, and engagement. You also can talk with industry folks about job opportunities and freelancing — in addition to gaining other intel and advice. Follow @ModernJourno on Twitter for more.
9. For VR and AR enthusiasts: VR Theory
Speaking of the future of news, virtual reality and artificial reality are some of the most talked about trends impacting media this year. To keep up with the latest news and tools in the VR/AR space, join the conversation in this 300+ member group. You can also help nominate its next AMA.
10. For social media buffs: Buffer
Buffer is well-known in the social media space for its scheduling platform which allows users to manage social sharing and analytics across a number of social networks. Its Slack community is a real-time home for social media marketers and people who use social media for their work or hobbies to discuss their common interests. According to its page, members can share the latest news or ask for advice, discover new books and resources to keep learning, find encouragement or just share some fun GIFs.
11. For Slack rookies: Learn Slack
If before you join a subject-based community you want to gain an overall understanding of the Slack app and how to make it work for you, join this group of 400+ members to learn insider tips and tricks.
Like what you see, but not sure how to get started? First, download the Slack app for your phone or desktop. Then, request to join your group(s) of choice from the individual site URLs above. Follow the instructions for the group from there.
Slack Etiquette 101
If you’ve participated in a Twitter chat, Slack etiquette should look quite familiar to you. If you’re new to the chat game, here are a few quick rules to abide by.
- Look for community-specific guidelines. Many Slack communities will have their own guidelines or codes of conduct for how they wish members to conduct themselves in the group. Prevent making a community faux pax by taking a quick peek around their site before jumping in. There may be additional rules and regs to the ones you see below. For example, here is #Launch’s community guidelines and Botmaker’s code of conduct.
- Introduce yourself. Just as you would in any type of meet and greet with strangers, make sure your first interaction is a proper hello. Want to look like an expert? Make a solid introduction into the chat, explaining who you are, what you do, and what you hope to contribute and/or get in return.
- Create meaningful conversation. In most of these above chats, members are there to learn and expand their skillset. Pose thoughtful questions and craft meaningful, clear replies to help add to the discussion. The more valuable and authentic your replies, the more likely people will come to rely on you and jump to your aid in return.
- Be professional. It’s a common-sense tip. You may not agree with everyone, but always be sure to be constructive in your conversation. Be respectful and don’t spam the group or troll its members.
- Make sure you’re in the right channel. Each community may keep a number of different channels based on topic, to help keep discussions organized. For example, they may have a channel specifically on #jobs and another on #chatbots, among many others. Before asking a question or jumping into the conversation, make sure you’re in the correct channel for your specific talking points.
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Anna Jasinski is manager of audience relations at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter at @annamjasinski or on Snapchat. You can also catch her sharing the latest news in journalism and blogging on @BeyondBylines.