In response to @h0bbel: The "vCommunity"

This is not my normal sort of post – don’t worry, normal service will resume shortly.

I read Christian’s comments on the vCommunity – or lack of it – yesterday and although some things resonate with me, and a lot of other people, I don’t quite agree. I want to be clear this is a response to Christian and not an argument, I respect Christian as someone who does contribute to the vCommunity.

I think that there is a strong "vCommunity" – but I don’t think you will see much of it by following some twitter "superstars".

Christian says:

As clickbait replaces journalism, hyperbole and FUD seems to be replacing what used to be based on technical merit.

And this is something that I agree with…there are a lot of "big names" on twitter and on their blogs who are using their large audience to spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). I’ve seen so many running battles over this kind of nonsense recently that I 100% understand why Christian would feel like he does.

As a side note to those working for vendors who engage in this online FUD/counter-FUD – for customer or an independent it leaves people feeling stone cold towards you and your product if your best marketing is to undermine the opposition. Either your product sells on its own merit, or it does not. Give your customers enough credit not to patronise them by engaging in this.

Christian points to Anthony Burke‘s post Remember your Technical Integrity – which again I agree with and would endorse. He also says

…changing your personality, well probably not as healthy. Also, it probably shows that your previous “personality” wasn’t real either. Again, not so healthy

Again, I agree with Christian.

Where I disagree with Christian is here:

we are not collectively working towards anything but our own self indulgence or self worth, or whatever might seem to be the best “move” at any given time

and here

I won’t kid myself into thinking that I can influence this trend in any way, shape or form

Let me explain why.

Let’s take for example the VMUGs – I know for a fact that the people who run the London and South West VMUGs are not doing it for themselves, for personal profile or for any other reason than to build a community. I know them personally and I they are not self promoting. They help people connect, they help people develop – and they don’t get paid for organising these events which take a lot of time and effort to produce. The awesome thing about VMUGs is that it’s in people’s common interest to be involved.

How about blogs? Well, true, some people do use their blogs to spread FUD, or counter-FUD and it’s ugly. Some blogs are about profile. But how many others are just about getting info out there? Take this blog you are reading right now – I have spent countless hours writing articles for this blog, hours of my own personal time. It’s not going to make me rich, it’s not going to make me famous. The number of people making money off of their tech blogs that exceeds the time they put into it, is very small.

Even on twitter there’s a lot to be said for the community – if I tweet out a question on the #vExpert or #VCDX tags I am almost guaranteed to get an answer from people trying to help. You could argue that it’s not altruistic, and they are just trying to prove what they know…but what do I care if they are? I asked for help, they helped me – for free. It’s true, you can’t say that ALL VCDXs, or ALL vExperts contribute in this way, but I’d be willing to bet that the majority do. I have just submitted for VCDX and I can testify to the number of current VCDXs who have helped – and there’s a decent study group of people, working together for

Finally, the question of influence. We all influence everything we are involved in just by being involved – it is our choice as to whether that influence is positive or negative. The old adage "don’t feed the trolls" can apply just as much to FUD – the more you respond with righteous indignation, the more people will see it. Give back to the community, go meet some awesome people at VMUGs, write a blog post that is just about the tech because it might help someone out in future. Contribute on twitter to helping people solve their problems – pay it forward!

I know the frustration that Christian feels, but I also know that he does contribute to the community in these ways – he’s helped me before and I hope that I’ve helped him at some point.

Thanks for reading – and for contributing to a great community.

Sam