In September we published a community survey and invited feedback. We promoted the survey not just on our community website, but also via Reddit, Twitter, Slack, YouTube, and LinkedIn. We wanted to get your feedback on the current state of our community.
That felt like a revolution because for the first time we realized that a community is not restricted to one website. Instead, it’s wherever FME users get together to interact with each other. If you mention FME in any online platform, then you’re part of the FME Community as far as I’m concerned. Heck, even reading or commenting on this blog counts in my book. And that’s important because we want to include those sites and users on different platforms in our future plans because you all rock!
Countdown to Lift Off
As we’ve mentioned before, our community is like a giant user conference. We don’t just educate and entertain you, we bring users together to make meaningful connections with each other. With that in mind, we’re starting (this very month) to build up our
program of online community engagement. We’re planning events that will be a combination of learning, fun, and recognition; but most importantly events where users can interact with each other, if they choose. To help us all plan, we’re hoping to follow this schedule:
We’re adding a Monday Poll to What’s Up Wednesday (our weekly newsletter) and Question of the Week. (an occasional Friday post about the best forum question). Weekly Wins are small opportunities you can choose to engage in.
These are events we’ll hold once a month. They generally last over an hour or two. It might be an FME quiz or FME challenge, a presentation, tutorial or a social event featuring an online board game.
Community Connection Challenges
These are monthly events, but for the entire month.This gives you a better chance to participate. Again, it might be a quiz or challenge; perhaps something more social. If you look below you’ll see what I have lined up for the rest of 2021.
We like to be spontaneous at Safe, so occasionally we’ll just fire up our computers and present to whoever happens to be around! Who knows when – or in what timezone – we’ll pop-up. Fear not, we’ll always record the events so everyone can catch up later.
The crux is, I want to get you involved without having to go through a sign-up process first. We’ll do that by broadcasting on channels such as Twitch, YouTube, and Discord. These are platforms where we can start a presentation any time we need to and provide forums for live chat. You can watch the presentations without having to create an account or register for anything too.
The Future Is Now!
Let’s see what we’ve got lined up for the rest of 2021…
Did you notice that our Community Connection Challenge (that’s the month-long event) for October involves playing the online game Geoguessr? Geoguessr is where you’re dropped into a random location and have to guess where you are by looking at your surroundings. We can play together online so it’d be a good fun social event. It is also work related, since most of us are geographers at heart! If you want to take part, you’re not too late. Sign up for a free account and send me a friend request. We also have an FME group we can add you to so you can play against other FMEers.
The Mid-Month Mission for October takes place on October 19th when we join forces with Safe Software’s marketing team. This event will be a webinar. We will talk about the community and a sample of the planned challenges and missions. This time we will play a game I like to call Random Acts of Transformation. That’s where a guest and myself will be given an FME transformer at random. Then, we have to come up with demos to show what it does. It’ll be a fun challenge for us and educational for you.
There’s also the Masked Revit User coming up in late October too! That’ll be a live-streamed presentation on the subject of Revit, with a mystery guest.
In November, the Community Connection Challenge will be a greetings card exchange. You’ll sign up to take part and get paired with a random FME user from around the world. You’ll simply send each other a greeting card and hopefully m
ake a valuable new FME connection.
The November Mid-Mont
h Mission will be an FME quiz. It’s been a long time since we did one of those.
We usually do a holiday-related community event in December. This year we’ll use that as our Community Connection Challenge. Last year, we had a series of 12 puzzles (the 12 Days of FME). This year, it will be (I hope) an FME scavenger hunt!
For our Mid-Month Mission I was thinking of a purely social event. Possibly a couple of movie -watching parties, where we gather online and watch a film. It’s the closest thing I can think of to a holiday party that takes place online. Obviously we’ll schedule a couple outside of work hours and in different timezones.
All in all, that’s what’s coming up in the next few months. we’ll set up events that are educational, fun, and/or social and hope that you can join in, because if you didn’t know……
It’s All About You!
It’s true. A community is about its members, not its organizers. It really couldn’t exist without you. We don’t bribe you to take part and we can’t force you either (our lawyers said so). You take part because you want to learn and because you want to connect with other users. You take part because you want to be recognized for your skills and efforts.
Up until now, recognition has been a bit of a weak point – one that the survey results have highlighted. So that’s something I’m going to do something about. For a start, on the Safe community site we’ve implemented a reputation leaderboard for the top 100 members.
We now also have a user-awarded badge (“The Community Award”) that you can award to each other. For example, if one user does something brilliant – for you, or anyone else – you can award them this badge.
We already have a “Safe Award” badge that we’ll be making more use of. Additionally, once we have a minor kink ironed out, there will be a badge for Community Champions to award too.
Plus, I have a lot of other plans in the works:
- Badges for attending webinars
- Free perks for community members
- Levelling-up awards and so much more…
What’s really exciting is that I have control of a specified budget for this purpose – and I’m not afraid to use it! So look out for prizes and rewards for taking part in the community too.
Which brings me to one final thing… Do you remember that last year we announced that October 27th is Community Appreciation Day? Well we didn’t forget and on that date this year we’ll again recognize some of the fantastic users who participate in our community.
The Future’s So Bright
All that is why I think the song “The Future’s So Bright” is appropriate for the community right now. I’ve got a lot of plans, the time to implement them, and a budget to see it all through. More than ever we are able to make the FME Community a 24/7 Worldwide User Conference.
Mark IrelandMark, aka iMark, is the FME Evangelist (est. 2004) and has a passion for FME Training. He likes being able to help people understand and use technology in new and interesting ways. One of his other passions is football (aka. Soccer). He likes both technology and soccer so much that he wrote an article about the two together! Who would’ve thought? (Answer: iMark)