Back in 2009 I had my book on community management and best practice published. It was called The Art of Community, published by O’Reilly.

When it came out I was pretty nervous. It was arguably the first book on community management, and structuring the many and varied topics of community management into a cohesive text was a challenge. I wrestled that challenge for six months writing the book, through my own body weight in coffee and late nights, and such was pretty nervous about how well it would be received. Fortunately, the reviews were very positive and people seemed to enjoy the book.

A little while ago I was getting the itch to write an updated edition. In the time that passed since the first edition I had learned a number of new things about the profession of community management and I was keen to jot them down into a second edition of the book. I contacted my editor, the always affable Andy Oram, and suggested an updated edition. Fortunately, Andy and the good folks at O’Reilly agreed and I set forth on the book.

The Second Edition

The first edition of the book covered most of the major topics that confront a community manager or leader. This includes:

  • The social underpinnings of community.
  • Building a community strategy.
  • Communicating effectively.
  • Building simple and efficient processes.
  • Creating collaborative workflow and facilities.
  • Building buzz and excitement about your community.
  • Measuring community and growth.
  • Governance and community structure.
  • Conflict resolution and relationships.
  • Creating and running events.
  • Hiring a community manager.

For the second edition I revisited all of the existing content. I wanted to re-read the entire book, review what I wrote, improve areas where I felt like I lacked clarity, and otherwise just up the game of the book.

I am also delighted that the second edition includes a new foreword, this time with Chris Anderson, Editor of Wired and author of The Long Tail as well as including the foreword from the first edition with Leo Laporte, founder of the TWiT network.

I also added some new chapters to cover some important new topics:

  • Managing and Tracking Work – this chapter takes all the strategic planning and work definition from earlier in the book and puts in place methods of assigning work, keeping things on track, checking in on progress, keeping people motivated, and if you work inside a company, communicating to different stakeholders efficiently.
  • Social Media – this chapter takes an honest, frank look at social media, its benefits, and some of the pitfalls. The chapter cuts through the hype and identifies how to use social media effectively, not to get over-exposed, manage social media feeds, and coordinate campaigns.
  • Events – the events chapter has had a significant addition where I discuss how to organize a summit, using the Ubuntu Developer Summit as a case study.

I have always believed that the best way to learn and soak up experience and knowledge is the sharing of stories. The first edition of The Art of Community is filled with stories from my career and others, and the second edition continues to include many stories, examples, and life lessons that have helped to shape my perspectives on community management.

I wanted to take this a step further in the second edition and reach to some folks I know to do some interviews about their experience and guidance in growing community. This includes interviews with:

Linus Torvalds
Creator, Linux

Mike Shinoda
Creator, Linken Park

Tim O’Reilly
Founder, O’Reilly Media

Mårten Mickos
CEO, Eucalyptus and MySQL

James Spafford
Media Molecule and LittleBigPlanet

Dries Buytaert
Founder, Drupal and Acquia

Mark Bussler
Creator, Classic Game Room

Mike Linksvayer
CTO, Creative Commons

Mary Colvig

Richard Esguerra
Humble Indie Bundle

Ilan Rabinovitch
Co-Creator, SoCal Linux Expo

Carolyn Mellor
X.commerce, PayPal, and eBay

The second edition was a long and exhaustive process, but I am really proud of the results, and I hope you enjoy it. I think it provides a good, solid foundation of how to build great community and the challenges and opportunities involved.

How To Get It

If you are interested in reading The Art of Community, you can buy it on Amazon and all good bookshops (you can find the Amazon links for your country on this page).

The book is also freely available under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, and you can download it here.

If you do decide to download the book freely, all I ask is that if you like it, please write up a book review online and/or leave a review on the Amazon page. This helps to sell books and continue to support O’Reilly releasing their books under Creative Commons licenses.

Community Leadership Summit – Coming Soon!

One final note…don’t forget that on 14th – 15th July 2012 in Portland, Oregon there will be the Community Leadership Summit; this is the main annual gathering of community managers and leaders. The event is an attendee-driven unconference, and session leaders will all get a free printed copy of The Art of Community (while stocks last).

The event is FREE but you need to register. See the list of registered attendees and I hope to see you there!

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