An Open Letter about “Doing Community Online”

An Open Letter about “Doing Community Online”

I think this is going to be the last mega-post that I write for this week, but it’s the one I’ve actually been looking forward to writing. Unlike the last few, this one isn’t sharing bad news….AND it’s useful for EVERYBODY in our community. 

It’s about Indy Hall’s online community spaces, and how you can stay connected while working from home, and how we plan to continue doing what we do everyday using tools and technology on the internet. 

BUT FIRST!

We know remote tools are new for a lot of people, and we don’t want you left out if you’re not familiar. 

There are a wide range of people who join our Indy Hall community. Some people – especially those of you on remote teams – are already very familiar with popular tech tools like Slack and Zoom. (Also, what a silly bunch of names these apps have!) 

However now is a good time for us ALL to remember that not everyone’s used to, or comfortable, with video chat. Learning new tools can be confusing and frustrating. 

If you’re in that boat, don’t fret. This week has been a bit extra but next week we want to host some “Work From Home Tech 101” sessions in a no-pressure, no judgement environment. We’ll have a way to sign up for that next week, and they’ll be free for all members (and very affordable for everybody else).

👉 If you’re someone who has been using tools like Slack and Zoom to connect remotely with people for a while, and would like to volunteer to host one of these 101 sessions, please drop us a line at team@indyhall.org so we can collaborate on the contents and help get them lined up!

In the meantime, here are two tools that Indy Hall is using a LOT and what they are:

Zoom

Zoom is kinda like facetime but WAY more powerful and supports groups better. It works really well on Apple and Windows computers, and even on mobile phones (iOS and Android). It’s free to install.

Once Zoom is installed, following any Zoom link on that device (computer or mobile) will automatically take you to the correct group video chat. 

Slack

Slack is a text chat tool, so it’s a bit like texting from your computer or phone BUT has different rooms to organize conversations (and people) into interests, topics, and kinds of conversations. It’s great for sharing links, asking quick questions, and friendly banter. 

These are some of the most valuable and popular channels to join!

💪 Indy Skillz

What: One of the best parts of our community is being able to get help when you are stuck on a question or problem, or want to learn about almost anything. In the #indyskillz channel, you almost always find someone in the community who can help! 

Tip: Post here whenever you want help learning something new (or when you learn something that you want to share). 

✅ Daily Goals

What: Feeling unproductive? WHO ISN’T right now. If it’s helpful, this channel is a place to share your daily goals, be kind and encouraging to each other, and help each other be accountable. #1 rule of Daily Goals is “don’t be afraid to ask for help”

Tip: Check out this page for some member-suggested guidance on getting the most from this channel.

☀️ Brightside

What: Need a break from bad news? Share something, anything, that makes you feel delight. Though this channel is one of the newest to be added to our Slack, it’s quickly become one of the most active (and necessary) resources for much needed relief. One of our amazing members made this room to share “an escape from the worries of the world”, and every little post of optimism and happiness does just that.

All of these rooms (and many more) are available in our members only Slack “workspace”. If you don’t have access to Indy Hall’s Slack (or can’t remember how to get in) send us an email and we’ll help out!

We do have and use other tools, but these two are going to be the MOST IMPORTANT (besides email) over the coming weeks. 

❤️ A bit of Indy Hall “Netiquette”

Whether you’re an online veteran or brand new to internet spaces, Internet Etiquette (aka “Netiquette” is something that we can all be mindful to observe. This is true always, but especially true right now. 

First and foremost, offline rules apply online. Our code of conduct is fully transferable online. And when in doubt, don’t say anything online you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. That’s that. 

Second, please try to post with context. Especially with the instinct to share every link and news snippet that happens, we’d like to avoid a situation where our online spaces are inundated with links…but no discussion. That’s a bit like running into a room, saying a random sentence, and walking away. Not exactly the friendliest interaction, especially when the link may include stressful news!

So if you have a link you wish to share, that is 100% what these spaces are for but please take a moment to share it with context. What does this link make you think or feel? Does it raise a question for discussion? Does it just make you happy? Will others find it useful, and if so, who?

Taking the time to share with CONTEXT helps make online conversations more like in-person ones. It takes some practice but is a good communication habit in general. 

Third, ask for consent before sharing private conversations in public. Even though we’re connecting on the internet, the Indy Hall spaces are typically member-only spaces by default. 

If you want to share a screenshot of what someone said, or a group photo of a gathering on zoom, that’s okay BUT please ask permission from the people appearing in your image first! 

Most people will appreciate being asked and quickly say yes, but some have good reasons for preferring to keep their presence out of public spaces and will appreciate even MORE that you asked first. In most cases, you can still share as long as you crop or cover part of the image. 

Have other netiquette suggestions? Tweet at Alex and we’ll add them!

With those two things in mind, we DO have a growing list of low-key and high value online community things that have already taken shape. 

So if you’re looking for a little bit of extra human contact, or a friendly distraction from the world outside, this is YOUR personal invitation to join us for any or all of them.

If you’re not a member yet, our online community membership starts at just $20/month.

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