What I expected when I joined the Community Roundtable is a place where community professionals gather and share ideas, but what I have found is far more than that. The key value for me is the leadership and service that Rachel Happe and Jim Storer provide. Community members may come and go, members' level of expertise and experience varies, and members' communities' relevance to my particular situation can be hit-or-miss. So, I may get great, actionable ideas from fellow community members, or I may find what they are sharing doesn’t really apply to me.
But the Community Roundtable’s leaders make all the difference. The Community Roundtable isn’t just a self-service community (although plenty of member-initiative is taking place). The leaders create programming for members at an impressive rate on a wide variety of community-related topics. Every week, it seems, there’s an offering I’m tempted to join. They bring in experts and thought-leaders for intimate presentations and discussions. These are rare opportunities to truly engage not only with the speaker, but because Rachel and Jim are skilled facilitators, there’s always a lively and thought-provoking discussion among the community members and the speaker, as well.
I’ve even learned that it’s not such a bad thing when I miss one of those sessions, because TheCR leaders write up an account of each session afterward. I rarely find it very engaging to sit through a recording of a presentation and discussion I have missed, but to have the key points highlighted and explained and the meaning extracted for me, so I can read and reference them when I am ready? Wow, that’s a great service!
In fact, I’d sum it up by saying valuable programming, content creation and curation by dedicated, experienced and professional community leaders is a key differentiator of The Community RoundTable. I can meet and network with community professionals many places these days, both in person and online, but TheCR provides the best service and leadership that I’ve encountered. That’s why I find The Community Roundtable to be a wonderful complement to my Community BackChannel membership that I’ve been writing about recently. If you’re committed to online community management and can join both, I highly recommend you do so.