The Importance of the #vCommunity – Part 1

Back in September I did my first solo vBrownBag talk at the NY/NJ VMUG UserCon on the importance of the #vCommunity. Since that day I’ve wanted to translate and expand that discussion into a blog post. It was a lightning talk so I know that I missed a few things. The link to the video can be found here. I’ve been a bit busy with two little guys at home so this post has been a bit delayed but I’ve found new inspiration after reading a post from the great Rebecca Fitzhugh. Rebecca wrote about the #vCommunity as well, I’m not going to spoil it for you, you can read it for yourself (Hoping I make the cut next year!). So…..show of hands, who knows what the #vCommunity is?

Oh right. Blog post. Not a presentation. 🙂

So from my perspective, the #vCommunity is a collection of resources around the virtualization community. The most important of these resources is people. Community starts with people that are looking to share their experiences with others. I always say, why go it alone when you can roll with your buddies?

People aren’t just limited to the women and men that you have conversations with at a VMUG (More on VMUG later). People can be found in many different places, whether it’s online on a community forum such as VMTN, Reddit or Experts Exchange or on social media like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, there’s also Slack and the many groups there as well. People are eveywhere and they want to learn, teach and colloborate.

My personal favorite venue though is VMUG. I love the social interaction that I get going to these events. They usually involve discussions around technology that I am passionate about with a bunch of like minded individuals who speak the language. Now granted, I may be a little biased since I am a co-leader of the NYC VMUG. VMUG is a volunteer driven organization so the people that are organizing the meetings are doing it in their spare time because they want to be there. I’m actually going to elaborate on VMUG specifically in a later post.

Another great resource out there are blogs. You can learn everything you could ever want to know by using a friendly neighborhood search engine. Trying to deploy new software? Studying for a new certification? Can’t decide what gear to buy for your home lab? Someone has written about it, if not, you could. The thing that I love about blogs is that they are usually written by a person not a company. I love getting a perspective from people like me. Here are some of the resources that I use. I know that I’m forgetting some but it is not intentional, there are just too many good ones to list.

VMware Blogs Page, VirtuallyGhetto, Wahl Network, Ariel Sanchez’s Blog, TechnicloudVirtuallySoberVirtualHobbitPunching Clouds, Yellow Bricks

Blogs are great but they are mostly static. What if you’d like to have a conversation with someone? That’s where social media and online forums come into play. There are a ton of these as well. There’s old faithful: Twitter. There is also the VMware Technology Network (VMTN) which has a ton of resources for you to indulge on. Reddit is awesome as well, and there are also a ton of resources on LinkedIn. All of these sites and resources are great to reach out and talk to people that you can get direct, accurate answers from. I’m not talking about just the average admin either. Just take a look at #vExpert on Twitter. There are a ton of great blog posts as well as awesome conversations about current relevant topics.

There are some other great resources where you can not only learn a lot but talk to people just like you. Seek and ye shall find.

Forums – Reddit, GitHub, VMTN, VMUG communities, LinkedIn, Slack, etc.

Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, Slack

Podcasts – Datanauts, VirtuallySpeaking, vBrownBag, The Geek Whisperers, The Full Stack Journey

This is just the beginning of the journey. Being a parent, I hear the phrase, “It takes a village…” quite often. It’s true when it comes to raising kids but it can be applied to life and work as well. I spent six years of my life in the Marine Corps and it really was an amazing experience. The sense of community was so strong that you wind up embracing those around you as family. I find a lot of parallels between the Marine Corps and the #vCommunity. Everyone who takes part is there to lift one another up. When one of us dives into something, the rest of us give our support. Or when one of us is down because of a layoff, or a failed cert or whatever the case may be, we are all there to lift them up and make sure that they are not down for long. It’s a lot easier to succeed when you’re not trying to do everything by yourself.

I’m going to do my best to provide you with additional resources as well as my own personal experiences with the #vCommunity. In part 2 of this series I’m going to dive into the benefits of the #vCommunity and how it can help you in your career, the quest for knowledge or just meeting new, awesome people.

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