Monday, 21 September 2015

The Anatomy of a Google Community: Introducing the Chronicle User's Group

2 years ago Peter Lawrey CEO of Chronicle created the Performance Java User's Group. This is a Google community dedicated to sharing information in the form of blog posts, videos or presentations related to extreme Java performance.

The community has exceeded expectations in terms of both the number of people who have joined (currently standing at over 2000) and in the quality of the contributions received from its members.

So what are Google communities?  And why do we need yet another forum of sharing data.

Google communities are not question and answer forums or blogs - they have their own characteristics which I'll try and explain, at least from my experience.

Question and answer groups are aimed at solving individual's problems.  An individual will reach out to the community for help on a particular subject. This might turn out to be useful to other people but for most of the time, most members won't be interested in seeing most of the contributions to the forum.  You can describe this as a one to few relationship. One individual raises a subject which is interesting to a few within the community. StackOverflow would be an example of this.

Blogs are an individual's thoughts and perspectives on a particular subject. Subscribers will be interested in all the content but it is coming from only one individual.  Whether these blogs are from an individual or a company they are presenting a very curated moderated stream of data which by definition will lack a holistic communal perspective. You can characterise this as a one to many community. An individual reaches out with information which should interest all their community.  This blog or a FaceBook page would be an example of this.

Communities present information, which unlike Q&A groups should be interesting to all its members.  However communities unlike blogs share information from the community about a subject.  This leads to a much broader perspective and richer pool of data from which can be drawn.  This can be characterised as a many to many relationship.

Today we announce the Chronicle User's Group a forum to discuss Chronicle technology. We have bootstrapped it with about 20/30 relevant articles.  We will continue to update it with interesting information about Chronicle but are intending that users of Chronicle technology will also share their experiences on the group.  

We often come across Chronicle users happy to blog about how they implemented Chronicle into their projects.  This would be an ideal place to share these posts.  They would be of great benefit, not only us as stewards of Chronicle but to the rest of the community.

Even if you haven't actually used Chronicle software we will share some of the techniques behind our software. You might well find useful and can apply to other software projects especially if you are involved in performance Java applications.

We welcome you all to come and join this community.

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