Communities are awesome! Not because I am saying so, but because I have tried and tested this out. I am talking about our own Programming Club.
There was a time when, people would say there was no flow of information from the “pro”-s to the people who wanted to learn. They didn’t know where to begin, where to start. The need was there to bridge this gap.
At the same time, Facebook was one thing that was used the most in our institute ( I don’t need to give any justification for this 😉 ). So why not make Facebook a medium for consumption of information, make it the channel for everyday discussions that should be there?
So, one random day, the Programming Club, IIT Jodhpur group was born, over a random idea that spawned when Nishchay and I were talking. The group started out small in number. We did not add everybody we knew. We wanted the group to evolve – to grow into a community. We started out by posting different links ourselves, commenting on each others post and so on. Reason? For the culture to start of asking questions out in a group and sharing stuff that we discover, somebody has to take the initiative and do it.
It evolved just as we expected, it behaved as a community a mini-social network. The people we added, added their friends and this ripple effect grew. So the group that stood at 15 members for the first few days now stands at 329, and we are still growing.
The spirit of sharing knowledge also came by itself, it was not only us that shared the links, but people came and shared tid-bits of info that found all over the web. They began to ask questions. And it worked better than StackOverflow, where things are formal and you are answered by somebody you do not know, here you would get instantaneous answers by the seniors themselves, or anybody who knows the solution. That’s the power of the community – you know you help, because next day when you will need help there will be somebody else there for you. It connected seniors, juniors, alumni, outsiders and even faculty alike on the common ground. We could see our group becoming useful when we used to see teachers as well as alumni joining the discussions.
Sometimes discussions have been productive, sometimes inflammatory. Newcomers have asked questions and got their answers. But what we have accumulated in the process is perhaps a vast knowledge base of our collective efforts. Its perhaps greater than any wiki could provide. We can scroll down the group to see the posts back in the early days or use the search feature in the group (I wonder how many of us use that) to throw us the relevant information.
That’s the power of creating a community around which people want to connect and share. Join the Programming Club community now.