We Can Be Better: Let’s Do It Together

We Can Be Better: Let’s Do It Together

Maybe it’s the change of seasons, or perhaps growing pains, but there have been some interesting shenanigans going on in the community.  I was chuffed when Adam Crahen posted his blog What’s Wrong with the Community it took some courage to publish, perhaps there could be some negative feedback.  I agree, it’s not broken, but there’s definitely a few cracks that I’d love for us to polyfilla over!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I felt compelled after seeing and experiencing some things I believe aren’t great for a thriving community.  I thought I’d throw out some ideas as a starter for us to chat about what will make our community the best (again)!


My Top 5 Suggestions are:

Welcoming Newbies & Promoting Members on the “Up & Up”
It can be a little daunting for new people to find a foothold, particularly if they are more on the introvert side of the fence.  #TableauFF is a great way to share your latest and greatest finds in the Tableau Community – we were all there once, give others a hand up!

If someone posts their first #makeovermonday give them kudos – it’s hard to post that first MM tweet, especially when there are so many talented Tableau Designers out there! Like & RT!

Spread the LOVE!
If you find something that you think could help others, or piques your interest RT and like it on Twitter, or share on LinkedIn.

Acknowledge Your Inspiration:
One of my favourite quotes is from Isaac Newton “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”. It displays the ultimate in humility, acknowledging the great people who have helped shape ideas.

There have been times in my career when others have presented my work as there’s, and it really hurts.  I’d recommend acknowledging other people’s influence on your work, whether it be a viz you’re recreating and publishing, or simply using it for inspiration on another data set.  It’s easy to give a shout out to the person who kicked off your idea.

This goes for posting blog posts as well!  If people have posted something similar already, reach out to them and see if you can collaborate.  Sometimes reaching out and letting people know you’re going to do something along the same lines can be a bit confronting, see if you can work together.  Also, be sure to mention them in your blog and explain why you’re extending or building on the original post.


Be Prepared for Comments
If you put something out, be prepared for people to chat to you about it.  Sometimes it will be warm and fuzzy, and other times it may raise your eyebrows.  Take the time to understand the reason behind the comments, and respond (or don’t) it’s your choice.  Feedback can help you understand your original ideas even more, use it wisely!


Getting Hot and Frothy?  Take it Behind the Scenes
There’s no need to drag out the dirty laundry in front of everyone.  If there’s a disagreement, 140-280 characters doesn’t make it easy to resolve. The easiest thing is to pick up the phone (Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, etc),  otherwise take it to DM.  Twitter discussions tend to be circular, and also spiral out of control.  Nip it in the bud beforehand.


Tag! You’re it!! It’s your turn now! What else could help our community thrive?  I welcome your feedback.

xo VizChic


Add yours
  1. 1

    Seth Godin talks a lot about how everyone has a microphone these days and, when dealing with a brand community that lives in the online social space, it’s easy to focus on what goes out. I’d also argue that social (online) communities lose track of their history faster. Some of this is the change in pace of society – we are moving so fast now. Are we taking enough time to think and reflect, as you did above? Online puts a layer between that human contact that drives our emotional thinking – we don’t see how our actions affect others without them directly stating so. We’re also global – you’re in Australia while I’m in the US. Culturally, there may be a lot of overlap, but we have different histories and may value different things.
    I’d definitely echo what you said above. I’d probably add to keep in mind that we’re different and we all have different motivations for participating in the community. That affects how we perceive what we own (ex: techniques we introduce to others), how much we want others to tweak our work (some people beg for it while others see it as an insult), our role in the community (novice, expert, “celebrity”), and what we want (bonds, recognition, etc). Listen. Ask questions. Realize not everyone sees or feels the same about things. Turn the microphone off at times and really observe. Repeat what you hear/read versus framing your next argument – in short, slow down.
    Also, recognize we are a small share of the users that Tableau serves. When new people come to the door, what kind of party do we want them to find? Are we opening the door to everyone, or are we creating a sorority of sorts? There will always be people off towards the walls at a party (HI!) with a gaggle in the center. This is purely human. Are we shutting people out versus letting them find their space? We all have our own experiences to add and different people will benefit from them.

    1. Get out of your shoes and think about others.
    2. Turn off the mic – take time to listen, especially if the pace is getting frenetic.
    3. Recognize we’re all different and will see/feel/understand things differently – the community is global.
    4. Ask, don’t assume.
    5. Open the door for others.

    (Sorry so long)

    • 2

      Hey Bridget,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to respond so thoroughly to my post. It’s taken me a while to respond, I’m sorry! I was really overwhelmed by the thought provoking comments you made.

      I love your callout on people’s motivations behind participation. I agree 100%! We all have different reasons for why we write, or we don’t – participation in Iron Viz is a great example of this!

      Moreover, the need to really step back and listen is another great example of how we can be better – this is something I need to practice on a daily basis! Definitely asking questions, seeking to understand is something that i soften forgotten but helps us to connect.

      Thanks again for commenting on the blog. You really made my day when I read it, and have re-read it for inspiration time and again.

      All the best,

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