Are we an insular community?

One of the points that was raised in the Lotusphere blogger BOF was that our Notes/Domino blogging community seems to cross-link and comment on each other’s blogs to the point that our community feels very “insular.” Some people expressed concerns about not being able to break in and add their voice.

I can see how some people may get that impression. Our blogging community IS pretty tight-knit, and we DO spend a lot of time reading each other’s opinions and analysis. But I don’t believe it’s because we are trying to exclude anyone. In fact, I think our community is one of the most welcoming when it comes to adding new voices.

I base this on the fact that people are introducing new bloggers all the time on their blogs. Bruce and Chris Byrne are both very good at this, and I know many other people do this as well. And I even base this on my own experiences. When I starting blogging in Sept. of 2003, I got such a great reception. People introduced me on their blogs, and gave me some helpful tips and constructive criticism, and when I read and commented on other blogs, I started seeing people hitting mine based on what I said elsewhere.

The more I posted (on my blog and elsewhere) the more my hitcounts went up, and the more I started seeing my name in other blogrolls. The point is, if you want to join us, start a blog, start posting, and start commenting. That’s all you need to do.

Then at Lotusphere (or a usergroup meeting, or a DevCon etc.), come up and introduce yourself. You’ll find that blogging ends up being a common ground we can start from.

In the two and a half years that I’ve been doing this, I’ve seen an explosion in Domino bloggers. Just go check out the blogroll at to see how many there are now. And hell, I’m sure that list is missing some people too. The point I’m trying to make is if you want to contribute, you can, and we WANT you to.

Now, the other concern voiced was the problem of “group-think” amongst the community. It’s the thought that we are all going to agree on everything and post the same stuff. I don’t think this could be farther from the truth. The thing about our community is that we are all pretty strong-willed people who have very strong opinions that might not agree. I really like Chris Byrne as a person (and fellow karaoke companion) but I think he would agree that our viewpoints differ QUITE a bit on things. We still respect each other, and each other’s opinions, but there is definitely no group-think there. We are pretty diverse in our thinking too. Just read Rocky Oliver , jonvon , Devin Olson , Rob McDonagh , Domino Preacher , or Volker Weber to see just HOW diverse this group can be. We all have different interests, different opinions and different takes on things. And we aren’t afraid to say how we feel. I think that brings an honesty to our group that quite frankly I haven’t seen in any other community.

And don’t think that just because we like Notes/Domino that we are all drinking the kool-aid all the time. It’s not the case at all. We take IBM/Lotus to task when we need to. Just see my posts on Workplace Services Express if you want proof.

So, in general, I want you to know that we WANT to hear your voice. Start a blog, let us know about it, and you’ll see how welcoming we can be.