What does it mean to be in community? This has been on my mind constantly over the past few years as I’ve focused on community building in various spaces in my life. One of those spaces is Content + UX, probably the largest and most visible group for content and content-adjacent professionals in the field. We’ve grown to more than 14,000 members across every continent (except Antarctica…for now), at every stage of career, working in every type of workplace. How on earth do you foster a close-knit culture of connection and shared learning among a massively diverse group like this? And to what end?
There are no easy or obvious answers. But I tackled some of them — and others — with Greg Dunlap, host of the thoughtful and ever-nourishing podcast, This Must Be The Place. This conversation took place almost two whole years ago, but our community is still living in and with these ideas and questions, as I think many communities inevitably do.
Even now, I keep coming back to the idea that being in community with my professional peers means sharing an open space where everyone is valued and able to contribute at their own pace and learn from each other. I’ve tried to foster this as facilitator of Content + UX, and I’m continually blown away by how our members show up for each other.
“I shared…many months ago about my toxic workplace and how I was constantly disrespected and disregarded. (And I think I asked, is this normal? lol)…I received a lot of support from this community including kind words of encouragement and incredibly helpful portfolio feedback. ❤️ I even got the chance to meet few lovely writers in Seoul for dinner and drinks!
I wanted to share that I started a new job a week ago! 🙌 I prioritized joining a company with higher UX maturity level and collaborative work environment. My new manager is an amazing mentor/leader who has been helping me grow as a UX writer and content strategist. I feel more comfortable and confident at my new workplace and the support I received from this community helped me massively to get there. Thank you so much to those who helped a total stranger, I am so grateful. 💖”—YJ, Content + UX member (emphasis original)
These kinds of experiences are shared frequently in the group—they are the embodiment of the meaning of being in community. As we enter yet another economic crisis in which our workplace systems too often devalue our humanity and make us feel isolated and powerless, I cannot express how much gratitude I have for the existence of the Content + UX community, and the many thousands of members who contribute, support each other, and simply show up to be with each other.
This really is the place.