One thing that the VMware Community has done well is putting together community-organized webinars by presenters who are passionate about the subjects that they are presenting on. The topics of these weekly webinars range from basic automation to preparation for the advanced VMware Certification exams and Dev-Ops.
As far as I know, this is unique in the world of IT. I’m not aware of any other community that has organized itself around an ecosystem and provides a plethora of education opportunities that would otherwise cost tens thousands of dollars if it were offered as professional training.
So what does vBrownbag have to do with a magazine made up of community content?
A few months ago, I listened to a VMware Communities Roundtable podcast that featured Stephen Foskett (Twitter: @SFoskett) and Howard Marks (Twitter: @DeepStorageNet). The main focus of the podcast was about Technical Influencer/Writer/Analyst careers. One of the things that Stephen discussed in some detail was how the medium-form written article of about 5000-15000 words has all but disappeared as the technical magazines have folded or reduced their rates to freelance writers as advertising sales fell. Today, there are very few technical magazines that I am aware of where the articles aren’t advertising for the IT vendors.
This change isn’t necessarily for the better. It hurts IT as a profession, especially those who are just entering into IT who need resources to help them develop professionally.
But while the Internet may be the cause of this problem, it also provides a solution. It’s easy for anyone to create a digital publication.
But wait…isn’t that what blogging is?
To an extent, yes. But while there are a ton of blogs out there that provide great content, it can be a challenge to find them if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
A solution to this may lie in the PowerShell community. They have created, through PowerShell.org, what appears to be a community digital magazine with articles written by experts such as Don Jones and Steven Murawski.
Another great example of this is The Virtualization Practice – a news and analysis site staffed by virtualization community experts like Bob Plankers and Edward Haletky.
Is it time for more sites like these? I think it is. The decline of more technical related periodicals has left a gap – one that the community is uniquely suited to fill.