As you become established in the community, you can start to take the benefits of being part of a community for granted; instead of looking to help out whenever you can, you only reach out to the community when you need a hand. A community is only as strong as the people that help it grow, and sometimes it feels as though the people with the most knowledge and experience are not giving back.
You know how it goes: you get a little busy and maybe one day you realize you may not have visited the online community in awhile, so you return for a short time then disappear again. To be active in the community, you have to stay active, and that takes time and effort. The truth is that the only people who stick around, are the ones that feel as though they are getting something out of it.
We are more well-connected than ever before, so why does it feel at times as though we are so far apart? Why do the people we look up to seem so unreachable, when they are only an email away? If anything, we should be more connected and in tune with the community than we were a decade ago; but due to the size of the community, this is not the case. For example, it can be difficult to be an active member on even five of the hundreds of communities out there that are focused on our profession.
What are the rewards you get from the time you put into a community? It is a great feeling when you offer a thorough critique of someone’s design, and they come back to you with thanks for helping them finish a project they were really worried about. And why not take the time to sit down and write about some your design and development experiences? Someone will find it valuable. Let the next person write the definitive blog post on “Fifty Photoshop Textures That Will Last a Lifetime.”
Trainee @ Smashing Magazine
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