Being a Magento extrovert is challenging

Anna Völkl, Nils Preuß & me at Mage Titans

What I should have admitted sooner.

Earlier today I wrote ‘Dear Past Self, here are some tips for Mage Titans’ but since returning from work I have been able to reflect further, delving into my experiences and thoughts on the subject of our Magento community a little more…

Here goes nothing!

Sonja Riesterer : An open, approachable Magento Community

Guido: Let the hard work begin

Kalen Jordan: Welcoming people into the Magento community

After reading these posts on creating a more inviting community around Magento I was pumped to go to Mage Titans in Manchester and put to work everything Sonja, Guido, Kalen and others had mentioned and advised.

We all attend these events to broaden our horizon, learn from other people, and share ideas. Staying within your bubble and our own peer group… limits your chances of being challenged by a different view. -Sonja Riesterer

Yes Sonja! I couldn’t have agreed more.

MageTitans was going to be my first Magento conference since fully submerging myself into the Magento Community and I was going to talk to EVERYONE.

Here’s me, leaving for Mage Titans.

As I walked away from registration (clutching my camera bag, laptop bag, swag bag and new t-shirt, awkwardly trying to get my name tag onto the Space48 lanyard) I looked up at the crowd and…

Here’s me, at Mage Titans

Confession time: I am an introvert.

I don’t know if this will come as a surprise to you or not, but I am painfully shy. As in chest constricting, conspiracy level paranoia, lost for words, brain shutdown style shy and social anxiety.

It is a struggle and if you do relate to what I’m saying, you can rest assured you are not alone. I do my best to fight this fear but I find myself bogged down with regrets after every social interaction I have, and Mage Titans was no different.

Regrets

  • Being awkward
  • Hiding in the the speakers lounge
  • Being too scared to approach people
  • Panicking any time there was a slight pause in conversation
  • Not speaking to everyone I wanted to & planning my social time better
  • Not videoing more
  • Not taking more photos
  • Having to leave early

If I didn’t speak to you personally at the event, I can only apologise and let you know I really wanted to!

STOP ~ Members Only

It’s so easy to only speak to the people know because it’s so hard to pluck up the courage to approach a stranger. I don’t think anyone in the Magento community consciously thinks “This is a high brow Magento members only club that should rarely accept new affiliates, let alone invite them in.” but I can definitely understand why it would look that way from the outside.

As an outsider…

But she [Sonja Riesterer] also struggled with the fact that sometimes once we are in the in-crowd … we don’t always reach out to new people as much as we should. -Kalen Jordan on welcoming new Magento-ers

Am I part of this in-crowd? If so, when did that happen? If not, why not?

I certainly don’t consider myself to be a community celebrity, when I imagine what my position in the Magento community looks like, I see something like this:

erm.. hello, me again *tap tap tap*

I know what it’s like looking from the outside in. Seeing people interact with each other like a well knit family, both online and at events, it is intimidating.

My first #RealMagento tweet was only in February of this year (2016) and I remember my thought process vividly…

  • Is this ok?
  • Am I even allowed to do this?
  • Will they think I’m spam?
  • Will they think I’m stupid?
  • I hope they don’t judge me.
  • I hope they like me.
  • Should I?
  • Shouldn’t I?
  • How fast can I delete it?

All in the space of 5 seconds. And I wasn’t even tweeting anything bad or controversial! I just shared a post by Magento…

Boring right?? Since then I have used the #RealMagento hashtag more than 100 times but, the reason I remember this initial thought process so well, is because it still happens now, every time I share something to the Magento community.

Who’s to blame?

Fear.

Well, that’s what came to my mind when I really, really thought about why people on the outside would struggle to get a foot in the door of this community, and why people on the inside would struggle to leave the door open.

It’s safer to leave the door closed, locked even!

We all fear the unknown, rejection and judgement from others — especially those we look up to or view as important (even if we cannot justify their importance).

What or whoever screams loudest, is not only likely to get attention, but it actually becomes important. This is what psychologists call “The Focussing Illusion” which is linked to the Anchoring effect. -Guido Jansen

You are in a safe place

Trust me.

Now I have met many of the Magento community celebrities, that I was originally too scared to even @ on twitter, I’ve realised I had no reason to be scared. I should have kicked open that Magento community door proclaiming:

“I’m here, I’m queer and I love having a Magento career! #RealMagento” -My first #RealMagento tweet, February 2016 (in an alternate universe.)

Final words…

If you’re on the inside: Don’t blame yourself for that closed community door, I know you aren’t trying to keep out new members. But hey, next time you hear the online whisper of a new person or see someone new at a Magento event, take a deep breath and say hello! If they know Magento, even just a little, you can bet your bottom dollar they are going to be a great person ;)

If you’re on the outside: If that community door looks closed, locked and booby trapped I can assure you, you’re normal (well, as normal as me anyway :P). Putting yourself out there to a bunch of people you don’t know is hard, especially when they are as knowledgeable and close as those in the Magento community are. My advice: Dive in! The worst will not happen.

My twitter handle is @RebeccaLTroth & I want you to tweet / message / follow / talk to me anytime!

Please?