I’m a community manager a drummer and a jujitsu fan. The thread connecting community management, drum beats, and Brazilian submission grappling, is small but it’s important to me.
All Community Managers need to stay on top of the immediate (tweets, emails, users’ questions). But, at the same time, you need to have a wider, more strategic view of where the community is going, how you can make it better, and what little steps you can take to get it there. This is a lot like jujitsu.
In my first class back to jujitsu after a brief hiatus, I got trounced. Anyone starting jujitsu knows, you leave your ego at the door and get on the mat to learn. When you’re on the mat, you have to focus on the immediate, subtle movements (your opponent’s grip, how their hips are shifting) while anticipating, and countering, their next move. If you focus too much on every subtle movement, you won’t see your opening for the win, for a submission. If you only think about the finish, you’ll miss that movement and odds are you’ll get choked out.
Managing an editorial calendar, I have to produce content everyday, and still think about how to improve the blog as a whole. It’s a dualistic mindset: paying attention to the micro, while looking towards the macro. I think about it in the same way I think about jujitsu. But, when I’m trying to produce quality content, whether it be through writing or playing drums, I put myself in a different, creative mindset.
If I’m not interested in what I’m playing, why should the audience be? If wouldn’t want to read my own blog posts, why would readers want to? When I’m drumming, my goal is to play to make the song better–nothing else.
There are two of Twilio’s core values that I try to remind myself of regularly:” No Shenanigans” and “No Ego.” If I’m playing something flashy on stage just for me, it won’t improve the song. If I’m trying to pitch, pitch, pitch in a blog post, I’ll come off sounding like Billy Mays. Whether I’m behind a desk or a drum set, reminding yourself to be humble and think about what you’re making (and why) is key.
My family will still make fun of me or call me a hipster for having “weird” interests but I think of my hobbies as some strange ecosystem that chugs along somehow. Yes, I have dark circles under my eyes and tendonitis in my thumbs at age 24, but I’m fine with it. The thread connecting drumming, community management and jujitsu may be small, but it’s one I try to tie around my finger everyday and remind myself to do better.
Thanks for reading.