The Eleventh Annual Southern California Linux Expo
February 22-24, 2013
Hilton Los Angeles International Airport

Growing an Online User Community: A Review of the XBMC Method


There are approximately six free, online methods a FLOSS organization may use to speak with users. The people behind the organization may typically have a blog or series of blogs (depending on site setup). They may have a forum. They may operate through the various short expression and linking social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Reddit. They may operate a video channel via Youtube or other video sharing site. They make seek to communicate through a louder, third-party news or blog site (e.g. Engadget, Lifehacker, or Phoronix). And finally they may seek to communicate directly through a community software development tool like Github or Trac. Each of these methods of communication has its advantages and disadvantages, and XBMC has used every one over the course of its development lifecycle. Other offline methods also exist, including putting together Meetups, attending conferences such as SCALE 11x, etc. However, each of these offline methods tends to have some expense associated with it, making it unattainable for a typical FLOSS development group with limited resources. As such it becomes crucial for such organizations to maximize the free methods of promoting their software by growing and exciting their online community of users. In FLOSS, as the user base grows, so grows the development community, and as the dev community grows, so grows the software. The purpose of this presentation is to describe each of the six relatively free methods of communication, to talk about some simple best practices for each method, and finally to discuss how each method can be used jointly with other methods to increase reach based on the experience of Nathan Betzen, Community Manager of XBMC. Slides and video of past work will be displayed.

Los Angeles C
Friday, February 22, 2013 - 11:30 to 12:30