Building a community
At the #misec meeting I attended in mid April there was a panel on building a infosec community… so I’m borrowing their title for a post and giving my two cents in order to spread the topic!
I won’t give a huge synopsis of who said what like I did in my last post about a #misec panel. Instead, please watch #misec’s video on youtube if you’re interested in what was shared.
There were two general categories of discussion at the panel; meetups like #misec or BurbSec, and conferences like Converge or Thotcon. Your community is probably a collection of both. For instance, #misec was born from Bsides Detroit members who wanted more and created monthly meetings to have a smaller (more frequent) version of a Bsides conference. Two aspects are required to start or build a community; networking and attendance.
In order to have a community, people need to attend and contribute. In order for people to know where to show up, there needs to be some kind of networking and outreach. “Grabbing people” is a good way to start a meetup. Find people at a conference, ask around, and tweet to see what the interest is. Welcome everyone and follow up with people and the rest will fall into place. A conference works in the same way as there is a dependency on people. Volunteering, speaking, and attending is the core of networking.
Meeting people and networking is a two way street. You get chances to volunteer at conferences, speak out about your interests and get feedback from others in the industry, and there are usually job offers and professional networking involved as well. Even if you’re an introvert and it’s stressful, making a name for yourself and showing people what you’re made of is huge in this industry and there’s a lot of great connections to be made through these communities.
Be involved. It keeps you busy. There are many ways to grow, whether through volunteering at a conference or stumbling through your first talk at a meeting. Being able to inspire others and help them grow is also an awesome part of being in a infosec community. A community is nothing without people, and you are one of those people.
To keep it short and sweet, try to use the following checklist:
- Go to conferences
- Volunteer if it’s too expensive
- Volunteer if it’s local and you want to contribute
- Respond to the CFP or call for papers if you have something fun to share
- Join twitter and ask for help
- Find the closest city meeting and go
- Start your own if the closest isn’t close enough
- Wash, rinse, and repeat