Happy Saturday! It’s day 9/30 of Social Media Club South Florida’s 30-day Blogging Challenge (the name of the blogging challenge is almost long enough to be a blog on it’s own.) Today I was inspired by another blog entry written as part of the challenge.

In the blog entry titled: What does diversity mean to you, photographer Anthony Jordon discusses his experiences at Miami WebCongress. He finishes up his

What does diversity mean to you? How do you incorporate it into your habits to truly be more worldly in your thoughts, actions, and life practices?

Diversity is always an interesting discussion. I’ve run a meeting in West Palm Beach called WebMonday for the last 5 years & we get 20-30 people on the first Monday of each month and I’m happy to say that we have an extremely diverse group.

Webmonday at Roxys Pub

I ran a PHP group for many years & one of the things that I saw was that a very specific group formed and when starting WebMonday I wanted a more diverse group.

For me, diversity is about much more than counting the number of Black vs. Latino vs. White or Men vs. Women. You will see social groups form that exclude many other types people such as Old vs. Young, or Single vs. Parents, just out of collage vs. starting on a second career, venture capitalists vs. struggling single parents, C-Level employees vs. internet contractors the list goes on and on. Each of these groups are different, and while it’s easy to cluster up groups that are similar to you, if you want to learn new skills and grow intellectually from the people you meet with, having good diversity is the way to go.

What I feel is key is that you have an open attitude to bring people in and understanding that everyone has something to share.

Here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Not everyone is interested in every topic – mix things up!

There are some very technical topics where you will get more men. There are other topics, attract more women. Mixing up the topics as much as possible will make it interesting to a more diverse crowd & people will be able to both learn what their primary interest is, but also get exposure to other skills.

Involve new people!

Our Group is on Meetup.com and we get a lot of “Walk-ins” many people will come for one meeting and get involved with the group, others will just come once. “Walk-ins” are a key to our diversity, and bringing them into the group and making them feel comfortable and want to come a second time is a vital.

WebMonday in the very Colorful VentureWorx

Make sure everyone knows everyone!

At the beginning of each meeting everyone will introduce themselves. This really helps break the ice for new people and gives them an idea of who knows what. At the end of the meeting we always have plenty of time to socialize and share experience/knowledge with the group.

Venue matters!

We held our meetings at a Bar downtown for a while & we saw our membership polarize to the same people coming each time, when at a bar, people who don’t already know each other can feel quite out of place. We moved the official meeting place to a local co-working space and the vibe changed right away. More serious, more focused. People still like meeting at Roxy’s so we’ll do that every few weeks.

Webmonday in “The Salon” featuring 3-D printing

Like with everything, there is always more that every group can do to be inclusive. Hope the above helps someone, if you have any comments please feel free to post them in the comment section below!

 


This blog entry is day 9 of my 30-Day blogging challenge where I have committed to post a blog every day.

Please read the previous blog entries in this series:

Day 8: Weekend is almost here – Fun things to do in West Palm Beach
Day 7: J. Flynn opening on Clematis – this is an Irish Gastropub, it’s all about the food.
Day 6: Why every small business owner should read the Costco Connection
Day 5: Bee Organics – The new organic café and “lifestyle space” in Downtown West Palm Beach
Day 4: Introducing BarCamp Palm Beach – Monday the 18th of November
Day 3: My top 5 Beaches in Palm Beach County
Day 2: City of West Palm Beach Chili Cookoff
Day 1: It’s November, and I’m Starting the 30-Day Blogging Challenge!