Finding Community on Social Media

September 06, 2023#Community
Article
Author image.

Sarah Dutkiewicz, Senior Trainer

With social media platforms evolving, communities are moving on to other platforms. How do you find your community when the social media platforms start splintering? If you can find where they are headed, that helps in understanding where to find others. However, if you aren’t sure where they are, we have some guidance on navigating some of the platforms and finding your community.

Search hashtags

Some social media sites - such as X, LinkedIn, and Mastodon - make it easy for us to find our communities by filtering on hashtags. If you see posts with the hashtag, that gets you a way to see what tags are used and possibly look at other posts with that tag. Once you find posts with that tag, you will probably find other people to follow, learn from, and converse with.

BlueSky feeds

In the case of BlueSky, it is still a work in progress for a social media platform. Hashtags do not link to a search mechanism.

A screenshot of a NimblePros BlueSky post with #DDDesign and #dotnet hashtags that are not links. The post is located at this URL: https://bsky.app/profile/nimblepros.com/post/3k6qfc3gdes2c

However, they have a concept called Feeds that can make it easier to find our communities, especially if someone in the community creates a feed.

Searching Feeds

You can add feeds to your BlueSky account to make it easier to find your community.

  1. From within BlueSky, on the navigation menu, select My Feeds.

BlueSky navigation, with 'My Feeds' highlighted

  1. At the top, select Discover new feeds.
  2. On the Discover Feeds page, search for what you’re interested in. For example, we do a lot of work in Domain-Driven Design and happen to know that community uses #DDDesign as their hashtag on other platforms. So maybe we can find them here on BlueSky as well. We search for Domain-Driven and notice that there’s a feed on Domain-Driven Design. This will help us to find other people posting with that hashtag or use some common expressions known in the #DDDesign community. (Yes, we created the feed. Keep reading!) Select the + button to add the feed to your feeds.

Using Feeds

So how do feeds work? When you navigate to My Feeds and have feeds already added to your account, then all of the feeds you selected appear on the My Feeds page, grouped by their feed name.

The ordering of the feeds happens on the Settings page of My Feeds.

  1. Go to the My Feeds page.
  2. Select the Settings icon (gear).

BlueSky My Feeds page, with the Settings button highlighted 3. On this page, you can see all feeds that you added or started with. Use the trash icon to remove feeds. Use the pin icon to pin the feeds at the top of your profile. 4. Use the arrows on pinned feeds to order the pinned feeds. Edit My Feeds, with 2 pinned feeds and a non-pinned feed. The pinned feeds show arrows going up and down for ordering.

As for pinned feeds, you can select their names along the top of your BlueSky home page to filter to just that feed.

BlueSky home page with the Domain-Driven Design feed highlighted

Once you have added more specific feeds in BlueSky, then you have a better chance to find your people to follow on that platform.

But wait… what if you can’t find a feed?

Creating Feeds

If you cannot find a feed that is related to your community, you may need to build one. There are programmatic generators to create a feed for BlueSky.

However, what if you don’t want to write a lot of code? We have been tinkering with an app called SkyFeed.

Creating feeds in SkyFeed is fairly straightforward with one gotcha. In order to log into SkyFeed, you will need to create an App Password within your BlueSky account. You will then use your account sign-in plus that generated app password to sign into SkyFeed.

SkyFeed has a feature called Feed Builder that allows you to build feeds without having to write code with a feed generator.

SkyFeed v0.7.5 navigation with Feed Builder highlighted

However - and here’s the gotcha - you have to use regular expressions. 🧙🏻 If you are afraid of summoning things with regex, consider using a site like Regexr.com to help you with your expressions.

When we created the Domain-Driven Design feed, we created it using an expression that catches the following keywords (as of September 6, 2023 3:00pm US Eastern Time):

  • #DDDesign
  • domain storytelling
  • domainstorytelling
  • eventstorming
  • event storming
  • eventmodeling
  • eventmodelling
  • event modeling
  • event modelling

This is just a starting point for us. Our regex pattern is #DDDesign|domain(\s?)storytelling|event(\s?)storming|event(\s?)mode(l{1,2})ing

We tested what was going to get caught with the pattern by using this sample text:

This is a test of domain storytelling regex but not domainstorytelling or the domain of storytelling. Let's also talk about eventstorming  or even event storming 

What about event modeling? And event modelling? And eventmodeling? And eventmodelling?

This is what it looks like when we test our expression with Regexr:

Using Regexr to test our regex pattern for our BlueSky DDD feed

Note that “domain of storytelling” was not captured. This was included specifically to test that the words were getting picked up otherwise.

Once we knew our regex worked as expected, we put the full expression in the Regex block of the Feed Builder.

SkyFeed Builder for Domain-Driven Design

Once we published the feed with the Publish Feed button and adding a description, we now were able to see if there is anyone in the Domain-Driven Design space on BlueSky.

Once you have that feed, you can find people in that space.

Conclusion

When you are looking for your community on social media, hashtags are probably the easiest way to find the community. Many social media platforms make it easy by turning the hashtag into a link to all posts with that hashtag. However, BlueSky does not have that functionality. Feeds operate a little differently but can help you find your community there. If you can’t find a feed, build the feed so that you and others can find each other!

We look forward to seeing you in the community! If you want to connect with us, check us out on X, LinkedIn, BlueSky, or find us through our Events page!


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