Discord & Slack communities
A lot of podcasting-related communities exist on either Discord or Slack. Slack started as an app for employees to communicate with each other, and Discord has a very similar layout, but was started mostly for gaming. One of the big reasons that so many Discord servers exist for podcasting-related communities is that it has a built-in Patreon integration – more on that here and here. If you’ve used IRC-style chat rooms before, a lot of the layout and functionality is similar, but it’s not exactly the same.
The things they have in common are:
- A main window where conversation takes place.
- A list of channels on the left (usually to help guide conversation by topic – for example, questions about writing a podcast vs. questions about editing audio).
- The ability to reply to someone in a channel by @-ing their username, similar to how Twitter works. They’ll get a notification if you do this, so it’s usually considered iffy etiquette to do it at odd hours of the night or other times when notifications might be inconvenient.
- DMs (direct messages), so you can talk to other users 1:1 or create space for small, private conversations with multiple members.
- Reactjis (reactions with emojis), which you can add to things others have said to show support, show that you found it funny, etc. Sometimes specific servers have their own reactji language and use custom emojis in a way you might not be used to.
- Pinned messages (which you can view by clicking the thumbtack icon in any particular channel) that generally explain how the channels work and any specific rules or guidelines for the channel.
- The ability to mute a channel, so that it won’t show as unread in your sidebar (usually used for extremely active channels, or channels that aren’t relevant to your interests).
A few of the differences are:
- Slack has threaded messages, and Discord doesn’t.
- With Slack servers, you can set it up so that a new user automatically joins five default channels, but doesn’t necessarily join all channels in the server. With Discord, when you join a server, you join all of the publicly accessible channels within it.
- Discord also offers the ability to create and join public voice channels, usually used for community gaming or workshopping ideas, etc.
There’s a Discord server for self-taught & solo creators — you can join by clicking here. For the purposes of the server, I’m defining those terms loosely as:
- Self taught: No formal experience (nothing past high school) in creative writing, acting, directing, audio work, etc., before you started on your podcast. (If you have some experience in one of these areas, but it’s not the main skill you’re using in your podcast, feel free to join.)
- Solo: You’re the person doing 95%+ of the work in your podcast. (If you have multiple projects with some of them being solo ventures & some not, you’re welcome, especially if you’re also self-taught.)
If either of these applies to you, please join! I’m not interested in getting super gatekeepy around this, so I won’t be vetting people or booting someone for not being “DIY enough,” unless it’s clear they joined in bad faith.
- Audio Drama Hub
- MBMBAMbino Podcasters (created by/for McElroy fans making their own podcasts — mostly nonfiction podcasts, but there’s some actual play and audio drama creators in there too)
- #AudioDramaSunday and #AudioFictionSunday take place on – you guessed it – Sunday and are a great way to share your support for fellow creators or ask questions to the community
- #On22Review is a tag to use to share which podcasts you’re reviewing on the 22nd of each month
- #AudioFictionLove was started by Elena Fernández-Collins as a way for people to share support for creators – you can find great people to follow on it
- The #AudioFictionGearExchange hashtag can be used to share or find deals on gear (including gear you want to hand down to others in the community)
Mentorship opportunities & competitions
- The Austin Film Fest has a fictional podcast script competition every year, with prizes including mentorship and fellowships, and feedback included for finalists
- The Procyon Podcast Network has a mentorship program available to new creators
- Christian Kelley-Madera (one of the contributors to this site) has a Twitter thread here with notes on how he wants to help new creators
- Elena Fernández Collins has a similar thread here
In-person meetups & events
- Podcon is a mixed convention/conference of fans and creators with a fair amount of actual play and audio drama presence
- PodX features a mix of nonfiction & fiction podcasters
- Podcast Movement previously didn’t feature much audio drama, but is working to change that this year
- Austin Film Fest has also been expanding their podcast-related content