Some years ago, when I first started blogging, I loved the way that people would creatively think through what it would mean to contribute to a global community. Often this involved the creation of lists – like Mack Collier’s collection of relative unknown bloggers – the z-list, or Todd Andrlik’s Power 150 which eventually transformed into the AdAge Power150. I’d even class Ann Handley’s clever curation of MarketingProfs daily fix bloggers in the same way.

In the world of strategic/creative planners, a number of people have been continuously building and engaging their professional communities. Iqbal Mohammed has been regularly publishing his Plannersphere lists for years, and Neil Perkin provides a valuable conversation point (and light competition) around the “post of the month”, complete with voting. In a more complicated twist on community building, Rob Campbell challenges the veterans, the wannabes and the up-and-comers with his Advertising Planning School of the Web assignments, veering between scorn and applause depending on what’s submitted and it’s quality.

These examples stand out as beacons – not just because they have been doing this work consistently, but because they are generous. They are inclusive. They stand out because much of what we now see on the web is based on one-up-man-ship. It’s like a pissing match between row after row of intellectual dwarfs. And it’s a shame, because it doesn’t have to be this way. It’s a shame because we are all impoverished by it.

So, it is with some joy I came across Heather LeFevre’s Planner Survey for 2010. It covers the industry from top to tail – sharing details of salaries, roles, locations and so on. It captures what planners think of their jobs, why they stay, why they go – and who they think is doing the best work. It also lists a bunch of people who the community rate – not because they are famous, but because they get on with the challenge of producing good work. Check it out.