Let's Hear It for Community Managers

Cliff Figallo Former senior editor for SMT, Now an Indie Consultant

Posted on January 28th 2013

Let's Hear It for Community Managers

If you're an online community manager - in fact, if not in title - you understand the joys, the challenges, the bummers and the triumphs that can come with a role that requires the skills and personal assets of a psychologist, group psychiatrist, sociologist, technical support person, internal diplomat, information juggler, mediator, crisis manager, fire fighter, policeman, judge, justice of the peace, PR person, marketer and project manager.

No, really. If you rely on a community manager in your organization, it may look like a simple job - just keep the people happy and avoid any uprisings, revolts, flame wars and PR disasters. Good typing skills are an asset, some experience with social media tools and you're good to go. Wrong!

Lack of appreciation for what good community managers do is a flaw that weakens the assets of community engagement among customers and employees.

A community manager is different from a marketer or public relations specialist because the dynamics of relating personally in a group are different. The firewall between a business and its online customers must be much more transparent in an online community. A community manager who is not to some degree vulnerable will have a more difficult time gaining and maintaining trust. Though a community can be like a circus, the CM is not a ringmaster. It's more intimate than that.

So do try to appreciate the roles that CMs play in today's ever-more-social Web. It may be that community managers are born, not raised for the role. Whether or not that is true, good CMs are hard to find and probably harder to keep.

Now, thanks to Get Satisfaction, here are two cartoons that illustrate real life facets of the CM role.




Cliff Figallo

Former senior editor for SMT, Now an Indie Consultant

Former SMT Senior Editor, currently a social media analyst/consultant. Now find me here as username Cliff Figallo.The quintessential online communities and social media veteran and expert. Founding director of The WELL, author of Hosting Web Communities ('98) and Building the Knowledge Management Network ('02). 

See Full Profile >


Kent Ong
Posted on January 29th 2013 at 5:43AM

HI Cliff, I agree. We need people have high EQ and good in build relationship to be community managers.