Do you currently manage a community?
Unfortunately, I’m not managing a professional one right now. But my next answer will explain why.
What career path brought you to where you are now?
That’s a fun one. In 2010, I started as an online content manager at Aegon. With all of the new social media coming up, my job turned into community manager. Due to a reorganisation, I unfortunately had to leave the company after 3 years.
T-Mobile Netherlands quickly was on the phone, offering me a job as a content manager. And again, slowly my position was turning into the one of a community manager! I set up the big internal employee community, using Workplace by Facebook. And then… A reorganisation. Again, the team I was in had to leave.
All of a sudden, my best friend tagged me in this Facebook message from a Dutch girl living in Ubud, Bali. She was looking for someone who wanted to swap homes for 5 months. Out of 500 reactions, she picked me.
So here I am, enjoying Bali! Well, last weekend I was in Singapore, because I got invited for lunch at Facebook HQ over there to share experiences with Workplace. That was pretty cool, I never thought I’d love managing internal communities, but it gets me so much energy to get employees engaging!
I’ll see what the next few months will bring me. In the meantime, I help some (freelancing) friends who run a festival I love out. I help with their websites, online content, pub quizzes, mailings, etc.
I also would like to mention it’s not all about working for me, here. You’ve probably heard about the quarter life crisis thing. It seems a bit of a taboo, or something exaggerated. I don’t want to go into that topic too deep, I’m just saying that a moment of rest in your early professional life sometimes is the best thing you can do
What is the biggest challenge you face in your job?
In bigger organisations, the biggest challenge for me was the part of playing ‘the political game’: defining KPI’s (which could work against those of the other team), the hunt for signatures under important documents, dealing with looong time lines, those days full of meetings, not able to just do things your own way… I had to count to 10 quite a few times
Regarding Workplace, the privacy issue was a big thing. Some employees were worried about their data and privacy using this Facebook tool. Convincing them it was safe was not easy.
What’s the best job you ever had that wasn’t in community management and does it inform your CM work in any way?
I organise pop music quizzes, which I love to do. But that isn’t really a job that pays the bills.
Sometimes, I do freelance jobs as a press/artist/communication manager on big music festivals. The best one was at The Flying Dutch, a Dutch dance festival in 3 cities at the same time, with the same line-up. World famous dj’s like Hardwell and Armin van Buuren flew by helicopter from one to the other city to play their sets. This was a big thing for the media. My job was to get the artists in the pressroom on time and manage their tight planning, meaning stopping interviews of greedy journalists and even cancel interviews when dj’s had too less time.
I think there are similarities: I always have to keep an eye on everything and everyone, keeping everybody happy, listening to everybody’s wishes. But hey, isn’t that just being a normal social person? Haha.