What do you enjoy most about community management?

(Heidi Morgan) #1

As someone new to (and passionate about) this field, I’m really curious to hear why each one of you sticks round this field rather than another job. What aspects of it are most fun, interesting, fulfilling or challenging to you? What makes the job great for you?

I’m sure we all have a different story, which I’m looking forward to hearing! I’ll come back and give my reasons later :slight_smile:

Introduce yourself (or at least just say hi)
Share moving stories of how your community has impacted members' lives!
(Sarah Hawk) #2

There are a few things that make this job special for me.

I love that we can help people to solve big challenges that they face by just sharing what we know.
I love that we facilitate growth and learning and relationships that change people’s lives in some way.
I love that I can work with people all over the world every single day and that I can work alone from my own home yet still feel connected.

From a practical perspective, I love that I’ve found a job that combines my love of writing, technology and people.

(Nick Emmett) #3

For me, well my community is a customer facing one, and I love seeing the difference it makes for people when they post their questions and get answers a short time later, helping them in their daily jobs.

I also love connecting people. When I can see that someone might benefit from connecting with some one else from within the Community I love to make those introductions and see the relationship come to light and help each other out. this happened quite few times at our in person community event earlier in the year, where I managed to connect a lot of people with newly formed interest in the Community, following the event, with some of our leader and advocates from within the Community. It was great seeing those people chatting over a beer at the after party.

Love it.

(Darren Gough) #4

Agree with much here, although I (perhaps oddly) always enjoyed working with difficult or problematic members. Ignoring the out and out trolls, a lot of people who initially come across angry, rude or disruptive often ended up as my best members once we’d taken the time to speak to them directly, show we cared and empathised.

Lost track of the number of times a personal message asking if everything was ok got a response like 'Thanks SO much for speaking to me. I’ve just been having a tough time with job/money problems/the kids/etc and I didn’t meant to vent it on the community. I’ll try and be much more positive".

In one example one of my most challenging members went from anti everything to being one of my best Super Users / brand ambassadors. All it took was some time and care.

(Bo McGuffee) #5

This is a great question. I had to think a while and come back. Thank you @heidiii for posting it for us.

I enjoy watching people flourish and grow. There’s something special about helping someone arrive at a place of connectedness and accomplishment. This place can really make a difference in people’s lives. Knowing that I am a part of them getting there gives me the warm fuzzies.

I also have this strange draw to the challenge of a fixer-upper. So I like to help people and communities overcome certain kinds of challenges. Thus my interest in conflict management and redevelopment.

(Suzi Nelson) #6

I love that online communities bridge so many gaps… watching people connect and learn from each other despite distance, differences of opinion, politics, etc. It’s beautiful to see.

(Heidi Morgan) #7

Firstly, thanks all for your responses, I’ve loved reading them (and hoping there’s even more ;))!

My top reason is probably that I simply love amateur psychology. I find it really fun to manipulate people apply little planned pushes and tweaks to influence a person’s feelings and behaviours (and the community’s in general), and watch it actually work. Constantly searching out new ideas and strategies is just damn fun.

But like everyone else here, I also just love bringing people together and making friends with and between great people, and helping people to grow, find a vision, and reach their full potential (in my case, in relation to their high school/uni education).

(Mark Baldwin) #8

Great question and one that I get asked a lot especially by other people I work with in the Games Industry, they don’t understand how I put up with the trolls and rude, overly entitled gamers. “Oh, I could never do what you do, it would drive me mad, I would tell people where to go” etc.

So I suppose that’s one of the reasons I love this job, is that it’s a difficult job that not everyone can do. I think it’s taught me to be a better person in the way that I deal with conflict. The satisfaction that can be found when you can essentially turn around someone else’s way of thinking and attitude can’t be underestimated. It’s also great when someone turns to you for help and you are able to do that or at least point them in the right direction. I would also like to think that occasionally I can make people smile and that’s not something everyone can say about their job is it?

(Jennifer Zowada) #9

It seems like there is quite the common theme with the replies. I too love to bring people together and making introductions. I also really enjoy that I can switch it up on any given day if I’m feeling creative and try something new or write. I also love (and I know not all work from home) that I can work from anywhere! If I want to go to Hawaii for a month I can… sadly that hasn’t happened… :sunglasses:

(Jennifer Zowada) #10

Love it!

(Darren Gough) #11

There’s one other thing I wanted to add from my MSE days. Every so often I’d come in toward the end of a long week on a Friday morning and find a letter on my desk.

The letter would often read something like “Hi, I’m a single parent who had mounting debt [we were a money management site] and I was actually considering putting my child into care and committing suicide as it seemed there was no way out. I found the MSE community and not only did the MSE team’s articles help, but the support and friendship I received from the other members saved my life. I’ve now started to tackle my problems and I am coping. Thank you”

We’ve also had people with social problems whose ONLY source of companionship was our community.

We’ve had marriages of people who met through the community and in several cases offline social clubs springing up.

I think this is where we have to be careful with being too data and metric driven. It is, of course, vitally important but you need to look past the numbers every so often and find the stories.

(Nick Emmett) #12

This is a comment I wish I could double-like @Darren_Gough - those are the kinds of stories that make you sit back and think, “wow, this is all worthwhile after all”. It’s one thing to help people get on with their businesses ad product usage, but affecting people’s lives is an incredibly rewarding part of a lot of Community Managers’ jobs, for those lucky enough to work in that sector.

(Heidi Morgan) #13

This hits me deeply, because it was my community and the close friendships it created that saved my life fairly recently. Thank you, @Darren_Gough.

So you’re right - that’s perhaps the biggest reason why I love community building. As a community manager, part of our role is building a safe, close, supportive, connected, even loving community, or, as I’d prefer to call it, ‘family’. We can’t underestimate the profound effect this second family can have on someone’s life, in a society that’s full of neglect, abandonment, loneliness, fleeting connections, and lack of belonging.

We have a lot to live up to, and you know - we as communities are actually part of changing our society, bit by bit.

(Sarah Hawk) #14

You should check out @Kathy’s story here, if you haven’t already.

(Alessio Fattorini) #15

I feel the same, my community is very technical and when I feel this I think I’m doing a good job

(Katie Paffhouse Bussey) #16

Fantastic question and helpful to consider on an off day! My reasons are similar to others - the joy of connections, belief in stronger society through community, and the thrill of a challenge. I also enjoy the opportunity to help people feel comfortable participating - we help everyone, including ourselves, step slightly outside their comfort zone to grow.

(Sarah Hawk) #17

I love this. It’s something that I am working hard on at the moment – communicating that everyone has value to add, even if they don’t immediately see it.