Community Management One Level Removed

August 11, 2008 CollabNet VersionOne

There have been some great articles of late relating to Community Management (especially from Chris Brogan). As I was reading his post on “Essential Skills of Community Management“, I came across something juicy in the comments section. Let me first point out that the article is fantastic, and a must-read for aspiring community managers, but as often happens, what other people had to say led to some interesting side discussions.

One of those discussions pointed me to a presentation slide from Heather Champ, Community Manager at Flikr, entitled “Being a Community Manager is like being a pinata…“. I had to chuckle at that statement, because it really does ring true. I’ve only been doing community management related things for a couple of years total, but it really does seem like you get beat with sticks for no good reason sometimes.

The flip side is that it can be incredibly rewarding, when you can get an internal team to deliver something a community really needs, or get collaboration flowing between customers, communities, and your employer.

The one thing that I find fascinating as I take on this new role here at CollabNet is that technically, I’m one level removed from being an actual Community ‘Manager’ (despite what my business cards say :)). I think I’d categorize my role as more of a community ‘advisor’ to our clients, helping them use tools like Subversion, and CollabNet SourceForge Enterprise as they try to build out community sites of their own. Despite that, I can see some aspects of community ‘management’, such as being an advocate for the community/customer with our internal engineering teams. I’m invigorated by what interesting things could come up in this role, and I’d love to hear from any of you out there reading this if you are currently or have been in a similar role – what were your biggest challenges, successes, etc?

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