James Mayes

How to describe a community managers role?

In Community, Recruitment, Social Media, Social Recruiting, Sport on August 15, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Reading an article this morning about the joys of monitoring managing social media, illustrated by this image – wanted to share. Whilst it outlines the various roles in a community rather well, I believe it misses the mark with the referee.

Photo copyright 2010. Alana Fisher.

The ethos expounded by Bill Boorman focusses on the role of  the Community DJ – which personally, I think far better captures the role.  Community Manager implies control, direction.  DJ suggests the role is more about creating the right environment for a community to thrive. Indeed, in many of the better matches I’ve seen (whether football or otherwise) the referee creates a flowing game, rather than an exhibition in control.

Also – as I recently discovered, Paul Jacobs deserves the credit for ” Community DJ”.

What makes the perfect community manager or DJ in your world?

  1. Well, seeing as I recently became a community manager, I guess I should weigh in!

    It’s a little bit like hosting a party (a big one, where you didn’t invite or know all the guests and there is a chance it may get out of control).

    I don’t like the term ‘Community DJ’, probably only because I’m possibly the only person who doesn’t want to be a DJ. Then again, ‘manager’ not being right is a fair comment.

    So I’ve thought of a few:
    How about Chief Happiness Officer? The Hostess with the Mostess? Community-o-saurus? Ok, so that’s just getting silly.

    Community Angel? *flutters eyelashes* Community Toastmaster, or master of ceremonies? MC. I could live with that…

    • The second person to suggest MC. Are you and @jamieasleonard conspiring…?

    • Thanks Charlie for coming up with some alternatives. I believe the ultimate goal always is to achieve self-sustaining community – where leaders, influencers and movers and shakers naturally emerge.

      The DJ provides the venue (the dance floor) and a conducive environment where people feel moved to get on the floor and dance to the sound of their own beat.

      Terms like Master of Ceremonies (MC) to me have an air of formality and direction about them – and tend to be focused on an event rather than a longer term gig. The DJ is always lurking out the back of the night club – I’m just making things up here! 🙂

  2. I will agree that monitoring social media is a lot like hosting a party. However, it is more than that. At my company we don’t just try to brush the negative comments or experiences under the rug, in fact, we try to highlight negative comments and work to resolve them online, right in front of the rest of the community.

    Rather than just having the disgruntled party send an email, and thus allow the dissatisfaction to unfold in private, I often encourage a discourse in the public space so that others can see how both myself and the unhappy party handle the situation.

    This transparency allows other members of the “party” to see that myself, the party’s host, and the unhappy “party-goer” are attempting to resolve the problem and that others can expect the same rational treatment. Additionally, if the unhappy party is obviously out of control or simply attempting to shame our brand it is clearly apparent. Often negative comments can turn into positive PR when the disgruntled party comes across as “crazy” or “vindictive”. To reword an old phrase… “A good defense is the best offense”

    • Thanks for stopping by Mike. I love your reasoning for working through in public, displaying your resolution to the “party”. Whilst I think it’s the holy grail, for many companies I speak to, that’s still a step too far…!

  3. James,
    Thanks for this post.Paul first coined the phrase Community DJ and I use it quite often to explain my ethos to community and social. The DJ sets the vibe and plays the tunes, but they don’t do the dancing. They watch and listen to what is going on, and respond to the crowd. The crowd react in dance or disapproval, and this dictates what the DJ does next. The DJ does not make any rules (though there may be house rules in place.). A good DJ is approachable and responds to the requests. This is what a good community needs, not a big man in charge!

  4. Haha – I totally agree with the sentiment behind the `Community DJ` ethos. I think it captures the role really well.

    However, having recently employed a Talent Community Manager – (yes Bill, I put `Manager` in the title! aghhh!!) – I think she may have cringed and recoiled her interest in the role if I’d called her a Community DJ!!

    The Community Manager is a well oiled, highly prevalent role in the online space. In the truth the importance of the job title is negligible, and it’s all about semantics. Other places call it a Community Executive, by the way.

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