In the past month you may have spotted me engaging in conversation and numerous activities on Friendfeed and Facebook, more specifically in the RWW Groups on these services. The purpose was to attempt to engage our audience as much as possible and of course bring some traffic back to ReadWriteWeb. However in doing all of this I learned something about myself and about being a community manager. I think it’s very important to have this trait and hone to the best of your ability if you’re looking to be a community manager. Most people talk about listening to the community. Well, that’s complete important and part of the job. However, I think the most important lesson to learn is to be selfless.
2 Out Of 5 Misconceptions
Steven Hodson noted it best in his post about 5 misconceptions that bloggers have about themselves. I used to have 3 of these misconceptions. After 6 months I’m down to 2. The last 2 misconceptions that Steven listed are the most important to eliminate when you job is to be a community manager.
- “Everyone wants to be our friend” – You’d have thought this would make my job easier. However it didn’t, even if I do sometimes feel like everyone wants to be my friend.
- “We’re famous and important” – Maybe, but it still doesn’t make a difference.
These are two very narcissistic traits to have, and two that I admit I’m still guilty of carrying around in my closet of skeletons (to a certain extent). However, I had to abandon these attitudes in order to even begin to accomplish any tasks I set as a community manager. The keyword in the job description is “community” and it’s not about me. It’s about YOU. The community could probably care less about who wants to be your friend or that you’re famous and important. They’re more concerned with what you can bring to them, not what others give to you.
The Community Changed Me
It was hard to shed these attitudes because even though I contribute many different things on the web, my topics of contribution are very specific to things that I like. As a community manager, I had to think about people who’s interests may not have been the same as my own. I shared things that had no purpose for me, but may serve a purpose to those in the communities I was managing.
After a while, it became a nice habit and a humbling one. It made me open to more other topics and allowed room for the creations of conversations that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. It allowed me to connect with people that wouldn’t have bothered to leave a comment had I not shared something out of my own interests. The fact that I couldn’t use something didn’t make it any less important and the community showed me that. For a while I felt that the topics that weren’t all that interesting to me, were very interesting to the community. This was the best thing to ever happen because it allowed me to learn from the community in a completely different way!
All in all, being a community manager is the most selfless thing I’ve ever done on the internet and one of the most rewarding experiences.