The Tougher Side of Community Management

Altitude Branding - The Tougher Side of Community ManagementThere’s a tough side to community management. Sometimes, you’ve got to take it on the chin more often than you’d like to, and strike a delicate balance between who you are and the company you represent.

The rosy side of community is that you meet people, build great relationships, find mutual benefit, create things that have greater value. It can be intensely rewarding when it’s on the upside.

The not-so-rosy side is that you’re sometimes the bug to the proverbial community windshield.

You’re often the first line of defense when there’s an angry or frustrated customer. You have to maintain an air of positivity and graciousness when people are rude to you, publicly or otherwise. And that’s even for discussions unrelated to your job since it reflects on your brand, whether you intend it to or not.

You can’t serve up too much sarcasm, point out when people are being inconsiderate or offensive, or call people out for being a generalized jerk. You’re the unflappable ambassador, the calm in every storm.

You’re also often under the microscope, where your words and actions can be scrutinized, and the potential for misunderstanding or saying the wrong thing is always somewhere in the back of your mind. Debate can be a delicate thing.

In short, you have to have the appearance of always being at ease, moderate of temperament, and invincible, even when you’re not feeling many of those things.

Personal and Professional Always Mix…

As a brand representative, you don’t always have the luxury of asserting your opinion (and paradoxically, even as much as I wish we’d all do more of it, at least on a personal level). It’s a delicate dance between presenting yourself professionally online when it’s part of your job to be there, and maintaining some level of autonomy of thought and ability to stand your own ground.

In a role like this, very simply, personal and professional always mix, and you have to conduct yourself accordingly. The expectations are different.

I’m fortunate that for the most part, I have a supportive and enthusiastic professional community that’s respectful and kind, even on the rare occasion something goes wrong. For those that are constantly under fire as a face for a company in everyone’s crosshairs, I frankly don’t know how they do it, and I’m not sure I’d have the constitution to take their place.

So part of what I’m continually learning is how to rise above the fray, and preserve my independence while doing so with grace. Learn which battles to fight (and how), and which to let pass. Explore being personal without being over-exposed. Understand and find my own outlets for feelings and thoughts that are constructive, and propel me forward instead of sinking me into the mud with those who are slinging it. (You didn’t think I just wrote these blog posts for you, did you?)

It’s a Choice.

I think passion and personal connection with our networks are two of the things that can make a community professional great, but they can also be our kryptonite. That’s part of the price we pay for having a job like this.

I’m not a martyr, and I’m not blind to all of the upsides and privileges that come with my career. I’m sure someone will get all crabby at me and think I’m turning my nose up at what’s largely a pretty awesome gig, and I’m not. But if you don’t think there’s any tradeoffs, I’d like to talk to you a bit more.

And for those of you that might think community and social media is your dream job, remember that public facing presence of any kind comes with challenges too. Every profession does. But you’ll absolutely have some choices to make in this realm that are different than those you might have faced before. And the real question, as always, is how we choose to respond to these challenges.

I’m still learning. You?

image credit: naturegirl 78

  • http://rickstilwell.wordpress.com Rick

    Very well put. Some of this has been in my wheelhouse as well, especially the notion that professional and personal intermingle, and anymore they have to or we’ll all be hypocritical schizophrenics. Thanks for posting that – going to share and start IRL conversations with it today, I hope.
    .-= Rick´s last blog ..CONNECTING GOOD PEOPLE =-.

  • http://rickstilwell.wordpress.com Rick

    Very well put. Some of this has been in my wheelhouse as well, especially the notion that professional and personal intermingle, and anymore they have to or we’ll all be hypocritical schizophrenics. Thanks for posting that – going to share and start IRL conversations with it today, I hope.
    .-= Rick´s last blog ..CONNECTING GOOD PEOPLE =-.

  • http://www.sueontheweb.com Sue John

    I had a little thought about that yesterday on my blog, but it was not as eloquently written as yours. You are a wordsmith supreme with your finger, as always, on the pulse.

  • http://www.sueontheweb.com Sue John

    I had a little thought about that yesterday on my blog, but it was not as eloquently written as yours. You are a wordsmith supreme with your finger, as always, on the pulse.

  • http://mikepascucci.com Mike P

    Amber,

    As for your question, we should always be learning and as best practices will change, Community management will also continue to evolve.

    Professional and personal will also become blurred. At the same time, you have the capability to draw a line somewhere. Facebook vs LinkedIn vs FourSquare…..while I do have some overlap across those networks, I also have drawn lines in the sand with some people.

    You are so right when you talk about being the 1st line of defense, and I have found that the key to communication is stripping out the emotion from the post in order to get to the core issue that the individual is complaining about. Obviously it is very difficult to do this in most cases, but it is key in order to respond to most situations and be able to come to a resolution when communicating with that individual.

    Mike P | @mikepascucci
    .-= Mike P´s last blog ..What is the Next Facebook? =-.

  • http://mikepascucci.com Mike P

    Amber,

    As for your question, we should always be learning and as best practices will change, Community management will also continue to evolve.

    Professional and personal will also become blurred. At the same time, you have the capability to draw a line somewhere. Facebook vs LinkedIn vs FourSquare…..while I do have some overlap across those networks, I also have drawn lines in the sand with some people.

    You are so right when you talk about being the 1st line of defense, and I have found that the key to communication is stripping out the emotion from the post in order to get to the core issue that the individual is complaining about. Obviously it is very difficult to do this in most cases, but it is key in order to respond to most situations and be able to come to a resolution when communicating with that individual.

    Mike P | @mikepascucci
    .-= Mike P´s last blog ..What is the Next Facebook? =-.

  • http://twitter.com/scottpdailey Scott Dailey

    You just happened upon a topic that has been tapping me on my mental shoulder these last few months. As I approach the launch of my blog (still a ways away), one question that I have left unanswered hoping for guidance (cue @ambercadabra) is this: what does too much sarcasm sound like/look like? I love making fun of myself, of others and above all, the human condition. I consider it a strength. I love dry humor too. I am a disciple of the church of satire. My prophets are artisans of the craft such as the Cohen Brothers, Jerry Seinfeld, David Spade, Larry Miller, Spinal Tap, Mel Brooks and on and on. I loves me some subtle, dry, dark, ironic, sarcastic and satirical humor – aimed at me and sent from me. I’ve spent plenty of time learning how not to be through a wealth of flame wars on the gaming discussion boards I’ve called home for nearly 10 years, but as I enter the world of social media and leveraging it for branding and business purposes, I am fairly confident I cannot be the Snarkmaster General all the time. So what do ya think, Amber? Got any feedback on what’s too much sarcasm?

  • http://twitter.com/scottpdailey Scott Dailey

    You just happened upon a topic that has been tapping me on my mental shoulder these last few months. As I approach the launch of my blog (still a ways away), one question that I have left unanswered hoping for guidance (cue @ambercadabra) is this: what does too much sarcasm sound like/look like? I love making fun of myself, of others and above all, the human condition. I consider it a strength. I love dry humor too. I am a disciple of the church of satire. My prophets are artisans of the craft such as the Cohen Brothers, Jerry Seinfeld, David Spade, Larry Miller, Spinal Tap, Mel Brooks and on and on. I loves me some subtle, dry, dark, ironic, sarcastic and satirical humor – aimed at me and sent from me. I’ve spent plenty of time learning how not to be through a wealth of flame wars on the gaming discussion boards I’ve called home for nearly 10 years, but as I enter the world of social media and leveraging it for branding and business purposes, I am fairly confident I cannot be the Snarkmaster General all the time. So what do ya think, Amber? Got any feedback on what’s too much sarcasm?

  • Ruth Bazinet (@baznet)

    Some people have interest in a public-facing career with the expectation that all negative feedback (whether about the company, product or even personal) will be easily resolved. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. One thing I’d like to add to this post (and something that I see from your Twitter stream) is the value that passion holds in this type of career.

    If the professional really believes in the product/company/group they represent this aspect of the job won’t overtake all of the positives; to the professional, to the company and to the constituents/community. Some people take a job because it’s a job, and in this kind of role that will be transparent very quickly. For the rest of us, it’s just a bump in the road.

    Thanks for sharing this post. It really speaks to me.

  • Ruth Bazinet (@baznet)

    Some people have interest in a public-facing career with the expectation that all negative feedback (whether about the company, product or even personal) will be easily resolved. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. One thing I’d like to add to this post (and something that I see from your Twitter stream) is the value that passion holds in this type of career.

    If the professional really believes in the product/company/group they represent this aspect of the job won’t overtake all of the positives; to the professional, to the company and to the constituents/community. Some people take a job because it’s a job, and in this kind of role that will be transparent very quickly. For the rest of us, it’s just a bump in the road.

    Thanks for sharing this post. It really speaks to me.

  • Betsy Decillis

    Boy, this is the biggest struggle for me. I was trying so hard to keep my personal and professional worlds separate, but then more of my professional contacts started finding the personal me. This means that I have become uncomfortable voicing a lot of my opinions. Considering that I used to work in the political world, it is even affecting friendships with candidates that I would love to enthusiastically support and can’t because I don’t want to offend anyone. Finding the balance in this situation has become virtually impossible. And well, with sarcasm… You’re never going to take it away from me but I have definitely had to tone it down. Thanks for talking about this “darkside”.

  • Betsy Decillis

    Boy, this is the biggest struggle for me. I was trying so hard to keep my personal and professional worlds separate, but then more of my professional contacts started finding the personal me. This means that I have become uncomfortable voicing a lot of my opinions. Considering that I used to work in the political world, it is even affecting friendships with candidates that I would love to enthusiastically support and can’t because I don’t want to offend anyone. Finding the balance in this situation has become virtually impossible. And well, with sarcasm… You’re never going to take it away from me but I have definitely had to tone it down. Thanks for talking about this “darkside”.

  • http://robertstanke.com Bob Stanke

    WOW! You hit the nail on the head with this post. Unbelievable! Great write-up!

    Bob Stanke
    Community & Social Business Manager
    Life Time Fitness, Inc.
    .-= Bob Stanke´s last blog ..New features, content being rolled out on RobertStanke.com =-.

  • http://robertstanke.com Bob Stanke

    WOW! You hit the nail on the head with this post. Unbelievable! Great write-up!

    Bob Stanke
    Community & Social Business Manager
    Life Time Fitness, Inc.
    .-= Bob Stanke´s last blog ..New features, content being rolled out on RobertStanke.com =-.

  • http://insurancemarketinghq.com Nick Brown

    Amber,

    Thank you for eloquently describing the balanced madness that is community management. Personally, there’s nothing I’d rather do.

    Choosing when to risk “sinking in the mud” is perhaps the greatest challenge. The shroud of anonymity emboldens “haters” of any brand, product or service to push an agenda, even if done under false or unscrupulous pretenses. It’s all part of the dance though.

    The most rewarding part for me is feeling an OBLIGATION to keep learning so I can better serve clients and the community.

    BTW, caught you on the “On Point” Insurance Journal podcast interview with Rick Morgan. We need more voices like yours in the industry.
    .-= Nick Brown´s last blog ..Fear Sells Insurance, Trust Builds Relationships =-.

  • http://insurancemarketinghq.com Nick Brown

    Amber,

    Thank you for eloquently describing the balanced madness that is community management. Personally, there’s nothing I’d rather do.

    Choosing when to risk “sinking in the mud” is perhaps the greatest challenge. The shroud of anonymity emboldens “haters” of any brand, product or service to push an agenda, even if done under false or unscrupulous pretenses. It’s all part of the dance though.

    The most rewarding part for me is feeling an OBLIGATION to keep learning so I can better serve clients and the community.

    BTW, caught you on the “On Point” Insurance Journal podcast interview with Rick Morgan. We need more voices like yours in the industry.
    .-= Nick Brown´s last blog ..Fear Sells Insurance, Trust Builds Relationships =-.

  • http://ebreakdown.wordpress.com Leif Joseph Fescenmeyer

    Very well written post! It’s amazing that I was thinking along the same lines yesterday; how personal and professional worlds collide and need to be managed while being a Community Manager. It’s a very delicate balance that requires constant vigilance on our part.
    .-= Leif Joseph Fescenmeyer´s last blog ..Social Media Personality Conflict =-.

  • http://ebreakdown.wordpress.com Leif Joseph Fescenmeyer

    Very well written post! It’s amazing that I was thinking along the same lines yesterday; how personal and professional worlds collide and need to be managed while being a Community Manager. It’s a very delicate balance that requires constant vigilance on our part.
    .-= Leif Joseph Fescenmeyer´s last blog ..Social Media Personality Conflict =-.

  • http://www.writingroads.com Julie Roads

    Hey Amber!
    I’m about to embark into this territory for a client that I’m super passionate about…and I’ve been thinking about these issues, a lot. Thank you for laying them out so beautifully. I’m psyched for the challenge…and knowing you’re out there, doing this as well as you do, is most certainly something for which I’m grateful.

  • http://www.writingroads.com Julie Roads

    Hey Amber!
    I’m about to embark into this territory for a client that I’m super passionate about…and I’ve been thinking about these issues, a lot. Thank you for laying them out so beautifully. I’m psyched for the challenge…and knowing you’re out there, doing this as well as you do, is most certainly something for which I’m grateful.

  • http://www.mizzinformation.com Maggie McGary

    THANK you for this post! Community management can be very rewarding…but also very draining, especially when you’re taking criticism from both customers and internal team members. The thing is that I’d NEVER in a million years signed up for a job in customer service…yet here I am, doing it. Some days it’s great and I love it and some days I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into!
    .-= Maggie McGary´s last blog ..How Far is Too Far to Bend Over for Social Media? =-.

  • http://www.mizzinformation.com Maggie McGary

    THANK you for this post! Community management can be very rewarding…but also very draining, especially when you’re taking criticism from both customers and internal team members. The thing is that I’d NEVER in a million years signed up for a job in customer service…yet here I am, doing it. Some days it’s great and I love it and some days I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into!
    .-= Maggie McGary´s last blog ..How Far is Too Far to Bend Over for Social Media? =-.

  • http://sectorgawed.com.mx/blog Gawed

    Is there no way to minimize this effect? I have to admit that i too have felt the sting of saying something kinda unrelated to a product and being scolded about it because it could be misinterpreted :S (and yes, that product was Radian6).

    Shouldn’t we just have some professional accounts with no links to personal lives or accounts or identities from where we can manage the business affairs and then relax in the anonymity of our houses? would that be against Social Media?

    I do think that middle ground has to be met, that personal lives and opinions must be protected in some way, even if that way is still not found or needs a mental change from the community. Reading other comments here it saddens me that we can’t voice our own opinions, and have to add those letters that drive you mad IMHO just to protect ourselves a bit.

    Is this just a dream? are we just bending our wills and rights to a community when we should be standing strong and defend privacy and individualism regardless of our jobs?
    .-= Gawed´s last blog ..Infográfica de Facebook =-.

    • http://www.twitter.com/70ms Meghan Rodberg

      Unfortunately, it is just a dream.

      One of the sacrifices you make as a community manager is the loss of your freedom to express some opinions or expose some parts of your personal life. Not all of them, but definitely some.

      There are lines you can try to draw – for instance only letting “real” friends and family have access to your Facebook page, or using a different persona for communities you interact with personally – but no matter how careful you care, or safe you think you are, you still run the risk that what you post will make it outside of the safe sphere you’ve built, or someone will figure out who you are.

      I know this sounds paranoid, but I know one community manager who lost their job after making a post on Facebook that they probably thought was perfectly fine. I’ve known others who have had personal information or opinions dug up years after it was posted. The reality is the internet is forever, and nothing is sacred. I moderated a panel at the Penny Arcade Expo in March and the loss of privacy and freedom of expression was a big topic of discussion for us.

      I guess it’s a testament to how amazing a career in community management can be that we do it anyway. :)
      .-= Meghan Rodberg´s last blog ..70ms: RT @massively: [Sera] Symantec has uncovered a cache of 44 million stolen/compromised gaming accounts! http://bit.ly/cbm5DJ =-.

  • http://sectorgawed.com.mx/blog Gawed

    Is there no way to minimize this effect? I have to admit that i too have felt the sting of saying something kinda unrelated to a product and being scolded about it because it could be misinterpreted :S (and yes, that product was Radian6).

    Shouldn’t we just have some professional accounts with no links to personal lives or accounts or identities from where we can manage the business affairs and then relax in the anonymity of our houses? would that be against Social Media?

    I do think that middle ground has to be met, that personal lives and opinions must be protected in some way, even if that way is still not found or needs a mental change from the community. Reading other comments here it saddens me that we can’t voice our own opinions, and have to add those letters that drive you mad IMHO just to protect ourselves a bit.

    Is this just a dream? are we just bending our wills and rights to a community when we should be standing strong and defend privacy and individualism regardless of our jobs?
    .-= Gawed´s last blog ..Infográfica de Facebook =-.

    • http://www.twitter.com/70ms Meghan Rodberg

      Unfortunately, it is just a dream.

      One of the sacrifices you make as a community manager is the loss of your freedom to express some opinions or expose some parts of your personal life. Not all of them, but definitely some.

      There are lines you can try to draw – for instance only letting “real” friends and family have access to your Facebook page, or using a different persona for communities you interact with personally – but no matter how careful you care, or safe you think you are, you still run the risk that what you post will make it outside of the safe sphere you’ve built, or someone will figure out who you are.

      I know this sounds paranoid, but I know one community manager who lost their job after making a post on Facebook that they probably thought was perfectly fine. I’ve known others who have had personal information or opinions dug up years after it was posted. The reality is the internet is forever, and nothing is sacred. I moderated a panel at the Penny Arcade Expo in March and the loss of privacy and freedom of expression was a big topic of discussion for us.

      I guess it’s a testament to how amazing a career in community management can be that we do it anyway. :)
      .-= Meghan Rodberg´s last blog ..70ms: RT @massively: [Sera] Symantec has uncovered a cache of 44 million stolen/compromised gaming accounts! http://bit.ly/cbm5DJ =-.

  • http://danperezfilms.wordpress.com/ Dan Perez

    Amber,
    You make some keen points and your honesty is always refreshing. I think any sales, marketing, community development professional can relate to what you’ve expressed – both the good and the bad.

    Before starting my video production business, I was a Director of Sales & Marketing for an upscale catering/special event company in NYC and for two huge entertainment facilities here in Florida. I was the one who made the promises to the client and then had to ensure many different departments did their jobs so that I would not be embarrassed on event day. There were times, unfortunately, that all things didn’t fall into place and I had to deal with the ire of the customer.

    Looking back on those experiences, I realized that most people are reasonable and even forgiving if they are addressed with honesty, integrity and professionalism (all traits which I feel you have in abundance). Moreover, these challenges brought out the best in me and made me realize my own strengths and areas that needed improvement.

    I don’t know much about you other than what I read online but I believe you are a unique personality that may not always mesh with everyone – and that’s OK. Moreover, I don’t believe you didn’t have to overcome some challenges to get where you are so whatever you’re doing is working.

    Keep doing what you do and keep learning from your mistakes. In the end, people will respect you for the unique person you are more so than someone just trying to make everyone happy beyond any reasonable expectations (they have ugly names for those types of people).

    “It is especially when all is false that one loves the truth.” -Denis Diderot. Be the truth.

    Nuff said.

    PS – hope your toddler’s feeling better.
    .-= Dan Perez´s last blog ..John Travolta presents award for “Best Florida Film” to Dan Perez =-.

  • http://danperezfilms.wordpress.com/ Dan Perez

    Amber,
    You make some keen points and your honesty is always refreshing. I think any sales, marketing, community development professional can relate to what you’ve expressed – both the good and the bad.

    Before starting my video production business, I was a Director of Sales & Marketing for an upscale catering/special event company in NYC and for two huge entertainment facilities here in Florida. I was the one who made the promises to the client and then had to ensure many different departments did their jobs so that I would not be embarrassed on event day. There were times, unfortunately, that all things didn’t fall into place and I had to deal with the ire of the customer.

    Looking back on those experiences, I realized that most people are reasonable and even forgiving if they are addressed with honesty, integrity and professionalism (all traits which I feel you have in abundance). Moreover, these challenges brought out the best in me and made me realize my own strengths and areas that needed improvement.

    I don’t know much about you other than what I read online but I believe you are a unique personality that may not always mesh with everyone – and that’s OK. Moreover, I don’t believe you didn’t have to overcome some challenges to get where you are so whatever you’re doing is working.

    Keep doing what you do and keep learning from your mistakes. In the end, people will respect you for the unique person you are more so than someone just trying to make everyone happy beyond any reasonable expectations (they have ugly names for those types of people).

    “It is especially when all is false that one loves the truth.” -Denis Diderot. Be the truth.

    Nuff said.

    PS – hope your toddler’s feeling better.
    .-= Dan Perez´s last blog ..John Travolta presents award for “Best Florida Film” to Dan Perez =-.

  • http://jorge.threefivesup.com Jorge

    Great post. It truly expresses how I feel sometimes. Sometimes customers can be very harsh with what they say and even blame me for any problem that has happened to them. I know they see the organization as a whole and we should all deliver like team, which is pretty much impossible right now for an 800 people firm with very different approaches to Customer Service and Marketing inside.

    So while the cultural shift takes places in the organization the social or community team gets much of the hate from the unsatisfied customers. And then we can’t personally complain either about someone in our team doing something wrong (let’s say that the guy actually performing the service did it badly) or about how angry we feel because of a customer calling us 10 names in one tweet.

    I try to find a way to escape all of this by writing about how organizations need to change (which is the positive way of saying that the customer service rep screwed up), how culture is important in embracing a social campaign and more of that. I’ve found that this positive way of focusing my frustration or anger (yes we’re humans and get frustrated or angry) has helped me develop my thinking and the value i actually give to the business. From the guy that “was supposed to update facebook” – The 70 year old CEO still doesn’t get it – to the person that’s giving insights on how to improve customer service in order to increase revenue. (I really hope my plan works)

    I think if we analyze the bad part of our job we could get something positive from it.
    .-= Jorge´s last blog ..Comapany Culture: Why you need to pay attention to it? =-.

  • http://jorge.threefivesup.com Jorge

    Great post. It truly expresses how I feel sometimes. Sometimes customers can be very harsh with what they say and even blame me for any problem that has happened to them. I know they see the organization as a whole and we should all deliver like team, which is pretty much impossible right now for an 800 people firm with very different approaches to Customer Service and Marketing inside.

    So while the cultural shift takes places in the organization the social or community team gets much of the hate from the unsatisfied customers. And then we can’t personally complain either about someone in our team doing something wrong (let’s say that the guy actually performing the service did it badly) or about how angry we feel because of a customer calling us 10 names in one tweet.

    I try to find a way to escape all of this by writing about how organizations need to change (which is the positive way of saying that the customer service rep screwed up), how culture is important in embracing a social campaign and more of that. I’ve found that this positive way of focusing my frustration or anger (yes we’re humans and get frustrated or angry) has helped me develop my thinking and the value i actually give to the business. From the guy that “was supposed to update facebook” – The 70 year old CEO still doesn’t get it – to the person that’s giving insights on how to improve customer service in order to increase revenue. (I really hope my plan works)

    I think if we analyze the bad part of our job we could get something positive from it.
    .-= Jorge´s last blog ..Comapany Culture: Why you need to pay attention to it? =-.

  • http://ksumagit.blogspot.com/ Kathleen Sumagit-Rivera

    I really like that you pointed out that personal and professional always mix. Especially in a job such as yours, I feel that it is important to bring the two together in order to connect with constituents. If a community manager sees his or her work solely on a professional level, that individual will not be able to create a deeper relationship with constituents. You don’t want to be so detached from your target audience, which is the reason that both professional and personal need to mix in certain occupations. On the other hand, if he or she treats work too personal, many people will view that individual as unprofessional; so many problems could come up if a person gets too personal with a job.

    Anyways, great post again!
    .-= Kathleen Sumagit-Rivera´s last blog ..How to track social media success =-.

  • http://ksumagit.blogspot.com/ Kathleen Sumagit-Rivera

    I really like that you pointed out that personal and professional always mix. Especially in a job such as yours, I feel that it is important to bring the two together in order to connect with constituents. If a community manager sees his or her work solely on a professional level, that individual will not be able to create a deeper relationship with constituents. You don’t want to be so detached from your target audience, which is the reason that both professional and personal need to mix in certain occupations. On the other hand, if he or she treats work too personal, many people will view that individual as unprofessional; so many problems could come up if a person gets too personal with a job.

    Anyways, great post again!
    .-= Kathleen Sumagit-Rivera´s last blog ..How to track social media success =-.

  • http://www.businessesgrow.com/blog Mark W Schaefer

    “You can’t serve up too much sarcasm, point out when people are being inconsiderate or offensive, or call people out for being a generalized jerk.”

    …That’s really the way it is in any corporate job, right? What profession could you be in where this would be acceptable any way?
    .-= Mark W Schaefer´s last blog ..A simple strategy to increase your influence on Twitter =-.

    • http://www.twitter.com/70ms Meghan Rodberg

      Community management!

      We have three branded, owned communities and my team and I are responsible for creating and enforcing the community guidelines. Would I call someone a jerk? No, but I might tell them they need to tone it down, or they need to stop provoking others, etc.

      Sarcasm, though, I don’t recommend as it’s too easily misinterpreted; and since it’s not something you usually want to encourage in your own communities, it’s best to lead by example and avoid its use.
      .-= Meghan Rodberg´s last blog ..70ms: RT @massively: [Sera] Symantec has uncovered a cache of 44 million stolen/compromised gaming accounts! http://bit.ly/cbm5DJ =-.

  • http://www.businessesgrow.com/blog Mark W Schaefer

    “You can’t serve up too much sarcasm, point out when people are being inconsiderate or offensive, or call people out for being a generalized jerk.”

    …That’s really the way it is in any corporate job, right? What profession could you be in where this would be acceptable any way?
    .-= Mark W Schaefer´s last blog ..A simple strategy to increase your influence on Twitter =-.

    • http://www.twitter.com/70ms Meghan Rodberg

      Community management!

      We have three branded, owned communities and my team and I are responsible for creating and enforcing the community guidelines. Would I call someone a jerk? No, but I might tell them they need to tone it down, or they need to stop provoking others, etc.

      Sarcasm, though, I don’t recommend as it’s too easily misinterpreted; and since it’s not something you usually want to encourage in your own communities, it’s best to lead by example and avoid its use.
      .-= Meghan Rodberg´s last blog ..70ms: RT @massively: [Sera] Symantec has uncovered a cache of 44 million stolen/compromised gaming accounts! http://bit.ly/cbm5DJ =-.

  • http://blog.blueskyfactory.com DJ Waldow

    Amber –

    Trying to avoid comments that don’t really add value, but … yeah.

    I love this post. Great reminder to those who are looking to get into a Community Management type roll.

    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory
    @djwaldow
    .-= DJ Waldow´s last blog ..How to Increase Engagement with Your Email Marketing Metrics =-.

  • http://blog.blueskyfactory.com DJ Waldow

    Amber –

    Trying to avoid comments that don’t really add value, but … yeah.

    I love this post. Great reminder to those who are looking to get into a Community Management type roll.

    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory
    @djwaldow
    .-= DJ Waldow´s last blog ..How to Increase Engagement with Your Email Marketing Metrics =-.

  • http://mandyvavrinak.com/blog Mandy Vavrinak

    Amber, I think people (even those who preach that social media is all about being social) think it’s all fun & games because it’s “all about the conversation.” And of course, it’s not about the conversation… It’s about what you do with it, through it, because of it. Shepherding community is only hard work if you believe in the inherent value of community and the individuals who comprise it. Obviously you do take that view! ;)
    .-= Mandy Vavrinak´s last blog ..Struggling to Find Your Voice =-.

  • http://mandyvavrinak.com/blog Mandy Vavrinak

    Amber, I think people (even those who preach that social media is all about being social) think it’s all fun & games because it’s “all about the conversation.” And of course, it’s not about the conversation… It’s about what you do with it, through it, because of it. Shepherding community is only hard work if you believe in the inherent value of community and the individuals who comprise it. Obviously you do take that view! ;)
    .-= Mandy Vavrinak´s last blog ..Struggling to Find Your Voice =-.

  • http://www.brandthony.com Anthony Perez

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    I think being a Community Manager is one of the tougher jobs out there and few people understand the dynamics within the role.

    You’re walking two tight ropes at a time. One with customers that is between appropriate and inappropriate. The other is internally, between necessity and inefficiency.

    They both work together to give you a headache. One is a challenge to sound human enough that it isn’t bland without even nearing offensive. The other is getting the community to grow and engage to a degree that shows just how necessary it is to manage the community.

    I think about every word I write and how it can be translated by the consumer. It’s stressful that it can take 10 minutes to write two lines of copy. “Is it offensive? Is there a dash of humor? Is it on-strategy? Will this earn a response, because according to the metrics we’ve set, it has to?”

    And most importantly, “What value does the customer get from this interaction?” If there is none, delete and repeat.
    .-= Anthony Perez´s last blog ..Why Axing Celeb Endorsements After Scandals Makes Little Sense =-.

  • http://www.brandthony.com Anthony Perez

    Truer words have never been spoken.

    I think being a Community Manager is one of the tougher jobs out there and few people understand the dynamics within the role.

    You’re walking two tight ropes at a time. One with customers that is between appropriate and inappropriate. The other is internally, between necessity and inefficiency.

    They both work together to give you a headache. One is a challenge to sound human enough that it isn’t bland without even nearing offensive. The other is getting the community to grow and engage to a degree that shows just how necessary it is to manage the community.

    I think about every word I write and how it can be translated by the consumer. It’s stressful that it can take 10 minutes to write two lines of copy. “Is it offensive? Is there a dash of humor? Is it on-strategy? Will this earn a response, because according to the metrics we’ve set, it has to?”

    And most importantly, “What value does the customer get from this interaction?” If there is none, delete and repeat.
    .-= Anthony Perez´s last blog ..Why Axing Celeb Endorsements After Scandals Makes Little Sense =-.

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