Today, I will post and not make excuses for the gap in publishing. I have been working and realizing the community and social dreams several of us have blogged about over the past seven (or more) years. Social media is not dead. Community managers are wanted. There are jobs for people who can think critically, create resonating content, and engage empathetically to the communities they serve.
Today, many will celebrate the role of community manager. I have never been a fan of this event. Perhaps this is because I have avoided the limelight. My job is to let others shine, realize their potential, and share their stories. A community manager is never alone in their job. There are times when one may feel the burden of being the sole spokesperson and storyteller of the community, but a community exists through reciprocal relationships and transcends the individual.
Today, you will celebrate the progress of community management. What progress has been made? Are these positions of advanced thinking and empowerment? The State of Community Management and salary surveys as published by The Community Roundtable are ideal. I applaud this organization for continuing to hold the flag for community managers and give us the resources we need to push our companies forward. What I don’t appreciate are those with voices claiming our industry is dead or our positions should no longer exist. It is these voices that whisper into the ears of executives and seed doubt. It is these voices that talk about the same subjects over and over again. They do not talk about the dark side of social media or community management publicly. They do not take the conversations to the next level and challenge our own to think bigger and better. Yes, community management should be a part of every role in the company, but we are far from this utopia. Education is needed. We have to pave the road and build a safe haven for internal and external engagement. It really does take a village.
Today, I implore the community and social media managers celebrating another day of employment to share lessons learned. There is no secret sauce to successful community building and content development. Let’s not be afraid to share the failures and the successes. Let’s stop glossing over the tough topics. There are several paths to success. There is no one-size-fits all community management. The silver bullet is your own critical thinking and judgement.
Today, I celebrate those community managers who won’t make the lists or the celebratory meet-ups. I tip my hat to those who have their head down, lifting up the people in the communities they serve without promoting their personal brand as primary objective.