Community Building

The 5 types of community managers today

The 5 types of community managers today

Community managers have quite a role to fit. Contrary to their name, they never have subordinates to get things done for them although they do have a lot of tasks on hand. They are the “do Gods” of any group: convening events, engaging the community, recognizing community members, arranging for Ask Me Anything sessions and much more. Then again, as humans, everyone tends to bring in a little bit of their own personalities into their jobs that basically makes them comfortable and differentiates them from each other.

Business becomes social; announcement becomes dialogue; creation becomes curation and strategy becomes purpose - Edward Ford - enterprise community manager at Thomson Reuters

Slide 35 of Enterprise Social Networking Quotes.

The extent to which this personality influences the job brings some rather hilarious at times and annoying at other, scenarii. From our study of what could be the different kinds of community managers found in most of the organisations, these are some examples:

1. The Online Binger

The first type of a community manager can be called “The online binger”. He is the kind of a person who would share everything he/she comes across with his community. He thinks he is very open and frank and he is the custodian of the right. He imposes what the community should read and that his community members should understand all there is in the world, so that they can execute the work better. He is the knowledge center of the group giving opinions about everything and everyone. He has a database repository of all the matters happening in the world and can go on providing information. Sometimes though, it could get so intricate the knowledge sharing could happen without considering its relevance with the situation. However, if we see the positive side of this kind of a community manager, he is quite accessible and well informed. Yes, you have to add that relevance filter to everything you receive from him, however he communicates a lot with his community members. But on the rather negative side, these people could be kind of intimidating, to say the least.

2. The Edge Sitter

This type of community managers are people who are excessively worried about their community and the comfort of the community members. Every outcome worries them, be it positive or negative. They are worried if they get too much response for anything and will read every response to see how it has affected the members. And if there is no response from their community members, it could lead to paranoia. These super sensitive, overly concerned community managers are very hard to console. On the brighter side, these community managers can avoid major risks in the community conversations as their predicting capabilities of dangers are higher.

3. The Quick Reactor

The “quick reactors” type of community managers react to anything very fast, be it mails, situations, problems or anything. They just have to react. Interacting with these kind of community managers seems like they are having a stop clock and calculating their own reaction time with the intent of breaking their own records. The major problems happen when this person is hurrying up on his reactions and misses being aware of what his reactions sounded like. His responses could be sometimes curt and at other times rather meaningless. That could land him in many awkward situations. The best thing about these people is they are very timely and thus pretty reliable especially when community members are looking for help or support.

4. The Please’em All

This kind of community managers is humble and soft hearted. Some of them are also pretty emotional and do not want to be on the wrong side of anybody. They just want to please everyone and they keep changing everything about themselves just to make other happy. You might get at least 10 correspondences with subjects like “please ignore the previous mail” or “very sorry to inform you” or “I goofed up again” for any issue that might be just brushed away as a mishap. They carry the burdens of the world to make everyone around them happy. On the positive side, the emotional side of theirs ensures that many of the negatives are arrested right in the beginning. They make all efforts to let no community member feel left out.

5. The Mood Swinger

And finally the “mood swingers”. These kind of community conveners are the most unpredictable. You could never know what can tip them off and what they could pass off as incidental. At times they are all over the place and make sure everyone is comfortable. And another moment they could sound least bothered about a major event or chaos happening right under their nose. It’s like sitting on a time bomb and not knowing if it would blast or fuse down. The good thing about these guys is they sometimes handle major issues with an utmost efficiency which is quite impossible for many others. The ill side is, the sudden attention and lack of it thereof, does push away a lot of community members who stop taking him seriously.

The Inference

Though each of these different types have their negative sides, the balance is when the complimenting positives come to the rescue. The ideal community manager is one who grows to lead his community to be a sought after destination for industry interaction and renders his members proud of being part of it.