When I landed my first community management job in 2007, a friend congratulated me as she thought it was a real coup given my “lack of experience.” I kind of took issue with that. I mean, I’ve been blogging for years and even grew a small blog into a network where thousands of writers visited and interacted daily. That takes a bit of people skills. I also worked with other content creators and clients to grow their communities, though not in an official capacity. So while I may not have trained specifically to be a community manager (and at that time, who really had?), I can say that I had years of experience.
Bloggers, especially those with popular blogs where dozens of people interact each day, are indeed community managers.
Bloggers foster community
Most of us don’t blog because we want to hear ourselves talk. We’re interested in fostering a community. We want to share knowledge and carry on a conversation. We want to give an opinion and receive other opinions in return. We want more than agreement, we want discussion. If we weren’t interested in the community aspect we’d close our comments, eliminate polls and stop asking questions. Blogs ARE online communities.
Bloggers choose discussion topics each day
Each day bloggers choose topics, not only by their educational or entertainment value, but also the ability to spawn a discussion. We create content in hopes that you will respond. We want feedback and opinions, whether positive or negative. We choose our content, and our topics of discussion, with our communities in mind.
Bloggers ensure a positive community
Most of us do our best to maintain a positive atmosphere. We encourage a lively, respectful discussion, but we also follow some written or unwritten guidelines regarding our comments. Discussion and disagreement is encouraged, but name calling and personal attacks aren’t. We work to create a community everyone will feel good about visiting.
Bloggers reach out via the social networks
When I first began blogging, there was no Twitter or Facebook for building brand awareness. We visited other online communities to build our personal brand. Just like the community managers representing some household name brands, we’re also reaching out via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, forums, and other online networks to help grow our own communities. For most bloggers, blogs are a business and we do what we can to grow our business.
Bloggers do damage control
Again, our blogs are our business. If someone disrupts or if their is an incident regarding our business, we go into damage control. Most of us try and be as transparent as possible, answering questions honestly. We don’t go into hiding, but we do our best to restore trust within our communities.
Bloggers are so much more than comment moderators. We look into programs and services and bring them to our community. We review products, create tools and work hard to become important resources. None of this could be done without the people who read, comment and support us throughout the years. Bloggers are indeed community managers. Some manage a very small network, and some have a full time job of it. However, to say bloggers have no experience managing a community is off base.
What are some of the similarities you see between bloggers and online community managers?