Last week I provided the space for an event that we grandly called the Community Managers Camp. These are my reflections on this event.
Firstly which Community Managers attended the event?
All the people were, as far as I know, from central government. To me that was a shame as I would have liked to have some colleagues from local government also be present.
The other thing that was highlighted was that some people thought the event was purely for social media community managers, funnily enough that had not occurred to me, or some of the other community managers present, whose role was to help build specialist internal communities around some tech issues.
This highlighted that we all have our preconceptions about what kind of community managers exist.
As the discussion progressed it became clear that there were a number of common issues such as generic tech problems; problems with other teams in the same organisation and other fairly familiar points from the digital engagement perspective.
We then turned to the question of which communities were actually being managed which is when the conversation became rather fascinating.
We seemed to conclude that the initial remit of a community manager was to manage external communities and examples were given of good achievements in this area.
However it then become apparent that community managers wanted to spend more time managing their internal communities. The reason being that it was people inside the organisation who should be digitally capable and best placed to interact and manage their own external online communities. The community managers role then should be to facilitate this happening. So, in theory, by managing internal communities external communities are better managed by the people best suited to do so.
So if you are a community manager does any of this sound familiar and match your aspirations?