The Historian on why you need an online community manager

by Matt on March 25, 2010

in Online Communities

Video game community manager David “Historian” DeWald has a great article up on why your company needs a community manager.

One key point:

The launch phase of any community requires someone that is passionate and “transacting” a lot. Building communities is not about collecting as many people as possible and communities often don’t grow the way they are planned. The CM role will change as the needs of the community change. This means the CM doesn’t fit into any single definition. I often refer the to the role as being similar to a liaison, bridging the gap between those inside and outside the organization.

The important subtext here managing a community is a complex responsibility. You’re hiring a customer liaison, a marketer, a writer, a blogger, a human resources administrator and a product manager, and you’re probably expecting him/her to know about the tech, too. This takes substantial work from at least one person, and probably more than that. Remember: a big reason why most online communities fail is because they are understaffed.

This is just as important whether you’re building a brand-driven or a grassroots gaming community. Even if you’re giving users most of the control over the content, you need a hands-on CM to keep promote growth and encourage good behavior.

Image credit: Horia Varlan

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