What does a Community Manager do exactly?

Many of the web editors I know are looking to broaden their experience in community management. Why? Well, now that content managment is about editing (or rather ‘filtering’) user submitted content just as much as it’s about editing a ‘broadcast / top down’ product, editors want to future proof their skill set.

So I ask you: what are the skill sets needed for a community manager? What skills can a web editor learn to extend their experience in this area?

A job ad in NMA on April 2007 detailed the following, albeit brief, requirements:

As a brand new website for interior design trends and hence has enormous scope
for creativity. As Community Manager your role will be to lead incentives to
increase membership sign-ups across the website. You will manage email alerts
and generate quality content, that stimulate quality activity and grow traffic
across the site. Excellent copy writing skills essential.

“Lead incentives to increase memberships sign-ups”, “generate quality content” and “grow traffic”? Aren’t these tasks expected of a normal web editor? With this in mind, is there a distinguishable difference between the traditional web editor and the community manager? Do tell me.

In the meantime, here’s a good post on the evolving role of the community manager on onlinecommunityreport.com.

3 thoughts on “What does a Community Manager do exactly?

  1. Andy

    Not sure on the answer to this but I know a man who might.

    I sat in on a presentation and chatted with Robin Hammon (http://www.cybersoc.com/)social web supremo and BBC journo.

    The range of things he has had to deal with managing commnities made your hair curl. Add to any editorial skills – legal, emotional support, councelling skills and the rest and you get a good idea.

  2. kenobi

    Thanks Andy for this Andy. I’d just a passing knowledge of laws relating to libel online would be a major bonus for most editors. One ‘expert moderator’ I know told me that many major media owners opt for self moderation on their boards / UGC because saying you moderate your site opens up liability issues when things do go wrong / something is published when it shoudn’t have been. It appears that it’s common practice for media owners to rely on the ‘Report this post’ and react to abuse when alerted to it after the fact, not before. It’s cost effective and democratic, but is it acceptable given that users can be exposed to such posts until reported and acted upon?

    As for emotional support, I hear editors on teen websites get no end of requests for help on emotional / tricky matters. All queries are passed on to appropriate support networks, but it begs the question – should editors gain dedicated and ‘approved’ training for community management, given the dangers and risks? Discuss.

  3. kenobi

    Sorry Andy – no idea what happened to the start of my response there! Perhaps I should put myself up for training…

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