Happy “Community Manager Appreciation Day” 2012

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 23 January 2012

Today is “Community Manager Appreciation Day”. If you’ve ever taken part in online community, used UGC for research or entertainment, or chased up story leads from comments left across the web, you probably owe it somewhere to an unsung community manager. I’m not normally a big fan of organised recognition, but I believe, especially in the news space, that community management is a dangerously under-valued skill.

We all know the moans about comments below the line on news articles having unleashed “the green ink brigade”, but a vibrant and active community on your site can be a valuable and amazing thing when you get it right. You only have to look at areas of the Guardian site like “Readers recommend” to see how community engagement can work well.

And, you know, sometimes the users even end up writing “fan” fiction about you...

“[...fzzzztt....] crawling along the ceiling was the dread techie Belam. Black was his clothing, dark-bladed the dagger twixt his teeth. ‘Trollslayer’ men called it, for he had pulled it from the throat of a particularly troublesome revenant with a floating IP address. As he pulled the spinal column from the still twitching body of [fzzzzzzt!!!], Martin arched his back and roared. Now, surely, the monster would come. [flik! flik! zzzzit!!!]”

Bless.

It isn’t just people with the title “community manager” though - why not go out of your way today to thank someone who works on the digital community side of your business, whether you call them hosts, moderators, community co-ordinators, social media outreach workers, or community managers.

And if you do work on the community side of a website, there is a meet-up for community managers in London later this week on Wednesday. It features Markham Nolan from Storyful talking, and more details can be found at the London Community Manager meetup group. I’ll see you there.

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