Daily Archives: May 6, 2013

Your #CMGR Career Starts Here

It’s hard to believe it, but #CMGRClass is almost over, and so is my time as a graduate student here at SU. That means I’m about to don my big boy britches and start my career – and I’m aiming at community management. There’s a lot about the field that is attractive to me, mainly in the mix of creative and technical know-how, but also in working with people. I don’t have any offers just yet, meaning this week’s topic and reading was a long-awaited and welcome finale.

Since about January, I’ve been gearing up for graduation and my job search, mainly by taking a look at my repertoire of skills and figuring out how to market myself. I’m a designer, an IT consultant, a social media strategist and community manager, a creative thinker, a go-getter, and a total nerd (in a good way). That might look like career chop suey, but I think it reveals the nature of my skills – I’m a creative problem solver, with a technical mind. And if anything would prepare me for community management, I think it’s that.


This week’s Mashable article covers 10 tips for the aspiring community manager (read: me), and seems to be a pretty solid list of things to do to both figure out if the role is right for you, and to make sure you’ve got a good start on your professional life. The points were all good, but one really hit home for me, because they’re where I need work most; my critiques of myself put in writing by somebody else.

9. Think Like an Entrepreneur and Be Quick to Adapt

I wish I could say that was me. I’m a flexible guy, I’m not too hard-headed, but springing to action isn’t my forte. I can get stuck in my head, where I’m still weighing options and trying to apply logic, rather than putting one foot forward and going from there. But knowing is half the battle, right? If I know my faults, I can work to correct them.


Another article we read this week, from Social Fresh, was practically a big pat on the back though. Covering the job description and hiring criteria of a community manager, I felt like I fit right in. This is my dream job out of school, I love social media and tech, I really want to flex my creative muscle and do some awesome work, and here were nine items which describe me – not quite to the letter, but close enough that I put on a big stupid grin while reading. It’s kismet, I’m convinced.

So if you’ve checked all the lists and read all the blog posts, and you’re convinced it’s your destiny to be a community manager, what’s next? Well, you’re right where I am, and I’ll tell you it’s the “fun part.” Find employers you’d love to work for, reach out to them, apply to their open positions, or just send them a tweet. Get your resume in their hands and your name on their minds. Find a notable community manager you’ve been following or have chatted with, send them a Vsnap just to say hey and ask if they’re hiring at all. Take the initiative to put yourself out there – a good community manager doesn’t just sit in the shadows. Be social, be proactive, and always be cheerful, and you and I will get out dream job soon enough.

It’s been a lot of fun, class! What’s your favorite #CMGRClass moment of the semester? What have you got planned for this summer?

Community Scaling: The Answer is Within



One of the most invigorating things about successful online communities is that they grow. A community manager has the opportunity to guide and shape the malleable, lifelike entity that is an online community that draws in members like moths to a flame. And if that manager is successful, the members become engrossed in the community, generating more content, driving conversations, and pulling in even more members.

While a successful online community is what all community managers strive for, exceptional growth can land the community manager in a sticky situation: being in over her head.

There may come a point that the time needed to respond to every e-mail and tweet, monitor discussion boards, write blog posts, and maintain the platform, exceed the working hours in a day. It is when this pinnacle is reached that the practice of scaling a community becomes a necessity.

Rich Millington, founder of online community consulting firm FeverBee Limited, addresses some of the challenges of scaling a community in his post 11 Processes for Scaling Online Communities. The processes he suggests are logical and put a heavy premium on the need for responsible, dedicated community members to pick up a shovel and do some heavy lifting.

In his post Scaling the Management of Your Online Community (SXSW Interactive 2013 Proposal) Patrick O’Keefe of iFroggy Network states that “As an online community grows, it has different needs.” He then goes on to pose 5 questions about the challenges of scaling an online community.

As luck should have it, many of Millington’s 11 processes can satisfy some of O’Keefe’s questions.

O’Keefe Question 3: With greater contributions comes a greater burden on moderation. How can you scale your moderation team, and your policies, to ensure they are fairly and evenly applied to members?

Answered by Millington Processes #2 and #6:

#2: Rewriting guidelines if they are violated too frequently.

Here, Millington advocates for a more navigable community. Stringent or confusing guidelines may result in well-intentioned community members unintentionally violating guidelines, which subsequently takes more time out of the community manager’s day and dilutes the quality of content within the community.

#6: Ensure members can identify and remove bad posts.

The concept of instilling this great power in members can be nerve wracking for managers and insanely empowering for members. While the ability to delegate some of the community moderation to members can be a life saver in scaling a community, the members entrusted with this power should be fully vetted.

O’Keefe Question #4: How does the community manager role change as a community grows?

Answered by Milllington Process #1: Recruit, train, manage and motivate volunteers.

While pretty much all of Millington’s processes are applicable here, this first provides the overarching gist of the idea. When a community grows, a community manager has to find a way to delegate some of the responsibilities of managing that community, which can be achieved through empowered and enthusiastic community volunteers. While this by no means indicates that the community manager hands off enough responsibility to become detached from the essence and daily conversations of the community, handing down some responsibilities to volunteers can allow for a larger community that maintains its quality.

O’Keefe Question #5: What can you do to tap into the power of your growing membership to help you scale your management of the community?

Answered by Millington Processes #1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. So essentially, the majority of Millington’s processes will satisfy the realization of this question.

#1: Recruit, train, manage and motivate volunteers.

#3: Encourage members to submit their own news.

#4: Setup a community e-mail address which several volunteers can access and reply to.

#5: Teach volunteers to recruit and train other volunteers.

#6: Ensure members can identify and remove bad posts.

#7: Automate members inviting their friends.

#8: Let members apply to run various forum categories.

#9: Allow members to create their own groups, initiate events, start live-discussions with scheduled VIPs they have persuaded to participate.

After assessing O’Keefe’s questions alongside Millington’s suggestions, it seems the answer to good community scaling lies with the members of the community.

As Millington states in his book Buzzing Communities, “Community volunteers are the most effective means of scaling an online community.”