Moderation Frustration & Rewards

My experience as moderator for #cmgrclass was eye opening, frustrating, rewarding, and provided me with quite a few takeaways. One of the most frustrating things for me acting as moderator was the time commitment. A good moderator needs to dedicate an immeasurable amount of time to the community each and every day and be constantly monitoring activity in the community. When I was attempting to moderate the community,  I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. When I was doing other things, all I could think about was if there was something in the community I needed to respond or contribute to. The job of a community manager is more than a full time one, and my small taste as moderator really drove home that point for me. One of the most rewarding things for me was when community members would enthusiastically reply to a post, or when a certain item would spike conversation, or even just when someone said they enjoyed a resource I provided.

I started the week off by using the Oscars and the #oscars hashtag as a small case study on how people/organizations attempt to hijack large scale events for their own benefit, and to present the question of whether the organizations behind these large-scale events should appoint a community manager, or more likely a team of community managers, to moderate the hashtag for the event. It seemed to be pretty unanimously decided by my classmates that large events are too pervasive to even consider moderating, and that most companies that attempt to piggyback off the hashtag of a large event just look foolish in their attempts.

In my next post I pivoted towards the topic for the week, which was planning a community. The questions I posed were:

  • What tools do you think may be most effective for listening to a community and then planning to improve based on what you gather them from?
  • What is the best way to roll out community changes?
  • To what extent should information gathered from community members be taken into account when planning changes geared more towards brand-advancement than pure community improvements?
  • While this didn’t generate the kind of responses I was necessarily looking for, it did result in the sharing of some interesting tools to use to track communities and insights that indicated most students are in favor of slow and gradual roll-outs when introducing change to a community.

The next item I presented for discussion was a post on 5 trends that community managers should expect this year. This article provided a fairly logical broadcast of what the growing and volatile field of community management may experience in 2013. One of the points that I highlighted for discussion was one that claimed that niche platforms will gain more traction, and asked the community to discuss their thoughts on niche platforms and the viability of them gaining major ground in community planning in the future. The general consensus was that larger social networks are typically necessary to properly access a community, and niche networks will probably never take the forefront merely due to how limited they are in scope and access.

In the second half of the week I decided to highlight one of the 2 assigned reading resources for the week. The blog post entitled “Do Your Community User’s Guidelines Only Protect People You Like” brought up a very important aspect of community management, which is the presence/absence, severity/leniency, of guidelines.  I asked the community to consider if the rules they would expect others to use when talking to other community members should also be applied when others talk about external entities, such as politicians, or, say, an unpopular form of vegetation. The community overwhelmingly stated that all forbiddance of name-calling and offensive language should be applicable when discussing members in the community as well as external entities.

I ended the week with a blog post that featured an interview with an interesting community manager, who made some good points about planning a community. I thought this was appropriate due to our looming community manager interview assignment as well as presenting the POV of a community manager on how/what to plan for when planning. This post didn’t really generate conversation, but I also didn’t ask any questions to spark discussion.

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