“Managing” communities

One of the new job titles that many communication specialists have these days is “community manager”. Of course the idea of taking care of your customer base or key stakeholders has been important before, but the prevalence of social media has made it a much more visible task. Of course this also ties in with established social media ideas such as produsage, and the broad ideology of moving away from a push-centered approach to a more interactive way of being in contact and utilizing the network around, say, a business.

On Friday I will be taking part in CMAD2013, the second annual Community Manager Appreciation Day here in Finland. It will be interesting to hear thoughts from the trenches, from those people who are doing this kind of communication right now. It will also be interesting to hear their thoughts about the near future, as difficult as it is to predict.

As we know, most gaming companies today understand the importance of having a supportive community around their company or games, and this is something that even small indie studies should look into. For example, a succesful kickstarter campaign should definitely put a lot of effort in communicating their process to their fans, and of course work as hard as possible to also expand the fan base before the product is ready! Unfortunately this seems like a lot to ask, as we see from a review that Rock, Paper, Shotgun did of some of the successes of 2012.

No, not *this* snow plough...

No, not *this* snow plough…

Finally, I fully expect that Friday’s meeting will be full of enthusiasm and positive vibes about the possibilities of new media. While there is nothing wrong with that, I also want to remember those who are not as exstatic about the topic. Case in point, last weekend I heard one older gentleman tell a story of how he went to a store to buy a snow plough (really). He tried to get service, but all he got was “Go check it from the internet”. So he went to “the internet”, searched for another retailer of said snow plough, and bought it from there. Nice community management on the micro-level…

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