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Gaming and Education: Becoming A Community Manager

January 22, 2012 — by Jeshe Wiggins29

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Blog

Gaming and Education: Becoming A Community Manager

January 22, 2012 — by Jeshe Wiggins29

I’m a pretty avid gamer and recently I was thinking about what I wanted to do as a career. I knew I wanted something where I could talk to people and utilize my communications skills. I am also so enamored with gaming, that it’s a huge part of my life. What I wanted was something that would combine both of these and give me my ultimate career:

Passion For Gaming

That being said, there’s a new game that is coming out (hopefully this year) and I became aware of community management through this game. The game’s community managers were super friendly, especially one of them who gave me a run down on what I would have to do to in order to get into community management for gaming. I figured this would be the way into the Gaming Industry for me since I am not very interested in programming or art or anything else that goes along with making a video game (although I did consider lore writing, but I’m not sure I’d be good at that either). I thought about my skills and my passions and I read over what it takes to be a Community Manager from the one at the game company I contacted, and I decided to pursue this career.

Pursuit Of Education

Around the same time as this, I had just started at a university (coming from a community college), and one of the classes I had to take was an introduction to my major, which is Communications. By the end of that class, I had to pick a concentration (which is different from a minor). My school offers a lot of concentrations so I was having difficulty picking one so I went to the professor and talked to him about what I was interested in doing. I explained to him about what it takes to be a Community Manager and he suggested that I pick the Journalism and Media Studies concentration that my school offered. This was actually last semester, so while I have picked the concentration, I haven’t actually taken any classes related to it yet. As for what classes I hope to take to, well I think I’m going to focus more on the media studies part of it rather than the journalism. The school I am going to doesn’t offer a whole lot in the area, but a few things that look interesting to me are Social Impact of Mass Media, Free Speech and Responsibility, and they have a workshop for the school paper which I think could be useful in general, if only to get an idea of the process of how a media outlet works. My school also offers a mass media internship, which I am planning on looking into.

Plan For The Future

As for what classes I think schools should provide, well I think the Social Impact of Mass Media class is a really good one and I think all schools should offer that, especially now with social media being so hugely integrated in daily life. I also think there should be some sort of ethics class, or a class that teaches professionalism in regards to communicating on the Internet. Lately there have been some instances of people in customer service situations that have lost their cool and gone off on the customer. I know community managers are more than just customer service representatives, but they still interact a lot with customers and keeping that professionalism is very important since it reflects on your company and your product. The anonymity of the Internet makes it very tempting to be rude to people, but I think some people forget that even if the person doesn’t know who you are, they still know the product attached to you and they will associate that bad experience with your product. Some kind of class like Internet Communication would be beneficial (I actually talked to a Community Manager, Greg Lexiphanic, who has a degree in this. He actually found me on Twitter and I started following him. We chatted for a little bit about it and he said that he got the degree from a school in Austrailia and pointed me in the direction of where I might also pursue such a degree). Other than that, I think having other skills that pertain to your chosen field are also a plus. I’ve seen that a lot of employers are looking for more employees who can do more than just what they studied as their major. Schools have also been noticing this too and have started to focus on interdisciplinary studies. From my understanding, community managers do a lot of this already (correct me if I’m wrong, though. I’m still rather new to the profession), but it wouldn’t hurt to learn something related to your field. I always feel like it never hurts to learn a new skill or two, you never know when you might need it.

That about wraps it up. Please, feel free to comment, offer advice or provide any additional feedback to help further my career goals. I am eager to learn more about this wonderful career and I hope that someday I can be a really wonderful Community Manager. Thank you for your time.

Jeshe Wiggins

I'm a communications major studying at California State University Monterey Bay. My career goal is to become a Community Manager for a video game company.

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