Survival of the Calmest: A Community Manager Survival Guide

February 8, 2016 — by Patrick Hellen1



Survival of the Calmest: A Community Manager Survival Guide

February 8, 2016 — by Patrick Hellen1

Survival of the Calmest: A Community Manager Survival GuideSurvival guides are a pretty fantastic item to own in a, “Just in Case,” scenario. Also, they’re kind of cool to read and imagine yourself as the leader of a rag-tag band of survivors, secure in a compound in Western Massach … wait, just me? Ok, let’s look at some examples.

Zombie Apocalypse? This guide will contain a list of things to do and not do, to make sure you’re still a human and not a shambling mass of teeth and ick. Bonus points if it teaches you how to make a weapon out of a shovel.

Mel Brooks' kid wrote THE definitive guide to surviving the Bitey Apocalypse.
Mel Brooks’ kid wrote THE definitive guide to surviving the Bitey Apocalypse.

Russia and Cuba invade? The movie Red Dawn (original, obviously) is a perfect example of how you and your teenage brothers can stop one of the most advanced militaries in the world with some AK’s, a few grenades, and every popular teenage actor of the 1980’s:

Community Management? That’s a bit stickier. You can’t rely on Swayze to throw grenades into your community to deal with the trolls, and burning yourself out is a pretty common occurrence. Thus, what should you read to stay calm, cool, and collected as a CM, and survive the day to day of your gig?

THIS! READ THIS: Community Manager Survival Guide from Patrick Groome, Senior Community Manager at Penny Arcade, Inc. and Content and Community Manager at Vanilla. It has suggestions on how to not feed the trolls, legal issues, moderation expertise, and when you need to involve outside authorities when something in your community has crossed a line.

We also asked a crack team of CMGR superstars to weigh in on their tips, and survival methods when presented with the always on, and always demanding field we find ourselves in. You should absolutely watch the entire hangout, but here are a few great tips from the panel, that you can start implementing now:

  • David DeWald reminds us all that just because your community doesn’t take vacations, or sleep, or ever stop updating, does not mean that you have to chain yourself to a desk. You can, “step away. Sure something might go wrong while you’re gone but you’ll be able to handle it when you get back.”
  • I’ll add: if you start to step back a bit, and let your community self-regulate more and more, you’ll have more time, and more engaged members who feel even more ownership – allowing you to spend all your time on the beach sipping drinks with umbrellas in them.
  • Jenn Lebowitz does a great job documenting the positive aspects of her community, and captures the good feedback that everyone is providing so her moderators and helpers feel and see the results of their good work, keeping them engaged and relevant.
  • Finally, if you’ve been missing Brew, and his hawk of power, he’s back in this episode, and he’s missed you too.

There are a ton more tips, including a frank discussion about suicide threats and asking for help for your members, and how to deal with the Trolls that never fully cross the line.

Dive in, give it a watch, and let us know what topics you want our team of awesomenauts to crush in the upcoming weeks, and tune in every Friday for more fantastic topics and guides.

Patrick Hellen

Director of Community at Deep Information Sciences, Inc.
Patrick Hellen is a large collection of adjectives, in the shape of a lanky, bearded, and bespectacled fellow. He's been a lumberjack, a restaurant writer, a published author, a sales guy, a book seller, a church janitor, a tour guide, and most recently, a community manager and a Dad. He reads nearly constantly, tells loud boisterous stories for as many people as will listen, eats food like it's his last day on earth, and still collects comic books and video games. Until he decides to sit down and write another book, you'll have to find his inane ramblings on Twitter at @PatrickCH.
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