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My definition of a Community Manager by Ryan Olsen

October 11, 2011 — by Ryan Olsen1

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Blog

My definition of a Community Manager by Ryan Olsen

October 11, 2011 — by Ryan Olsen1

Dictionary 2
My definition of a community manager is simple. They are the people in an organization that wear more “hats” than should be allowed by universal law.

More specifically, community managers are: content creators, the number one cheerleaders, customer service agents, business developers, social media managers, keepers of the peace, feedback collectors, digital conversationalists, professional meeting goers, hype builders, news reporters, advocates for the end user, targets for all criticism, receivers of praise and about a thousand other things that change on a daily (or hourly) basis.

Some people welcome the variety; others think we are sick in the head. Someone on Twitter told me they see community managers as people that, “Eat bees for a living.” Sure, being a community manager means you have to deal with a share of harsh criticism but that isn’t the lion’s share of the job.

To illustrate my point of wearing a lot of hats, the book Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina has a great picture of what this looks like since the main character literally wears a lot of hats.

I would contend that, if this guy were really a community manager, he’s not really sleeping. He’s trying to find his happy place after discovering the product that just launched had a critical flaw before going in front of an angry mob on the internet. Kidding!

In all honesty, to come up with a definition of a community manager was really difficult for me. There are the givens that you’ll be the keeper of a Twitter account and a Facebook page, but there are so many other things that happen behind the scenes that it feels like the only thing I don’t touch is the “Shut Down” button on my computer. I think the “manager” part throws a lot of people for a loop since you can’t actually manage an online conversation, at best you can influence it.

Whereas accounting will always be accounting, community managing touches so many areas of an organization it is hard to nail down one, ultimate definition. There are commonalities but to get a better sense of what community managing is all about I always recommend people to start their own small little community in a corner of the internet they are most comfortable in. I find “doing” community management is really the best way to understand your definition of what it means to be a community manager.

Just prepared to be constantly surprised.

Ryan Olsen

Pubic Relations Manager at MonkeyPaw Games
Ryan grew up in the mid-80's when neon colors were first popular and video games dominated recess conversations. He never lost his love of games and figured one day it would be nice to get paid for creating them. Focusing his skills in PR and communication, Ryan then took up the Social Media cause and was a blogger then transitioned into the role of a Community Manager.

He currently works for MonkeyPaw Games, a Japanese game publisher that specializes in importing quirky and unique Japanese games to Europe and North America.