Seth Godin’s Job #1: Community Management

It’s not everyday that Seth Godin writes something that has anything to do with social web apps, so his post today got me really excited. In Jobs of the future, #1: Online Community Organizer he writes:

“What if you want to hire someone to build an online community? Somebody to create and maintain a virtual world in which all the players in an industry feel like they need to be part of it? Like being the head of a big trade association, but without the bureaucracy and tedium…

It would help if that person understood technology, at least well enough to know what it could do. They would need to be able to write. But they also have to be able to seduce stragglers into joining the group in the first place, so they have to be able to understand a marketplace, do outbound selling and non-electronic communications. They have to be able to balance huge amounts of inbound correspondence without making people feel left out, and they have to be able to walk the fine line between rejecting trolls and alienating the good guys.

It’s not everyday that Seth Godin writes something that has anything to do with social web apps, so his post today got me really excited. In Jobs of the future, #1: Online Community Organizer he writes:

“What if you want to hire someone to build an online community? Somebody to create and maintain a virtual world in which all the players in an industry feel like they need to be part of it? Like being the head of a big trade association, but without the bureaucracy and tedium…

It would help if that person understood technology, at least well enough to know what it could do. They would need to be able to write. But they also have to be able to seduce stragglers into joining the group in the first place, so they have to be able to understand a marketplace, do outbound selling and non-electronic communications. They have to be able to balance huge amounts of inbound correspondence without making people feel left out, and they have to be able to walk the fine line between rejecting trolls and alienating the good guys.

Since there’s no rule book, it would help to be willing to try new things, to be self-starting and obsessed with measurement as well.

If you were great at this, I’d imagine you’d never ever have trouble finding good work.

I included “Not hiring a Community Manager” in my Common Pitfalls of Building Social Web Applications and How to Avoid Them. It is one of the first conversations I have with anybody thinking about building an online community…who is going to manage it…and are they a kickass people person?

So, needless to say, I think Seth is completely right on this one. :)

Published: July 19th, 2007

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