Community Managers fly the coup!
So I’ve noticed a few of my fellow association community managers are flying the coup lately. Both that I know personally are moving to work with consulting companies. I don’t know the full details of their positions, but is this mass exodus a sign of something? (I say mass exodus, because that’s around 1% of the known social media specialist workforce in association land)
I also know that there is an article coming out in the November Associations Now which features 3 community managers & their first six months on the job. Well two of those three have left (I believe they are the same two that I know directly). Having a little bit of inside info on the situations I wasn’t shocked when I heard the news, but I think these happenings say something about the way community specialists are treated within associations.
In general, social media specialists aren’t fully understood. Why should they be, they are specialists in what they do, meaning not everyone is as versed in what they do as they are. At the same time though, I don’t think they are as respected as other specialists, partly because social media/networking really does cross that personal-professional boundary a lot of the times. A social media specialist spends their time on websites that most of us use for fun.
But social media specialists are more than that. In essence, they are community builders and have learned how to use specific online tools to do just that. They’ve crafted their listening skills and learned how to respond to situations when appropriate. A social media specialist or community manager (I’ve been using these terms interchangeably in this post) is someone who has taken the time to learn social media tools inside & out. They understand content, how to inspire it as well as find it. They understand the language of the web. I just wish they were given a little more freedom to do what they do best.
P.S. Yes, I am a community manager/social media person at an association (obviously), sometimes I feel the way I’m talking about and sometimes I don’t. There are common themes in the complaints though that social media specialists talk about, mainly the focus on trying to control, lack of understanding, funding support, etc. These may be things that affect a lot of individuals in the association world at large. I’d just like to open the dialog a bit about the role social media specialists play in the big picture, b/c I feel social media specialists have the opportunity to break down the silos that we all try to operate around.
Update 3:15pm: The fabulous Maddie Grant has a post relating to her article called “3 Examples of Initial Steps taken by New Association Community Managers” over on her SocialFish blog, you can also read the AssociationsNow article as well.
Filed under: Associations | 4 Comments
Tags: Community Managers, Social Media
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