January 23rd is Community Manager Appreciation Day (CMAD) and we'd like to share a little about ourselves and learn more about you! Plus, we have a community manager JiveWorld17 special offer as a thank you below.
In JiveWorks, the majority of our members are on community teams (and we consider these people community managers) so it's an important day for us! Let's take a moment to reflect on what it means to be a community manager from two perspectives: a new community manager and a senior community manager.
Tell us your story! Fill in your own "Profile of a Community Manager" so we can celebrate the unique variety of community managers we have!
Profile of a Community Manager: The Baby
Name: Sarah O'Meara
College degree: B.A. in English; B.A. in Japanese
Past experience: High school teacher, administrative assistant, blog writer, editor, translator/interpreter, cash control, theater attendant, babysitter (just like every other teenager)
Skills: Microsoft Office, basic HTML and stuff, Japanese, can eat a lot of food
Unique traits: Borderline unhealthy passion for studying and learning new things, traveler, has double-jointed knees
Time as a Community Manager: 3 months, 2 weeks and 5 days
Learning what it means to be a community manager
The biggest hurdle I faced as a new community manager was trying to solve the puzzle: Why is everyone calling Libby Taylor a unicorn? As much as I love anything related to horses, it seemed a bit excessive. When I finally cracked and asked the story behind unicorns, the pieces fell into place. Why had Libby Taylor hired me? Why was I a good fit as a community manager despite the lack of "related" experience? Why do I love my job SO much?
Do you know why community managers are called unicorns? Because we are as rare as unicorns. Community managers do it all. We write, we edit, we design, we know about code and how to fix it, we are spreadsheet mavens, we are well-connected with a variety of people across departments or companies, we are leaders of the community, personable and truly care about helping people. We are a variety of jobs all rolled into one. We aren't horses, we aren't donkeys, we are gosh darn unicorns.
Not many kids grow up wanting to be a community manager. I certainly wasn't one of them. While my resume of dream careers include flight attendant (until I discovered my fear of flying), horseback riding instructor, writer, magazine journalist and Japanese/English interpreter, I have had one desire in mind: To help other people. I wanted a job where I could help others, stay busy and always learn new things. I don't think a community manager is a special set of skills, I think it's a special type of person. As much as I enjoyed all the different jobs I have done, I was never really satisfied until now. It just took me some time to realize I am a unicorn.
Profile of a Community Manager: The Senior
Name: Libby Taylor
College degree: B.A. in Rhetoric and Communication
Past experience: (Not including all 30 years' work experience here...) News reporter, desktop publisher, event manager, graphic designer, advertising production manager, publishing manager, logistics and fulfillment manager, printing services manager, innovation program manager, and finally community manager.
Skills: Graphic design, writing, editing, logistics, planning, program management, people management, kid raising, kitten fostering, volunteerism, can eat a lot of food
Unique traits: Super empathetic, weird sense of humor, obsession with rescuing kittens, voracious reader, health advocate / researcher and borderline hypochondriac
Time as a Community Manager: 4 1/2 years using Jive, longer with other technologies
Learning what it means to be a community manager
Anyone who has to manage a company-wide program across geographies and departments in an online world learns what it means to manage a community. That's where it all began for me. If you look at my work history, the path to community management was being built, one job experience at a time, even though community platforms didn't exist in the 1990s or early 2000s for the most part. I remember visiting Microsoft in 2001 and seeing their vision for Sharepoint and I almost lost my mind - I was so excited by what it had to offer. By the time Jive showed up at my workplace door, seeing what the community product was about, they had me at Hello. See A love letter to Jive.
Like Sarah O'Meara, what brings meaning to my work is helping people. My volunteerism has always reflected that but it has been hard to find it within my jobs. When I came to Jive, it was the first time in my life that I lived and breathed the product of the company: Jive powers human connection after all! In addition, this position allows me to help people every day, not only that, we have the power to actually help people get the information they need to really be successful with their own communities! It doesn't get better than that. You will have to pry my cold dead hands from this job, I love it so much.
Our thanks to you: special Jive 101 Boot Camp offer!
Every day, Sarah and I get the chance to be community managers to community managers. It's like making ice cream for people who love to eat ice cream and no one ever gets fat. It's not all sparkles and rainbows, but when it's good it's soooo very good! I've met people in this community for which I feel genuine warmth and loving respect but not in a weird way (am I right, Patty McEnaney and Jessica Maxson ?). It's not weird. It's real. Because community truly is about connecting to people. It's about all of you.
To welcome our new community managers to the mix, we'd like to offer any community manager a 50% discount for Jive 101 Boot Camp. Jive 101 Boot Camp is a JiveWorld17 pre-conference day that will teach you the basics of community management, launching and re-launching communities, and get you connected with each other. It's run by myself and Sarah, along with professional services super stars and community experts (from right here in JiveWorks!). If you are interested, the Promo Code for the Jive 101 Boot Camp sign up is JIVE101CMAD. Simply enter that code at the time of registration and you'll get the discount applied!
Come join us!