7 Replies Latest reply on Apr 13, 2010 7:32 AM by grsnovi

    What can a company expect if they have no internal community manager?

      I have customers who don't have an internal community manager - that person who is ultimately responsible for the internal social environment from an adoption and governance perspective. Instead, someone from IT or from a business unit is trying to play that role, along with their day job. Struggling, all the way.

       

      What can a company expect to experience (gimme all the horrible stories!) if they don't have a designated internal community manager?

        • Re: What can a company expect if they have no internal community manager?

          At my company we have shared the responsibility of an internal community manager between 1 IT person and 1 senior level group leader. The problems we are experiencing is that neither of the two "managers" of the community have the time to do clean-up work. The content that is posted is very valuable but poorly organized. We have committee chairpersons who are tasked with managing/editing/re-tagging/etc. the content that falls in their respective committees, but as with any task that isn't your primary responsibility, that oversight is not really happening. The result is a lot of content that is already getting hard to sort through and therefore it's not being utilized efficiently.

          • Re: What can a company expect if they have no internal community manager?

            Hi Peter!

             

            Did we meet when I worked for IBM Lotus? I live in St. Paul, btw.

             

            What you describe sounds exhausting. What is the driver behind someone having to manage, edit, re-tag, etc. the content that others create? That sounds like a Web content manager's job! :)

            • Re: What can a company expect if they have no internal community manager?

              Not to use an already tired cliche - but I liken it to having a party without a host.

               

              Without a community manager, I have no doubt that you'll be able to build and launch something... But won't realize the potential success that is oh so close.

               

              You need a person to focus on the tone... Focus on the overall well being of the community.. They need to ensure the environment is a warm, welcoming and intuitive place where your audience feels comfortable participating. This is especially key if you're trying to evolve E2.0 behaviors in an organization not already comfortable with social computing.

               

              I don't have any war stories to share, I'm afraid. We've had an internal community manager since day one. IMO, it's among the key ingredients to a successful deployment - perhaps the most important.

               

              Peter, I feel your pain. You need someone to focus on the overall experience. Someone must serve as advocate for the community at large and help drive the overarching strategy... And time must be allocated as such (I understand first hand that making this business case can be difficult). However, without it, you may find yourself with a disjointed community experience and a bad taste for the evolution of 2.0 in general - which can be far more devastating that a single failed community.

               

              One mans POV. Happy to provide further context if helpful.

               

              Len Devanna

              • Re: What can a company expect if they have no internal community manager?

                Excellent advice, Len! And really, the party host is a great analogy - you need someone who really cares about the experience.

                  • Re: What can a company expect if they have no internal community manager?

                    Hi Gia,

                     

                    Well, lack of a community manager will likely ensure a lack of internal participation. While many of us seem to thrive in a virtual social environment some folks seem to need coaching and cajoling to blossom.

                     

                    From an external perspective, participants interacting with a company-hosted community lacking a host can become disillusioned with a lack of balance. Often there will be a handful of brilliant participants with expertise in a specific area - who will stay completely within their area of expertise.

                     

                    Depending on how people perceive the community, expectations will either be met or not - and you can bet that not everyone will approach the community with the same set of expectations. External participants may have a completely different perspective on why the community exists than say, executive management at the company hosting the community. They may also have certain expectations about the level of participation of the company employees (which may have never been communicated to those employees).

                     

                    While I realize this question was posted quite some time ago, I think its great that Jive has posted an open position for a Jivespace community manager!

                  • Re: What can a company expect if they have no internal community manager?

                    I have a comment on this topic, but since it will steer the discussion toward a different direction I started a related topic about Internal Community Managers here: http://www.jivesoftware.com/clearstep/thread/1088. Requesting your feedback there.  Thanks.

                    • Re: What can a company expect if they have no internal community manager?

                      I found an article entitled: The Four Characteristics of a Vibrant Online Community

                       

                      http://tinyurl.com/y2f9zv3


                      One point it makes that I thought pertained to this discussion was: "When they post on the site, people usually hope for a response from others. Without a response, a contributor feels like he's speaking to an empty room. If no one's listening, why bother? ...Those monitoring a community need to encourage responses, either by responding themselves, or reaching out - like good facilitators - to other community members."