Notes on Community Management…

I listened to Brian Oberkirch’s interview of Jeremiah Owyang today. An important thing that he said stuck with me

Jeremiah gave an analogy for what community managers do when they involve the community, he said it’s like…. 

“when you go to a party, you don’t go up to a group of people and start talking about the Mets. You wait and listen the conversation that is already happening. You need to join the existing conversation to connect with the people there”

This is interesting and it got me thinking about the general mindset of a community manager and beyond that the majority of bloggers (or at least business bloggers). Is this mindset common amongst them? The social mindset of people at parties? If it is, are the real life skills of working a party transferable to community management? Kind of an interesting thought for anyone looking to integrate this into a course…

Maybe this is why there are so many blogger parties, the skills have to be practiced in person and have to be realistic. Then again, that could be a side effect of the press coverage of bloggers and the nature of being a californian :)

This also brings up the other sides of the equation…..

Who plays the life of the party?  – there is usually someone who plays this role, if community managers act like the general populous (as a good friend). Is there a role in the conversation that is the vocal person to watch? Perhaps someone in the community who is really good with the technology or product the community surrounds?

Who plays the host? – if the company can’t host (because they are listening), who hosts the party? And should they be rewarded for their hosting efforts?

Who plays the introvert? – every party has at least one, or two, or three, and usually they are idly evaluating the attendees….sure the lurkers fit this role, but how do you involve them? How as a community can you benefit from them in a valuable way (they probably have good opinions that need some work to be extracted). 

Another interesting point Jeremiah mentions in the interview is about involving competition…..He puts it in the context of if you care so much about your customer, that you want them to talk to every product vendor before they choose, you would probably be the best vendor to work with in terms of customer satisfaction (because you cared about them so much in the first place)….. This is spot on with the Movie “A Miracle on 34th Street” (yes, I watched this with my family the other night). The Santa character in the movie does this for Macys and effectively markets Macys as the place to go for all of your needs. A clear example that this practice and thought process is not old; however, it may be frequently forgotten or lost in the busy lives of salesmen and markters.

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One Response to “Notes on Community Management…”

  1. Jeremiah Owyang Says:

    Josh

    Thanks for listening in. Ideally, these ‘roles’ can be played by anyone or by everyone. I’ve some stats that I’ve been compiling about ‘lurkers’ in a community.

    Heh, and for the record, I’m not a big ‘party boy’

    Jeremiah from Podtech.

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