I was talking with someone yesterday about online community management. I am still grateful to discover that I’m talking with someone who presumes that online communities require management.
I told her that I think of online community management as juggling. You have several simultaneous tasks:
- Care and feeding of site members [tech support]
- Content strategy [Even on user-generated content sites, the institutional tone you set is critical]
- Nurturing people who share
If you let any of those balls drop, you endanger the community.
It’s a pretty broad way of thinking about community management. There are a lot of other items we could add to the list, really — technical structure, communication/marketing, etc. But I’d argue that many of those other items could fall under one of these three big categories.