Community management: Keeping all the balls in the air

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.

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