As a community manager in the gaming sector, I recently came along with a picture that’s worth a thousand words. The picture, which I found in the famous image-based website 9Gag, analyses the role of the community manager as seen from different perspectives, in a funny and ironic way.
Of course this picture is slightly overstated, but it wouldn’t be funny if it weren’t, would it? Anyway, when I tell people I’m a community manager, they usually ask me what the hell is that. And after explaining them the basics of my role, they often come to the conclusion that what I do is banning players (Disclaimer: I do NOT have a ban button on my keyboard) and writing on Facebook and forums. I think I’m explaining my role properly – and being a community manager is much more than banning players and writing on social media -, so this leads me to the conclusion that the overall society is not quite well informed or able to understand what managing a community means.
There is a lot I could say about this matter, but today I decided to approach the “part-time” community management issue. It’s a reality that several companies trust in part-time community managers to do their job and don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely against it. It’s also true that other (not so many, but still) even hire community managers to work remotely. And you know what? I’m working part-time and from home, and I admit it gives me a lot of flexibility. But there’s a problem with part-time community management: it is not part-time!
As a part-time community manager, I’m usually out of bed early in the morning and the first thing I do is turning my laptop on and checking what happened during the night on social media channels, as well as answering to all the support tickets that were open during the night, which are a lot, but could be more if I didn’t answer to customers before going to sleep. After that, I get to have my breakfast in 5 minutes, so I can quickly go back to my laptop and keep working – either answering more support tickets or planning the rest of the day. By lunchtime, I have already more tickets than I can count and have read several forums in different languages. And, if for some reason I need to go out during the day, I take my smartphone with me to keep myself informed on what’s going on in my communities and to take care of critical situations, should they arise (better safe than sorry!).
By the end of the night, before turning my laptop off, I review everything again, take care of any open issues and then I take my smartphone to bed to keep working until I’m too tired. And yeah, I’m working part-time.
What’s my point? I believe that it’s simply not possible to be a part-time community manager, since this is a role that will take most of your day if you want to keep informed and to engage with your community. As I read on Blaise Grimes-Viort blog, “Anyone who looks for a part-time community manager doesn’t know what a community manager does”. Btw, if you want to read his opinion on this (and other) matter, here’s the blog post link: http://blaisegv.com/community-manager-careers/can-community-manager-ever-be-part-time-or-community-management-delegated-intern/
As for me, this article has already taken too much time from my day, I need to get back to my “part-time” job. 😛