Community Manager musings: Are community managers also social entrepreneurs?

Community manager musings is a series of occasional posts looking at the roles and skills of community managers – usually within science. 

Is this the street you’re walking down?
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I love this post by Seth Godin that outlines 4 traits of entrepreneurs:

1. They make decisions.

2. They invest in activities and assets that aren’t a sure thing.

3. They persuade others to support a mission with a non-guaranteed outcome.

4. This one is the most amorphous, the most difficult to pin down and thus the juiciest: They embrace (instead of run from) the work of doing things that might not work.


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2017 on Social in silico

2017 was a busy year on Social in Silico – and the best one yet in terms of the number of blog posts published and the number of you reading them. Thank you for following along! Here’s a summary of some of the highlights.

***Overwhelmed by the list? I’ve put stars next to the key posts you might want to start with to get a tasting menu of the topics listed.

Gripping reading material…
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Considering Community – what do scientific communities look like?

This year I was delighted to get to know the inaugural cohort of AAAS Community Engagement Fellows – a brand new fellowship program for scientific community managers for which I’m the program director. This prompted a series of posts in which I contemplate four possible types of communities found within science. I describe the characteristics of these communities including staffing, funding and governance structures, as well as the role of a community manager in each community.

Also in the Considering Community series I explored two models for communities:

  • ***The four stages of the community lifecycle – the model shared in “Buzzing Communities” by Rich Millington explains why the role of a community manager changes depending on which stage of the community lifecycle their community is in.
  • *** The Connect-Align-Produce model –  A different model applies for social-impact communities – those where the purpose is to generate outputs for social good.

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5 things The Last Jedi reminds us about community management

Warning: Contains The Last Jedi spoilers!

Last weekend I went to see the latest Star Wars installment, The Last Jedi, and found myself noting frequently how many community-related themes were threaded throughout the movie. Here are 5 community take-aways from the film.

Christmas on Jakku – better with more community members?
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1. Get to know – and work with – your biggest advocates

As any community manager knows, your community is made up of members with different personalities and activity levels. Your job is to create and maintain a space where they can work constructively together towards a common vision.

There’s been much criticism of Poe in The Last Jedi – the headstrong hero who’s so passionate about fighting for the rebellion that he’s prepared to be increasingly rash in his actions, whatever the cost. But most facilitators of well-established communities will recognise at least one Poe in their midst – the regular contributor who reliably dives in to every single one of the discussion threads, or who happily tells you and anyone else on the Internet who’ll listen how you’ve ruined everything with your latest product update/marketing campaign/editorial the minute it disappoints him.

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Community Manager musings: advice for careers in community management from #TheCRConnect

Community manager musings is a series of occasional posts looking at the roles and skills of community managers – usually within science. 

This week I attended the Community Roundtable’s annual event, TheCR Connect. On Monday afternoon there was a great panel discussion about community management careers featuring Kristen Laaspere of Akamai, JJ Lovett of CA Technologies and Luke Sinclair of AMEX. Here are some of the key takeaways. (Any mistakes in transcription/interpretation are mine!)

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Community Manager musings: 12 attributes of “less visible” network leaders

Community manager musings is a series of occasional posts looking at the roles and skills of community managers – usually within science. 

“Follow me and when I say duck…”
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I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what it is that makes community managers / network leaders unique. How do we accurately describe a role with activities that require seemingly opposed skillsets and that in many cases can also be somewhat invisible?

In his short publication “The Less Visible Leader” (free to download here), Andy Robinson lists 12 attributes of net-centric leaders that fall into three broad categories:

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5 books that have influenced how I think about community management

In a series of 3 posts, I’m sharing some books that I’ve found useful on the topics of community management, online interactions, and leadership and team culture. In this post, I recommend 5 books that discuss community management and working effectively with groups.

1. “The art of community” by Jono Bacon

This was the book that years ago helped me to realise that I was a community manager. Jono Bacon describes what a community manager does – including the importance of good communication practices, selecting the right tools, and balancing being a member of the community while often negotiating your role as an employee representing an organization. If you’re wondering whether you’re a community manager, or are brand new to the role, this is a good place to start.

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Considering Community: The Connect-Align-Produce network model for social-impact networks

Social in silico includes a series of occasional posts focused on community management tips and related information. I’m tagging these Considering Community and you can find all the posts in the series here

For regular online communities, such as those hosted by an organisation, we looked at the four stage model of the community lifecycle described in Rich Millington’s “Buzzing Communities”. Last week, we considered a different type of community – a social-impact network where the emphasis is on group members working together for a social good. In “Connecting to Change the World”, the authors discuss three different stages of a social-impact network – and how it’s possible to transition between them. Let’s consider this connect-align-produce model.

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