Achieving New Heights as a Community Manager
This week I asked for suggestions on what I should write about in the newsletter this year. One response from Katerina from TogetherCrew reminded me that as we grow in our practice, sometimes we get a bit stuck, and this one, in particular, is a great way to open up the new year.
Today we discuss how to achieve new heights as a community manager.
Since this checklist will be aimed at more seasoned community managers with a bit of experience under their belt, I won’t dive into how to be a community manager here. Instead, I provide some things to notice about your community and specifically yourself in order to set new standards and reassess where this plateau is holding you back.
Many folks in the industry simply cannot afford the fees of a coach, extensive courses, or the time to dedicate to such practices. And while they are all very helpful, often, we just need to step back a bit and think (and gatekeep less).
There are 3 areas we must create and cultivate interconnectedness as community builders in the new year. Even if we are already doing this, it’s possible we aren’t dedicating as much energy to all three aspects.
Personal: It is my belief that we cannot foster interconnectedness without this most important first step of personal, owned introspection for ourselves. This is a literal gift we receive daily from within. To more deeply understand our own motivations. To sit quietly with ourselves. To determine our purpose and our sources of meaning so they may be reflected in the work we produce and share with others. To know oneself is to better know those around us. This might sound a little woo-woo, but it’s true. This year we can find time to meditate, close our eyes, stop consuming for at least 15 minutes a day, and empty our minds.
Internal team: Your team is your greatest secret weapon. They are tapped into all aspects of your company, small or large, and have insight you need when connecting with members. Your job this year is to meet with teammates outside the immediate community team you talk to all day and tune in to the amazing talent on the product team, the devs, and the BD team. They are there for a reason. Get a feelings check on how they see the community coming along. Let’s utilize them!
Externally facing: As the voice of the community, fostering interconnectedness between members is an ongoing activity. We are the light, the spark of brilliance that members look to for connection. Particularly in decentralized communities, it’s important to use “we” and “us” language for a deeper connection between members while maintaining ethical behavior.
People in this space can sense irrelevancy from a mile away. If you wait more than a week, or even worse, months, to talk about or have an opinion about something happening in the industry, you’re quickly irrelevant to the people catching up elsewhere. It’s one of the causes of downfall and disconnection for many communities that fail to keep up.
If you choose to create a community with a Content and Contribution Model in a fast-paced, 24/7/365 space, it’s your job to stay relevant. The caveat here is you don’t want to burn yourself out by being literally too online. Now, this style of community is by far not the only one we should be building. Not every community can or should follow trends. However, the strategy and expectations you set with members must align with the content you produce. If you’re trying to educate folks, it’s likely best to stay relevant so members can grow alongside you and not get further behind in such an emergent space.
➙ Communities like Boys Club seem like they’re too online because they’ve cultivated a community of folks who collectively understand online culture. They’ve simply set the foundation to allow members to share freely trends that are happening that others need to know about. But Boys Club isn’t the only instance of highly effective, high-signal, and relevant online communities. I’m also in communities like Grassverse, where members are constantly sharing info. It’s up to you to find spaces that keep up with your niche (outside your profession) to share trendlines with members.
➙ This relevancy also translates to the need for curation, as I’ve previously discussed in this Mirror article on Hypercuration. As we niche down our communities this year and refocus our members on new adventures, curation of both information AND members will be increasingly important.
Why? Because this level of curation will allow for more inexpensive membership and movement toward more loyal and participatory actions. Once more aligned members see you provide the exact things they desire, they’re more liable to stick around and engage. The key here is to learn with and from members so you stay equally relevant not to a wider array of “everyone” but to only the target audience.
➙ Of course, you’ll find AI tools will help with synthesizing trends and accurate advancements in your industry. At the moment, a human touch is still required to gather the most up-to-date information, but it won’t be long before AI will be deployed to autonomously gather, write, and publish articles, memes, and everything in between for not just entertainment but accurate, unbiased news.
AI News isn’t the only sector for staying relevant, though. This year, we’ll see advancements in entire community stacks utilizing AI for introductions, connectors, and managing engagement through distributing loyalty rewards (points) based on activity. Essentially freeing up Community Managers for more creative, personal adventures with members.
Though I do believe memes will always be for the people ✊
When these tools arrive, I’ll be sure to report on them here! We’ve already seen this video from Channel One News which claims to be the world’s first AI-powered news network.
➙ During the break, with the help of around 20 folks on Farcaster, I created the /community channel. In my Expansive Communities manifesto published earlier last year, I explained that communities will need to take advantage of these “channels” that are now permissionless on Farcaster.
Join this channel to stay connected to community builders across the web3 landscape and distill outside the noise of Twitter/X.
➙ There’s pressure to go full force here at the beginning of the year. I say to hell with that. Go at your own pace and do a little hibernation in the Winter if you need to. Bloom in the Spring with all the flowers 🌸
➙ I'll reiterate here that as a more experienced community builder, being on top of your game requires clearing your mind. Members depend on you to be there for them. In turn, you must learn to be present for yourself. This includes exercise, regular meditation, and a holistic practice of mindfulness of your own self care.
Dr Waku is my latest favorite YouTube channel for thinking through AI
This X post from user Fascinated shows how to install a widget on your iOS home screen to see the daily Basepaint painting co-created live
Bringing Scouting Onchain ☁️
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There are no community chats scheduled for now while considering the 2024 strategy and how we move forward into the new year.
I had the privilege of submitting Cloud Scouts for multiple growth opportunities last year and found, again, where alignment was and wasn’t.
If 2023 taught me anything, it's that MY needs come first. And while, yes, managing a community and project is my responsibility, it's also a process. Behind the scenes, I put a lot of pressure on myself.
The creative efforts of myself, the community at large, and a team that forms organically over time will determine its path and success. All of that is fluid. And to everyone who has helped make Cloud Scouts what it is today, you have my undying gratitude with everlasting love. I truly thank you.
Want to partner with Cloud Scouts? Have a new feature you’re launching we should know about? Send me an email or DM to discuss how.