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Episode Info: Welcome to episode 62 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode we discuss online community management and its role within an organization with community manager Nic Tolstoshev. Here’s the Nic Tolstoshev fan art Flickr feed we mentioned. Original Recording Date: 10-26-2019 Topics – Community Management and the Community Management Role 3:20 Online Communities and Community Management Nic is currently a community manager at Automox. He has been working as an online community manager for 15 years and worked in IT as a systems administrator before that. What does a community manager do? They manage an online community, ensure it is thriving, make sure people are getting along, and serve as a conduit for information between community participants and employees of the company who sponsors the community. Think providing feedback to product teams, helping engage customers for beta testing, helping with announcements, etc. Why do companies invest in having an online community? This provides an additional channel to interact with customers online but also a peer-to-peer interaction opportunity for customers. Some companies separate online community from a formal advocacy program, while others do not. Many companies do not know where to put the community management discipline inside the organization (Development / Engineering, Marketing, Support, etc.) because the discipline is still fairly new. Depending on where the role falls within an organization, it can affect perceived internal value of this role, resources and headcount available, etc. When an online community grows up with a company, it seems to be seen as more valuable than a community started by a well-established company (might be more challenge to get buy in). At Automox, Nic has executive level support for establishment and growth of the online community. Do community managers have social media functions also? The roles between community managers and social media functions have mostly diverged with the social media responsibilities being a branch of Marketing. While there is some overlap between social media management (i.e. interactions on Twitter, etc.) and online community management, the skillsets needed are different. John gives the example of the VMware community and how this comes out heavily on Twitter. Individual contributors spend time building brand by expanding reach on social media. Social media platforms do not support having a good conversation* Social media platforms do not support having a good conversation like a discussion thread in an online community does. 15:37 Learning about the Community Management Role The transition happened while Nic was at Intuit supporting Quickbooks Enterprise. He did phone support, trained front line engin...
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