Happy CMAD 2020!
January 27 is Community Manager Advancement Day (formerly known as Community Manager Appreciation Day).
Founded in 2010, it's a day when community professionals globally stop to reflect on their practice, celebrate each other's work and deepen our own sense of community.
These are challenging times and community managers are doing outstanding, important work across multiple levels of the organisation.
On the front lines, they're building safe, respectful and productive digital spaces for hosting organisations and participants. As managers and leaders, they are educating colleagues about the strategic benefits of building and participating in networks and ecosystems. And as peers and colleagues, they're making meaningful connections, helping grow shared knowledge and showing how we can be better together.
But the practice of community building and community management still faces challenges.
The work is often invisible or illegible.
It is commonly misunderstood and devalued (not unlike other professions that centre the human).
Front-line work (especially on social media) is depleting, dispiriting and can significantly impact health and wellbeing.
Making matters worse are inappropriate expectations of being 'always-on' (usually without compensation or workload offset) and the fact many community professionals still work alone or in a small team with limited support or relief available.
Social media platforms co-opted the term 'community' and the work of community management, driving agendas antithetical to purposeful engagement. There are many in the emerging generation of community managers stuck in this reductionist corner - a risky path we need to keep course correcting.
Many in the world of work cannot yet see the potential of open, engaged and networked social systems, meanwhile, some structural vestiges are profoundly threatened by notions of community and network power. Their push-back can bite.
Community management is already an important function for many innovative organisations, and a leading indicator of 21st century enterprise. Operating collectively is catalytic and we'll see more of it as we adapt to face the tests of this era.
Great community managers are destined to be an essential player in coming decades and we're proud to play a role in nurturing and growing them.
Today we celebrate the resilient and relentless work of Australian community managers and our peers worldwide. Though it may feel exhausting sometimes, we're building the future. Let's keep looking after each other.