Consider a few types of communities for which managers are needed:
- Online Commerce (like that of Amazon.com or eBay)
- Media (like eMusic, or Audible.com)
- Free and Open Source Software (like that of Ubuntu or Fedora)
- Web Developers (my field)
In my past three roles as a “community guy” of some form or another, I have had a lot of inquiries. “How did you get started doing that?” I’ve always been stuck for an answer better than, “Well, you know, there’s not really any book about it…” (Godin again: “Since there’s no rule book…”)
Until now, you just had to start doing the community thing and learning as you go: from what seems to have worked elsewhere, from peers that you meet along the way, and from trial and many, many errors.
Enter the latest opus of Jono Bacon: The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation (Theory in Practice).
Jono is the illustrious community manager for Ubuntu, a founder of the late, great podcast LugRadio, and one of my favorite people. Although I may be a veteran community manager myself, Jono’s immense natural talent and passion is something I can only aspire to. I know of no person who puts as much deep thought, positive action, and general blood, sweat and tears into the practice of Community Management.
There is still no paint by numbers guide: every community and every community manager is different. But if you aspire to build a career in community management–are a community manager already–I encourage you to dive in and learn some of the fundamentals.