Confessions of a Community Manager

Recently, and in revolt of my own crippling fear of all things both ‘social’ and ‘media’ related, I started managing the social media communities for a new client.

As far as communities go, it’s a pretty good one. There are little to no pictures of scrotums (scrotums?…. scrota?… which is it?) uploaded to the wall, and in combination with the rest of the content I’m creating for the brand, it’s actually been quite fun to get back into watching the analytics of how each piece of content performs.

This is not the first time I’ve been a community manager, or as I sometimes like to call it, a ‘professional apologist’ (please go and read this book by Jay Rayner by the almost-same title, it’s awfully good…read it just for the 3 course chocolate meal if you need a better reason than just me telling you to). But this is the first time I’ve been on the other side of the Facebook wall for a while.

You see, I’m also human and I am also a consumer… I too get irritated at bad service, at poor execution, at misleading advertising and general ass-hattery. I too take to Twitter to vent my social spleen and to show any brand I have grown overly annoyed with that I mean business now, motherfuckers.

Calling a brand out on social media is basically like dissing someone in front of their group of friends… actually, when you consider all the power and influence that social media community managers have, it’s more like dissing the nerdy kid who does that group’s homework. It’s not terribly fair, but I do get it. I get the need to tell someone, anyone, preferably the whole world, that you have been wronged, maltreated and ignored in a very real and financially frustrating sense.

When I apologise to you on behalf of my brand, I mean it, I do, because I have been there. In many cases, complaining on social media is a last resort for people. They have tried calling and emailing- probably numerous times- and, feeling like they have not had resolution, they go public.

To quote a different Network, they are mad as hell and they are not going to take it anymore.

Today I wore the hats of both complainant and apologist on social media (not for the same brand, shit, I’m not totally insane) and I realised that, while I do think that social media is a great opportunity for companies to provide better customer service; seed useful, fun or interesting content; and generally show the world that there are real-life humans behind a logo, it can also be a fertile Petri dish for attention seeking weirdos.

Some people like to comment and complain, not because they have a real issue, but just because they can. They have the loudspeaker of the internet in their palms and, by Jove, they’re going to use it. They don’t want an apology. They don’t want a resolution. They just want someone, anyone, to hear them. Presumably because no one else will listen.

So here’s my confession as a once and (fingers crossed, still) future community manager: If you are unnecessarily rude to me, I spy on you.

Yup.

When you post something especially, viciously nasty, without any recourse for action and intended just to upset and hurt… I spy on you.

When you think you’ve just smacked me down by leaving a smarmy, rude comment on my carefully worded post… I spy on you.

All I need is your name, your handle, your Facebook page, something, anything- and in 2 minutes, I’m looking at pictures of you and your spouse, you in front of your new car, your house, your kids, your dog. I know where you work and who your friends are, I know what events you’re planning to attend and what you did last weekend.

I know where you live… and I see where you sleep… and I think you’re rude.

Remember, I only said I wasn’t totally insane.

Nighty night.

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