For anyone who’s ever managed a community – whether an internally-facing employee community or an externally-facing community available to customers, partners, developers, employees, and the media – you know what a challenging, rewarding, frustrating, and fulfilling experience it can be to bring people together!
Yes, a community is all these things! And every community manager knows that all too well!
It can also be a bit of a lonely experience in that often a community manager is the only person tasked with managing the community as a part of their job, and it’s often not even their full time job. They are often serving not only as the host of the party, but the educator, help desk, evangelist, technical expert, and whatever else comes along that needs their assistance. They are, to put it mildly, expected to wear a number of hats at any given moment. Theirs is a unique skill set that is not often found, and they often must reach outside of the organization for support and resources.
Enter the Community BackChannel.
Four of us - all community management professionals with years of experience - Claire Flanagan, Ted Hopton, Megan Murray and I – know this all too well and decided that a free community to bring community builders together made perfect sense.
Per our Mission, we are committed to advancing the art and practice of community building by gathering active and engaged people together in a vibrant, trusting, no-sales-zone community - where we can learn from each other and from the experience of participating in a model community of our own.
We exist to serve practitioners, people who are actively involved in building communities. The exchange of ideas and experiences, the surfacing of issues and problems and questions, the peer-to-peer support, and the development of professional relationships among practitioners creates the greatest value within our community.
In the spirit of community and collaboration, we have intentionally interwoven ourselves with other groups involved in community building to forge stronger relationships within the community management space. You’ll notice that many of our members are leaders in public conversations about communities.
Why we’re Different.
We feel very strongly about bringing together all people in support of community building, regardless of company size, budget commitment, or official role at the organization. While we feel very strongly about a trusting no-sales-zone environment, we see the value that our trusted colleagues who work in the consulting and vendor spaces can bring to the conversation and want you to have the ability to network and learn from them. We also feel very strongly that community managers at companies of all sizes face the same challenges and need the same level of support a network such as the Community BackChannel can provide.
Similar to Greg Lowe’s experience, I was also made to leave a number of communities I had joined and built up strong relationships within when I chose to leave EMC and join AMP Agency. Building up these relationships and then being removed from the communities is not a fun experience. Trust me. In a new role, it’s a bit like having the rug pulled out from under you. The good news is that I'm now friends with most of the people I met in the past 2 years through these communities, but there's still a disruption in the conversation, flow of information, and my network. Consistency in a network that ebbs and flows with me as I make changes in my life is critical for me. Consistency and dependability are key tenets of community.
The criteria is very simple, really. Members simply need to:
- have demonstrated a committed interest in sharing ideas about community building
- have a publicly-visible complete LinkedIn profile
- agree to and adhere to the Community Back Channel Code of Conduct, including the no-sales-zone policy
- be approved for membership by the Board after all current members have had the opportunity to review and comment upon the application.
We’re already 50 strong in just 2 weeks, and will no doubt benefit from your knowledge and expertise! So, what are you waiting for? Join us!