Guild Launch, our sister site, recently has been hosting its annual Dragon Slayer Awards in which fans vote for nominees for different categories which range from a focus on community managers, community builders and the community members (you) of gaming. Voting is going on from July 1st until Sept. 2nd.
To get a little more insight into these awards, let’s take a closer look at the Top Community Management Team award.
- Blizzard Entertainment
- EVE Online
- Sony Online Entertainment
- Diablo III
- Lord of the Rings Online
- DOTA 2
- Shroud of the Avatar
- World of Warcraft
So what does top community management team even mean?
As fans and gamers, we don’t often think about what it takes to create these online communities for us. But behind the bright screens you see in front of you are other people–some maybe gamers just like you–who are working hard to make an experience you can enjoy.
That doesn’t happen by magic.
When we say ‘team’ it means literally that. It takes a lot of different people with a lot of different skills to make things run smoothly online. A fellowship of professionals coming together for one commonality: gaming.
According to one Community Manager Caroline Chen, this could include as many roles as:
The top voice of the brand, often having the authority of the developers and producers behind him/her. Their behavior is closely monitored, because one mistake and half of the world (maybe even parts of the Shire, too, who knows) will hold you to it. The online digital landscape is a cruel world to journey through, as many people can attest–like Microsoft’s Adam Orth who found out the hard way that 140 characters can be pretty powerful. A community manager also might need other skills, such as a background in media, game development, linguistics, and perhaps more depending on the company involved.
People able to naturally be the brand’s voice. These are the people who also need to understand the games where they are engaging fans. In general, they are the ambassadors of gaming developers and producers. They are there to drive fancy avatars around the forums and sites, while they try to navigate between being friendly and being an advocate.
This is that guy who looks at all those boring numbers, figures, and stacks of feedback information from fans and coworkers to gauge the rate of return the game or company is getting from all those hours workers are putting in typing away, while running on little else but coffee and the office candy jar. They look at the big picture – filtered through their caffeine haze.
All those awesome artsy people who come up with graphics such as profile avatars, banners, and all the cool post graphics for Facebook that make you want to give them a thumbs up. Here’s to you, graphics people. Here’s to you.
This is only a general overview, as each gaming community is tailored to their specific needs; such as how large they are, or how much fan engagement gives them a return on their time.
Gamasutra’s Julien Wera summed up community management saying it “…is located between customer support and communication.” So in other words, although it’s true that often this team does help with customer support, they aren’t directly responsible for it.
The whole spectrum of community management is pretty vast. Just like you can’t learn how to play League of Legends in one weekend, management teams are people who have well established experience with communities. Often, their jobs can include entertaining, informing, and more. They have to know how to speak, when to speak, and when not to speak. It’s probably harder being in this business than being a celebrity. At least when Lindsey Lohan has a break down people still love her after. Have a breakdown with a gaming fan in any major game development or production company? No rehab in the world can save you from that, my friend.
Which leads us to one last part of the job description probably taken for granted: keeping your community from destroying itself. Often this translates into using mediums like community rules, fan site programs, and more. It means encouraging growth and creativity, while still keeping the reigns in on the form it shapes into.
Community management isn’t easy, so when a group of games or companies are nominated for an award of job-well-done, that has to be pretty up there on the awesome list.
Still, there is a big difference between being nominated and winning–you!
You, the fans, will decide. So make your way over to Guild Launch to vote today! While you’re at it, you should also vote for all of their other awards too.