When I spoke in San Francisco at the Social Media Strategies Conference a few people asked how I got started as a Community Manager? I generally start the story with my role as an online evangelist which transitioned into a full time role as a Community Manager.
But I’ve known for a long time that my background & skills were developed & honed while I was a librarian in the Lake Agassiz Regional Library System. I supervised 7 sites across 80 miles & 20 some people. The position translated perfectly into the Community Manager position:
- providing motivation & leading by example
- encouraging communication to bridge the miles in regard to technology
- providing staff & the public with instruction on use of technology
- leading the strategic planning for technology (we brought in wireless to all sites)
- public relations & marketing to get the word out about library services (we were competing with Google, Barnes & Noble & Amazon)
- providing innovative programs & growing them
- ensuring excellent customer service
- working remotely with the 6 other sites
- collaborating & partnerships were very important
All of these translate to the digital world & are applicable to the Community Manager role. Communication, collaboration & customer service are key components of the position.
In March of 2005 Michael Stephens presented around MInnesota. He introduced me to Web 2.0 & the Cluetrain Manifesto. He is the Jeremiah Owyang of the the library world & blogs at Tame the Web. His focus is on utilizing technology, breaking down barriers & hi-tech gadgets.
When I first left library world after almost 10 years I emailed Michael. You know how you reach out to someone who influenced you? He kindly replied. I had joined a software company, so I’m sure there wasn’t much relevance. A few months ago I saw him on Twitter & followed him. (Twitter connects everyone!)
This spring I met Meg Canada, a librarian from the Twin Cities who works with digital media. We had dinner & she was totally intrigued by my shift from library work to online. I will always be a librarian at heart! You really never leave it! I LOVE my present role with Techrigy SM2 helping people set up keyword searches for social media monitoring. And boolean just makes sense (ok,I have a math degree too..).
Meg blogged about how librarians are Community Managers. And Michael continued that conversation. I was thrilled to see him say:
I’ll be adding this to the list of emerging LIS jobs. How are we training new librarians to be Community Managers? Did you ever think that might be a role you’d play?
LIS is Library & Information Sciences. It’s exciting to see recognition of the position & the need for training. Thanks Meg & Michael for that! There are many of us that are working on best practices. It’s an exciting time as they evolve. I’m glad to give back to the library profession as it has given me so much. Let me know how I can help.