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Community management becoming strategic enterprise position

OPEN CALL: E2.0 is driving a need for community managers
Enterprise 2.0 is a growing initiative, and with it is coming the creation of new functions and jobs. Positions such as community managers, content managers, and social media strategists are emerging. It's something that many industry thoughts leaders, including Dion Hinchcliffe, are seeing. Dion wrote an article on ebizQ recently about community management, and how it is becoming a strategic new business capability.

He writes, "... as the work environment has moved towards an online one where the dominant communication model is social in nature, then a different set of skills, techniques, and processes are required. As a result, it's starting to become apparent that community management is a strategic function for organizations that are adopting or otherwise being impacted by social computing, which is most of them at the moment."

I agree with his assertion. As I wrote in my comment, community managers are at the intersection of business and social. Business is hierarchical in nature. Community is social and fluid. A company needs both to innovate under the constraints of modern organizational policies and regulations.

As these two worlds collide, intersect, and eventually integrate, a community manager can facilitate and make the transition successful. This is not unlike the role of social librarians, who are crucial to the success of a social library initiative.

I agree with Dion's idea that "communities are different, but complementary." Communities in the enterprise are typically focused on high-value business processes, topics, or objectives, such as proposal development, product development, research, and incident management, to name a few. But it’s the nuances between these groups where a community manager can make a difference by applying best practices and tweak an E2.0 strategy to best fit the needs of each group.

Rather than blanketing E2.0 as a solution to general, corporate-wide problems regarding collaboration, knowledge management, productivity, and efficiency, a community manager is poised to address these varying challenges by focusing on specific use cases, and applying tailored community solutions.

I left a couple other thoughts on the article too. Dion also included a detailed reaction to the recently released Community Roundtable report, The State of Community Management. It unearths best practices from community practitioners in a variety of companies and industries, and gives more great insight on community management.

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