Posted by: Andrew Hemingway | December 3, 2009

Why Your Community is Dead!


Raising sheep is not as easy as it looks. For some reason every book I see has pictures of these tanned muscular looking young men laying on the side of some grassy knoll somewhere enjoying themselves. Always a classic pastoral setting to behold, and this is the view most have of the ancient trade of shepherding. The reality is far different. Sheep are really DUMB animals. Seriously, they are stupid, if one walks in a direction the others follow willingly, not knowing the end of the path chosen, but heading off with the purest of intentions. Sheep are targeted animals, almost every carnivore loves mutton, and if given the chance they will take down one of these sheep in a heartbeat and fully enjoy themselves while doing it. The shepherd is also always aware, on guard and patient. Patient because it takes several years to grow a good herd of sheep that can produce enough wool to sell to be profitable. It takes literally thousands of hours worth of work to see some profit!

Does any of this sound familiar? If you are an experienced community manager it does. You see very easily the correlation between shepherding and CM. So..why is your community dead?

  1. Your Lazy- I know many community managers that are just straight up lazy. Harsh I know, but seriously….when I visit a community, and can see no signs of life at all, there is only one place to turn. If you are a community manager and there are dead links on your home page, or you have not updated, or done something in at least a month, there is a problem. Most of the time this problem is that the CM is lazy. If you are too lazy your community dies. Just like a lazy shepherd that lets his sheep free to roam while he enjoys a long afternoon nap and wakes to find his sheep devoured, you to will find your community destroyed much faster than you think.
  2. Your Arrogant- You think that the community that you have built is so tight, strong and all together wonderful that is will never be anything but. So while you bask in the glory of your uber-success there is trouble brewing inside. You continue on in your self-indulgence, remaining disconnected, and growing further apart from your community, when something hits. Something hits and it hits hard, and your once faithful minions are outraged, you are shocked with the realization that the community you have built was really built by them, and that they have allowed you to be apart of their community. Ouch! Many CM’s do not recover from this. Instead they take on a tyrannical approach to their management in an attempt to save face, and their communities many times self destruct.
  3. You do not ask for help – We have all been there right? You know exactly what I am talking about. You put so much into this community, you spend so much time, and you give so much of yourself, but always come up short. Guess what? You need to ask for help. I am convinced this is the number 1 reason most CM’s fail. They do not ask for help. You need help from your community, your family, your friends, your company, etc… You need help from anybody willing to give it. And you need to be very thankful for it when it comes. Don’t be stupid! Ask for help, and you will be a much better CM for it.

Is your community dead, or dying? I hope these three things will help you to look at yourself and explore the real reason.

I would be happy to conduct a Community Review for your community. Feel free to contact me here for more information.

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