Have You Proved the Value of Your Community Today? (Learnings from Reddit)

Recently, the community at Reddit, the long-standing and much-vetted success example of a great community, imploded. I think what happened was this:

  1. Reddit lost their belief in the Community. Possibly, this happened because their Community Managers failed to prove its value, or it was no longer considered important, but the end result was the same.
  2. Once that value was lost, the organisation pulled resources from the Community. This broke the circle of trust between the community and the organisation.
  3. The organisation failed to communicate the reasons why the resources were being pulled, destroying the Sense of Community.
  4. Open revolution!

Rachel Happe, founder of think tank The Community Roundtable, has written a great summary article about this and I encourage you to read it.

One of the worst aspects of this example of such a hugely public Community is that it can unduly influence an organisation thinking of building community. This would be a terrible by-product of a tragic story. Community is valuable and can be an incredible asset to any company, but it must be managed properly, supported with infrastructure and resources, and measured frequently.

The number one job of a Community Manager is not managing your Community; it’s proving the value of your Community internally to your executive stakeholders. Never forget they are your ultimate customer.

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