Here’s a good interview on building communities with Jono Bacon and Randal Schwartz: FLOSS WEEKLY 462 EVOLUTION OF COMMUNITY
At one point during the conversation the two briefly discussed the discipline of community management itself. The job title, basically. This really brought back memories for me. I was the community manager for the OpenSolaris project way back in 2005. Back then the title was not really considered a positive thing at all. People in the Open Source community — and in the nascent OpenSolaris community — kept telling me that you can’t manage a community because communities are organic. And any attempt to manage a community simply demonstrated that the company (in this case Sun) wanted to control the community. Although I didn’t agree with the argument entirely I was sufficiently intimidated by it that I very much shied away from the title. I used it for a while, but I never liked it. Eventually, I moved over to calling myself a program manger and felt much more comfortable since I was also managing many internal infrastructure projects as well as building community externally.
Anyway, my point? Now, all these years later, there are “community managers” all over the place and it’s all the rage for corporate types to build communities. The conferences are filled with presentations like this. How times have changed.