The Community Club

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Cover image for #ClubChat: Is there an overlap between community management and community organizing?
The Community Club

#ClubChat: Is there an overlap between community management and community organizing?

Kirsti Buick
Writer. Lover of peanut butter, lifting heavy things and too-strong tea.
・1 min read

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Are there skills that are necessary for both roles? And do you think it would be easy to move from one to the other?

Discussion (3)

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coachprimus profile image
Kevin Primus

Disclaimer: My knowledge of both community management and community organizing is primarily as an observer.

One overlap I see is managing at the margins.

My friends in community organizing curate content, create a welcoming environment, and embrace responsibilities related to information, education, motivation, and challenging their communities to engage with the outside world, while holding power holders accountable to issues that affect their members. In a basketball analogy, they are point guards, running the offense, distributing the ball, keeping pressure on the “other team” on defense.

Because communities evolve and emerge, the tools for managing untoward behavior, moderating for inappropriate communication, or mitigating effects of irrelevant content was not what they signed up for, but what often keeps them up at night.

Both roles entail real-time engagement and decision-making with constituents with a wide range of commitment levels to and understandings of the community. Success often requires an understanding that those at the margins pose the biggest threat to the viability of the community.

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kirstib profile image
Kirsti Buick Author

Thanks so much for these insights, Kevin! They sound very astute to me, for something picked up purely by observing. You clearly have a good eye! I love the basketball analogy too — that really sounds like it's applicable to both.

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Mary Green

I haven't heard of a community organization position, but if it is within the realm of online communities I would imagine you'd have some overlapping skills. Both would probably require bringing people together, putting on events, etc. I would think the move would be a realistic one. Do you have job descriptions you can share so we can compare these two more accurately?