Now Senior Manager, Creator Community at Picsart, Jocelyn has five years of community experience under her belt. She started her career as a community intern fresh out of college – although she’d been (unofficially) working in community for much longer.
Here, she talks going with the flow, establishing boundaries and growing the community industry.
Jocelyn: “I owe my career in community to Spoon University, specifically Andrea Jacobs (AJ). Spoon is an online media company that built a network of food-loving communities across colleges around the world. I started the Spoon chapter at UC Berkeley and quickly became a “superuser” — answering questions in our Facebook Groups, meeting up with other Spoon members, sharing advice, and more.
I distinctly remember getting a call from AJ when I landed in the Bay, senior year of college. She said something along the lines of ‘Hey, we’re looking for an intern for our team. When we started talking about what we wanted this person to do, we realized that you were already doing all of these things. So I wanted to ask you first: Would you like to be our Community intern?’
This conversation put me on the path to community as a career.
Once I graduated, I joined Spoon’s Community team full time as the Community Success Manager. My role revolved around communicating with our chapter leaders and understanding their pain points to serve as their advocates and provide relevant resources.
After Spoon, I joined Udemy’s Community team to work with their online instructor community. I was the on-the-ground community manager — facilitating conversations, managing escalations, creating relevant content, and consolidating instructor feedback. I also managed the superuser program Community Champions and ran the Instructor Advisory Board.
Now, I’m at Picsart, leading our Creator Community team.
It was sometime within the past year or so when I realized that I’d actually been doing community for longer than this. When I was in school, I helped run a graphics and design resource forum as a volunteer moderator.
J: “One of my superpowers is being adaptable. I’m comfortable with change and can go with the flow.
This is important with community work because, no matter how much user research you do or how well you know your community members, it’s human and, therefore, unpredictable. Situations can change suddenly, and you have to adapt with them.
However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t plan or wait for things to happen. I’m big on process and guidelines, but I’m not rigid and understand that things change. I’m a big believer in setting up frameworks and processes but being flexible enough to adapt as situations change.
Another superpower of mine is building programs. If you share what you want to build and why, I can figure out how to do it and start doing it fairly quickly. I’m a builder, and I’m biased towards action.”
J: “I used to be online 24/7. I’d check on the community at night, over the weekends, first thing when I woke up. It wasn’t required or asked of me, but I felt an obligation to check in and make sure things were okay.
Sometimes I’d spot a proverbial fire and try to deal with it immediately. I remember one night a community member uploaded an animated video sharing why they hated a product feature.
I didn’t really have boundaries and that took its toll. It was mentally and emotionally draining, and quite frankly, it wasn’t healthy.
Then, I took a vacation where I didn’t have readily available internet or phone service so there was no way for me to check on the community or our escalation channels. The community was totally fine, and my team handled everything.
It was that experience that slowly taught me that I don’t have to be online all of the time and I really shouldn’t be online all of the time. Now, it’s important to me to take breaks from checking in on the community, and I try to help my team enforce those boundaries too.”
J: “I wish I knew that there was a whole industry of community professionals and builders, and that they’re some of the friendliest, most supportive people ever!
I remember looking up ‘community management’ and related terms a few years back, and Google would return search results about apartment building managers and social media managers. It was rather demotivating since I wasn’t sure if there was a career in community or how to even explain what I do.
It’s so nice now to have a community of community people who understand the work from the wins to the challenges.”
J: “I hope the community industry continues to grow and mature. I hope it becomes one of those jobs that people aspire to become, that it becomes more of an intentional career choice.”