Obligatory #cmad post – Being a CM in the Gaming Industry

Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day.

I’m sick the third week now, since the year begun, I didn’t „saw“ my community and I miss them like hell. At the moment, I’m a silent reader on forum, facebook and twitter, and of course, in our game.

So what makes being a CM in the online games industry so different from other industries CMs might work in?

  1. First, I guess, it’s the communication ways – who else has the community in a virtual world inside the virtual world?
  2. Second, the community is nothing you build up or create: it is part of the whole idea of multiplayer games to have social groups (e.g. Guilds or Clans or Teams) that populate often one server of many, and each server is different from the others.
  3. Third, gaming, especially online gaming is something that does not have much social recognition. If you’re participating in a community of big trends, that’s alright. If you’re a gamer you’re either a total nerd, a potential killer, a 35 year old pizza eating pedophile that lives in mum’s garage or all of the above.

Gaming finds close to zero acceptance in western Europe. If you tell someone “I’ll go raid with my guild mates in my favorite game tonight” they’ll presume that you are a socially awkward stubborn loner.

That feeling is something our communities are burdened with all the time. They spend a lot of their free time for the hobby “gaming” just like others do for watching movies, juggling, reading, whatever. Just that all those other hobbies are something you can speak about with acquaintances.

“Wanna hang out tonight?”

“Nah, sorry, I’m seeing the midnight premiere of that new movie and have to finish some stuff before.”

“Well all right, Thursday maybe?”

vs.

“Wanna hang out tonight?”

“Nah, sorry, the new instance was just released and me and my clan want to save us the world first clear.”

“What? Are you telling me you rather sit in front of your computer alone than to hang out with me?”

Standing up for a hobby like that in a community makes community members very dedicated and sensitive.

So why am I writing that article?

To appreciate all the CMs I’m working with. And one in particular, who taught me never to give up and always try to empathize and engage with all gamers. Thanks Mel!

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