Privacy and Community

Today is my Birthday and some of my community members congratulated.

This brings me to one question we had several discussions about in the team.

What should you share with your community and what should be private?

I think that, in most cases, what should be public includes:

  • your full real name
  • a real picture of you
  • some basic info like music you listen to, pets you have, your education, etc.

So I’d say info about you, that every community Manager should feel constrained to share is

  • what your Community shares with you (in the publicity of the Community)
  • what you would share with an acquaintance (e.g. a person you meet often at some place you like to go)

Of course nobody should ask you to share the story of your life and I would not recommend it anyway (unless of course you are working for a community which exchanges their lifes stories), but your real name? Of course, the community is giving you their real names via Facebook etc. every day.

This “sharing private things” is what makes is so important that a Community Manager is fitting for the product/brand/whatever he’s working for, that he is himself a part of the target group or close to it (just imagine a thirthy five year old metalhead as CM for a Teenage Karaoke Community) and – that he can trust the company he’s working for.

If the companys culture is not fitting for the CM, it will not end well.

If the company is not backing up the CM, especially when it comes to legal issues, such as harrasment, cyber mobbing, even stalking (what all  can happen and might get more likely with every private info you give), the CM should get his bag packed and leave.

So to make it short, requirements to be able to share personal info:

  • self-esteem
  • trust in the community
  • trust from and in the company

What do you think?


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