I have been asking several international gurus about the changes in Community management since they started in this business 10 years ago, when I met them all.
THE ANSWER Blaise Glimes Viort from eModeration (original text and exclusive for this blog ):
The Community Management industry has certainly changed a lot in the ten years I have worked within it. eModeration (for whom I am Head of Community and Social Media) also celebrated its tenth birthday this year and this gave cause for thinking about how our work has embraced the boom of Social Media.
The biggest change for me is that the role of the Community Manager has gained tremendously in importance and recognition, and is now seen as a key and distinct social media role. However the downside of this is that the title is given to roles which share little relevance to the task of online community building, but rather is a bit of a catch-all term to define someone who "talks to customers via social media", which is not the same.
When I started out most community roles were about listening and helping customers around your product or service, whereas we see a more broadcast approach now, which is partly enforced by the communicative limitations of the social network platforms used. Social networks in my mind should always supplement engagement initiatives and relationship building managed in the brand's own digital space.
Hopefully now Community Managers have more of a say and influence within organisations, we can promote the idea of a more transparent company, developing a sense of ownership on the part of its community.