Free lessons in community management

by Todd

Despite having pretty important roles, the duties of community managers often outpace their pay scales and experience. Luckily there’s no shortage of bloggy wisdom, workshops, and conference sessions out there.

Of course, it takes time and effort to find and read those posts, not to mention time and money for training. If you’re short on all those but really want to see community management done right, you can get unlimited lessons for free, starting today.

The place you want to go is Twitch

And the thing you want to do is watch players with strong followings do their thing. In a nutshell, Twitch lets people live stream their video gameplay. Players are (usually) superimposed picture-in-picture style, and in addition to playing video games, carry on rich conversations with people watching.

When I first heard about that, I thought it sounded terrible, but it’s something that has to be seen to be understood. Jump into any stream with say 50+ followers, and you’re likely to see top notch community management happening in real time.

At the same time that they show gameplay and players, streaming screens are tricked out with stylized widgets to reflect community activity, show gratitude, and set the tone. A few samples captured from today make it easy to see how Twitch has given players a space to make their own, and a place for people to gather.

These free lessons will teach you

Players don’t just do this for love; there’s money in this for them. Community members frequently make, as far as I can see, unsolicited donations to show appreciation. Visit a few streams and you’re likely to see donation amounts from $10 to as high as $1,000. That’s real money for the love of it. That’s amazing community management!

Their language can be a bit raw (NSFW warning), and watching someone else play a game can be erratic. But seeing the interaction between players and fans is worth the effort. If you don’t like one person, try someone else. There are thousands, and many nurture their communities like pros, whether they know it or not.