A community manager (Kaesse suggested the word) is a new form of communicator who could be defined as a manager or facilitator of online social networks. He or she is the second generation (2.0) version of the webmaster. More specifically, a community manager is responsible for “managing” discussions on the Twitter account, Facebook Fanpage, blog or website of the brand he represents. Managing, in this case, means becoming involved in virtual conversations and moderating them, in other words deciding what to publish and what to censor: anything offensive or pornographic, or commercial messages posted by internet users. The aim is clear: to generate as much “talk” about the brand among the internet community, or rather communities, as possible, preferably favourable. To do this, the community manager can make things happen that create a buzz on the web. A good community manager must devote part of his or her time to monitoring the web, finding out who is talking about his brand and how, on what websites, blogs and forums, so as to be able to take part in those discussions himself. The community manager should not be confused with a webmaster, who is of longer standing in the sense that the role was around before, and whose job is to create content for the brand’s websites and blogs by filling and updating the web pages. Both are examples of digital natives, or in any event they need to be steeped in internet culture and know how to draft content, but there the resemblance ends. A webmaster might have the profile of an absolute geek, to the point of being asocial, but the essential hallmark of a community manager is his or her remarkable capacities as a communicator. As well as marketing expertise and creative gifts.
A community manager in Europe earns between 40 and 50 000 euros a year, which is not bad for someone who is, typically, young (they are mostly under 30), though it’s not exactly in the hedge fund manager league either, and as a career, it is not without risk. But with all the webmasters, curators and community managers out there, maybe the image of the internet as the destroyer of jobs will finally start to change.