I have always wondered about the title “Community Manager” attached to those well-known names. These folks are often admirable in how they can rub elbows with the who’s who of certain industries and communities. I have always wondered, though, if communities needed managing at all. Are not communities supposed to be self-managing?
But then given the dynamics between and among individual community members, I have come to realize that communities need guidance in order to keep moving toward the right direction.
However, today we talk about a different kind of community than what many of us in the online realm are familiar with: an actual, physical community — one in which a person or family resides within.
My family moved to a new community last summer, and we thought this would be a good move for us. The place is near the kids’ schools, there are a lot of greens, and it is considered generally safe. All was well, until a few months into settling down. We came to discover that discord and deceit has been plaguing the community for some time now. In short: people were not in good terms with each other, for one reason or another.
For some, these have been due to deep-rooted misunderstandings and grudges that often manifest themselves in collaborative decision-making processes. For some, these are due to mishandling and mismanagement of the community’s resources. For some, these are due to personal differences — some people just don’t click.
This is a relatively young community, and we’re what one may consider newcomers — the new kids on the block. But here are a few observations, so far.
In a community, there’s always power play. While we would ideally want to have an equal or at least equitable treatment of community members, there will be some who will want to take control and keep it. Then there is the never-ending battle of wills among those that want to be at the top. There may be times of peace, in which level-headed and responsible members of the community will take control, but this is often short-lived.
There will always be rotten apples. And we know what these do, right? They tend to spoil the whole bunch. It’s a matter of containing the problematic members of a society, and not letting these spread their influence too much throughout the community at large.
In a community, you will find people who are surprisingly good. Yes, first impressions matter. But what matters even more is finding the reality behind those first impressions. You might find true friends — or at least true neighbors — in those whom you least expect to.
The whiners. In a community, there will always be those who whine about this and that. It’s great to offer constructive criticism. But whiners will just whine about, without actually contributing anything good to the community. These are needy people who always want to make their presence felt, but in loud and irrelevant ways.
Then there’s everybody else. There are just some people who don’t really give a damn — those who just go about with their business, quite oblivious to the fact that there’s a whole lot going on around them. There’s truly nothing wrong with being oblivious, but being apathetic is a different thing altogether.
This is my ideal, though: I’d rather just go on minding my own business, which I especially need, given that my time is precious.
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