The Power of Community Manager Appreciation Day (CMAD)

In 2010, Jeremiah Owyang started CMAD to “pause, recognize, and celebrate the efforts community managers around the world to improve customer experiences.” What most people don’t realize is the bigger picture Owyang saw in doing so: “This isn’t just about a single role, but a bigger trend of making product and services more efficient, and thereby our world a little bit more efficient and sustainable.”

Let’s set aside the ongoing debate of what is or isn’t “Community Management.” Is social media a community platform? Are forums dying? None of this matters. What matters is that together we can help the world connect, communicate and collaborate.

This is community.

Connect

Over the past three years, 56 community professionals have shared their stories on the CMAD hub. This doesn’t include the countless others who have shared their stories on other websites and the Why I Social podcast. The more I read and listen to them, the more I’m convinced there’s no “standard” way of entering the community industry, despite us all feeling like the oddball for our own paths. Connecting with each other, helps us feel not alone, which makes us stronger.

The true power of CMAD is that it is a day that the community of community managers come together. Each year we hear familiar stories: “I never knew I was a community manager until today” and “I never knew there were so many of us.”
—Jonathan Brewer “Brew”, Director of Awesome at BTC Revolutions

I loved seeing the specific shout outs to community managers from one another and from the brands and organizations they support. Appreciation in general is a beautiful thing but seeing names and specific reasons for the gratitude was really fun. It made me proud to call myself a community manager and it grew my respect for my peers.
—Christin Kardos, Community Manager at Convince and Convert

In addition to connecting online around the hashtags on CMAD, there were at least eight different face-to-face CMAD meetups, that we were aware of, connecting community professionals in Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Boston, Jyväskylä (Finland), Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, Tokyo (Japan) and Washington D.C. These industry connections are invaluable as learning with someone else who does what you is essential for professional growth.

Communicate

Someone recently told me they thought CMAD stood for Community Manager Awareness Day. Honestly, this is what the day means to me, and also why it’s so empowering for our industry.

If you can’t easily explain what it is you do and why it matters, you can’t expect anyone else to understand your value: internally or externally. In university, my design professor once pointed out to us that if we accept substandard pay for our work, it lowers the pay for everyone in the design industry. The same is true in community. Telling someone “I just tweet for a living,” even in a joking manner, or accepting low compensation, not only hurts you, it hurts all of us. 

Throughout the year, community related organizations work together to help bring awareness to what it is we do. For example, The Community Roundtable’s State of Community Management survey is essential as they help to spread awareness around what it is we do and what fair pay is for our skill-set and services.

CMAD is our chance to make a big splash in the world on one day, in a manner difficult to ignore.

According to Zoomph analytics, this year there were 15.7K posts shared across Twitter, Instagram and Google+ watching the tags #CMAD, #CMADSelfie, #CMADfi, #CMAD2016 with a social reach of 79.7M. These posts were created by 5.1K unique authors and reached 10.6M people, engaging 7.7K of them.

For seven years, recognition and celebrations have grown. Each year we see more and more brands supporting the day.
—Jonathan Brewer “Brew”, Director of Awesome at BTC Revolutions

The beauty of all these brands getting involved in CMAD is that more and more companies are listening to us share what we do and becoming familiar with the role and with our value. It’s essential to bring a broader understanding to the world while we continue to advocate for ourselves on an individual basis.

Collaborate

“What’s your favorite thing about CMAD?” is a frequently asked question. For me, it’s seeing so many international community professionals come together to create essentially a knowledge hackathon to move our entire industry forward.

Collaboration on Community Manager Appreciation Day goes so much further than the CMAD broadcast; however, in 24 hours on January 25, 2016, we combined forces with 109 organizers and panelists from 17 different countries (Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States) to produce 23 videos across various topics related to community building.

We were able to cover topics from employee advocacy, self care and live streaming to storytelling, events and volunteers, adding to the already existing catalog of 59 panels from previous CMAD broadcasts and 198 #CMGRHangout episodes.

For me personally, these episodes are a large part of my community education and the source of many great friendships and mentors throughout the past few years. Being a part of something bigger than yourself is a feeling you get from nothing else.

Big thanks to all of the community managers and supporters who took part this year. I am already excited for 2017!
—Christin Kardos, Community Manager at Convince and Convert

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who was a part of this day.

Being a community professional is all about elevating, empowering and connecting your community members. It’s not about you, and it’s not about me, it’s about we.

Bringing together everyone who understands the concept of we?

This is the power of CMAD.

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About the author

Sherrie is the Community Manager for Magento, connecting the community with resources and with each other. She also co-produces a weekly broadcast for community professionals called #CMGRHangout. Sherrie is an ENFP, passionate about community, innovation and user experience, terrified of status quo and motivated by adventure. Reach out on Twitter at @sherrierohde. 

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