I've been a community manager for over seven years now, though everything up to the last month has been with media websites such as Stratics, Vault and Allakhazam. Right now I feel I am at the point where I've near completed that long reach to the top of the roller coaster ride, only to soon entering into the incredible twists and turns that I will undoubtedly experience on the ride.
Stepping back a little bit on my journey, I want to explain the reason I am currently a community manager in the game industry and what decisions I made that ultimately brought me here, or at least the decisions that fate selected for me, if you prefer to think of things that way.
Years ago I had a job as a security guard at a paper mill. Every day I would walk the mill and then process truck applications at the security guard shack and associated office locations. There wasn't much to the job other than walking around and ensuring things were in their proper order. I can only count three or four instances that were out of the ordinary in any significant way.
After awhile I seriously began to think about my future. Don't we all do this from time-to-time? I took a good hard look at where I was going, and quite frankly that was nowhere. I had a concern that I would look back on my life and not have done anything extraordinary. I kept wanting to grow as a person and I couldn't do that in any capacity at the security job (except perhaps for weight from the lack of exercise). I had to get a degree and start something that had a future.
I started bringing my laptop so I could explore the Internet between my security security duties. I started to help out in various game forums and do general customer service related things. Most of this was on the Stratics Network in the beginning. A few months went by, where I then decided to apply for a news reporter position at the EverQuest 2 portal. I was accepted. After that, I worked to finish my college degree and look for further interests in community projects.
While working online I moved on to other jobs, some very prominent ones at places like the postal service. The few I took ended up bringing me back to the question of where I wanted to be in the future. Each time I thought about it my mind gravitated back to the game industry and my interests in community management. I started to get what my mind was trying to tell me. I was a community manager and I loved working with the community. It was as simple as that.
Still, it wasn't enough. At this time I hadn't journeyed out of the United States. I needed to explore the world and really understand where my place was in it. I figured I could only do that in the true extreme, by literally going to the other side of the world. A few days or even a month wasn't enough though, so I decided to take a year and go to China to teach English. It was an experience I will never forget. An experience that has changed me forever and set me on a course that ended up bringing me to the career I ultimately wanted; being a community manager.
Now, for what it is like to really be a community manager. I knew the job title was very broad and could mean a lot of different responsibilities between companies. I also already knew that my current position would be a lot different than the media responsibilities I had earlier. There are more challenges, but also more excitement and opportunities. I am now the lead of a community, instead of simply being a supportive part of one.
What will I say six or more months down the road? Those seasoned in the position will probably know exactly what I will be writing about in this blog at that time. But until then I am loving every minute as I learn new things. It is exciting being able to bring together a community that is looking forward to there next game experience. It is a humble experience being in a role that not too long ago I admired and hoped I would someday achieve.