Wednesdays 2-3pm EST – A Community for Community Managers

2/23 – Books March 2, 2011

Get ready because your list of books is about to get much longer.  This week we had a great discussion in 547 Tweets with 82 people about books and how they’ve helped our careers as community managers.  There are some great, topical titles that have crossed our desks over the past few years, and we all struggle with the time to find to read them, and how to implement their lessons in our daily lives.


We’ve created a Google Doc of the books discussed here.  Please feel free to add to it at any time. Thanks to Adam Britten!


AdamBritten: Just made a Google Doc for us to compile a reading list, please contribute! http://tinyurl.com/4nyvpgx



Q1. Before we get to specific books..how do you fit in time to read books? And do you prefer e-readers or paper books?

JamesVKautz: I read on the bus, which gives me 1.5 hrs each day. Still using paper, but starting to consider a Kindle.

mhandy1: e-reader all the way… most people watch TV.. cut that out read or ship instead

SocialMedBtrfly: If I can get through my Google reader stuff, I’m stoked, BUT I like the occasional brain-candy book on my iPad

JennaLanger: I’m a big fan of audio books, and still reading those old paper ones in bed 🙂 Might have more dig options if i had a table

jackieadkins: I’m still 100% paper books. I look at a computer most of the day, so it’s kind of nice to have an actual book instead.

ahvance: You can always make time to read, especially if it’s to help you be a more valuable #cmgr. Lunchbreaks, just before bed – in line!

pushingvision: I take books to places I’ll have to wait. (I read 1/2 of Unmarketing at hairdresser). I still prefer paper books

THO_R: I read books to keep my skills current during my job hunt, usually before bed, sometimes as a break from screens

JPedde: Would be great if publishers/sellers bundled. I want a PDF for on the go, book for around the house/shelf

KellyLux: Interesting how many #CMs like paper books…apparently due to the amount of time we spend in front of a screen.

jackieadkins: I do think digital books have a lot of room for advancement that could convince me to read that way more often…


Q2. What books have you read in the last 6 mos. that you would HIGHLY recommend?

JamesVKautz: Enjoyed Unmarketing, but moreso Trust Agents. Both vital reads for a cmgr.

AdamBritten: Definitely ‘Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World’ by @petershankman.

AskTim: Non-fiction: The Big Short by Michael Lewis. 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris.

mhandy1: “Linchpin” was also awesome, so was “switch”, I always swear by :made to stick”

evanhamilton: I re-read this so damn often: Made to Stick. GET THIS BOOK. Your ability to write convincingly will increase tenfold.

scottcowley: Just finished “Influence” by Cialdini. Studying human behavior is the best foundation for social media. Awesome book.

Fisherish: I just finish reading Enterprise Social Technology, not yr normall twitter, fb book  http://amzn.to/gq7Uen

evanhamilton: Also, the Zappos book is great and if you do/want to do public speaking, Confessions of a Public Speaker is very useful.

JennaLanger: I’ve been working through Keith Ferrazzi’s books…while it seems like a lot of common sense, it’s good biz dev advice

RachelYeomans: The Chaos Scenario is one worth reading – state of the media & new media – a bit ego-centric but the point comes across

JPedde: I really liked “Success Secrets of the Social Media Marketing Superstars” Lots of short stories by “the greats”

mhandy1: Graceonmics is a book i really enjoyed, some good philosophies for Social Media http://amzn.to/hQfCeJ

Fisherish: not a #SM book but #REWORK is highly recommended reading for any1 in web 2.0

AskTim: I have Freakonomics on my to-read list. I also want to read one titled Poplorica, which I think deals with fads and fashions.


Q3: How do you balance reading books for fun vs. books for work? What’s the next book you’re going to read?

KellyLux: 1st I have to find the time to read ANY book. But I want to read ‘Life’ by Keith Richards.

jackieadkins: I typically have one “fun” and one “biz” book going at the same time. I read fun ones much quicker.

greghollings: I tend to refer to sections of “work” books at any given time. Brian Solis’ Engage is next on my list

pushingvision: Even when I read things “for work” they’re also for me. I’m always reading something.

JennaLanger: Now we’re talking…time to check 7books.com via @_brittastick & goodreads.com via @sue_anne,


Q4: What are some of the lessons from books you’ve adapted to real life situations?

RachelYeomans: From the book ‘Power of Small’ – the importance of the phrase “Thank you!”

pushingvision: Analyzing coworkers based on their desks, ala Snoop. 😉

mhandy1: The entire foundation for Social Media research I use daily is built from Groundswell and Click.

JamesVKautz: From “Switch” I’ve applied a lot of methods to motivate elephants.

jackieadkins: From ‘The Art of War’: I learned how to literally crush your competition 🙂

jackieadkins: From ‘The Big Short’ I learned inefficiencies in an industry present opportunity for those smart enough to recognize them


Q5: Post a pic of your ‘book pile’ if you have one nearby

JPedde: Book “pile” 1 of 3 #cmgrchat http://twitpic.com/42zuvm

evanhamilton: My crazy book pile on my crazy desk. 🙂 http://bit.ly/fnT4bJ

pushingvision:I combined 2 piles, but have another shelf here at work. I have about 8 full bookshelves at home. http://twitpic.com/42zw06

AskTim: Book pile 1 #cmgrchat #TwitPict http://twitpic.com/4301wi Book pile 2 #cmgrchat #TwitPict http://twitpic.com/43023x

JamieXML: If I only get one community mgmt book, it’s Art of Community http://www.jonobacon.org/ http://twitpic.com/430b0o


Thanks to all who participated! If you would like to see the entire transcript, please click here. Make sure to come back to #cmgrchat every Wednesday from 2-3pm EST for more chats!

If you have any ideas or suggestions for future topics, leave comments or get in touch with either Jenn or Kelly!


2/2/11 – Health & Wellness February 3, 2011

We had a pretty great chat this week about a community manager’s health & wellness routine.  A lot of us spend an absurd amount of time in front of the computer and sitting on our butts and are always connected.  We work crazy hours, and we eat bad foods because we’re always on the go – and all of that is a recipe for disaster.   We’re into the second month of the new year and while we’re way past resolutions, it’s good to keep going on the health front all year long.

Or Maybe we should all buy these: http://bit.ly/gP3TRP Exercise office chairs.  Or these? http://bit.ly/f0RlUp


**Before I go on with the tweets, I would like to point out that this chat has been an amazing place for community managers to come and talk about their experiences and share their opinions on what makes them good at their jobs.  Since its beginning in September, it has always been a pretty positive, funny place to be in for an hour a week, and there’s even the occasional snarky, sarcastic moment.    However – last week we had an instance of some negativity amongst two people and one person felt a little like this wasn’t a safe place and felt that they needed to leave the chat.    I’m happy to say that I’ve been in touch with both of the people involved and it ended well with apologies and thank yous all around.

I just want to make it clear though – Kelly and I don’t tolerate negativity.  We’re all out to help each other, network, and have a great time in this one hour chat.  Please don’t abuse it and make others feel as though they don’t belong.  Remember – community isn’t just something you do at your job, it’s something we take pride in 24 hours a day be it personally or professionally.


Q1) Since becoming a community manager have you managed to keep the same physical fitness routine?

digitalmention: Absolutely! I workout 4-6 days/week. But I’m smarter now about time – in & out in 1 hour. Intensity!

vargasl: Yes. I am a creature of routine. I do everything in the morning b/c day chgs at rapid pace. Elliptical & yoga every other day.

JennaLanger: Blocking off time is hard for me. I feel like I need at least 90 minutes to workout and shower, hard to fit in

katieblaine: Getting exercise clears the mind, helps you become more focused, have better ideas, feel good and you will be HAPPIER 🙂

elysa: I’d say fitness depends on in/out of office worker AND personality. I’ve done fairly good job keeping up with going to gym.

TeresaBasich: Part of struggle is my location and attachment to my gym. Including driving, showering, all that, takes 2-3 hours to work out.

tgrevatt: Switching off & getting to workout is made trickier by winter, gym fees etc. I use frnds on SM as motivators.

vargasl: I read a biz book on nook while on elliptical…working, but not “on.”


Q2: Does your schedule allow to take classes or join sports teams? Do you schedule in unwinding/disconnecting?

vargasl: No, I don’t have gym membership or take classes b/c of schedule. Travel too much. 😦

gilmoreglobal: Schedule could allow it but my addiction to my BlackBerry and Twitter interfere! 🙂

Triplyksis: I HAVE to schedule unwinding/disconnecting time or I won’t stop working in time to do it.

digitalmention: I don’t take any “official” classes or sports teams bc I don’t want to over commit. That’s also a part of health!


Q3) What do you do when you’re sick? Can you really take the day off?

AdamBritten: My last internship (which dealt with SM) allowed me to work from home when I was sick. Very convenient!

Triplyksis: It’s WFH=Work From Home. There are no days off or sick days. 😉

JamesVKautz: If I’m sick enough not to work, the community can tick on without me for a day. But I’d at least post a heads-up somewhere.

digitalmention: Sad, but no. I listen to my body, though. When I’m truly “out,” I rest – work – rest – work, etc.

SunnyinSyracuse: A student I know has 2 herniated discs from sitting too long at a desk (for seriously long hours)…core muscles were too weak!

AskTim: *Can* I? Sure I have almost 10 weeks of unused sick time. *Do* I? Not so much. Need to get over that.

rontoledo: On sick days I usually end up still working, just at home. With @loladogg on my lap.

JennaLanger: When you’re sick, stay home so you don’t get others sick! I’m still checking email and delegating though

rhogroupee: Last year, we gave everyone unlimited paid leave…haven’t looked back!

JPedde: If I’m sick & am able to think straight, I’ll work from home. If I’m on death’s door, all I’ll do is sleep & no work. Know limits


Q4. Have you noticed any ill effects from being constantly plugged in? (ie I have twitter dreams all the time)

JessicaRMurray: A few tips on Carpal Tunnel prevention. http://ow.ly/3P5Ta I have to pick up these wrist things too

JPedde: Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and want to check for @’s on my phone. (#addiction)

KellyLux: Yes, I wake up earlier and look at my phone..and go to bed later..because I can’t put it down…

SocialMedBtrfly: I fall asleep with my iPad by my side – scared I’ll roll over on it and Tweet accidentally


Q5. What are some things you’ll start doing better JUST FOR YOU after today’s little chat?

AdamBritten: Maybe I’ll put my phone away when I’m at the gym…maybe.

TeresaBasich: It’s up to us to constantly reinforce that need to sign off. All comes back to boundaries.

vargasl: I have to schedule time just for me and keep that time holy. To do something not related to work.

SocialMedBtrfly: I’m going to remember the European way – work to live, not live to work, & set expectations w/ managers 4 balance

pushingvision: I’m going to set reminders in my calendar to take a break — and eat lunch. Did it before and it worked, not sure why I stopped…


Thanks to all who participated! If you would like to see the entire transcript, please click here. Make sure to come back to #cmgrchat every Wednesday from 2-3pm EST for more chats!

If you have any ideas or suggestions for future topics, leave comments or get in touch with either Jenn or Kelly!

Q2) Does your schedule allow to take classes or join sports teams? Do you schedule in unwinding/disconnecting?

12/1 – Taking Time Away from the Community December 9, 2010

We are all married to our jobs as community managers and that’s part of the fun!  We like being connected and involved with our work, but every so often we like to take breaks, go on vacations, or leave for the holidays.  We had a pretty great discussion Wednesday with 670 tweets and 87 participants, all about some of the best practices when leaving the nest just for a bit.

Bonus: The Community Roundtable posted this about Nutella taking the summer off. 

Also make sure to follow the @CmgrChat Twitter Account and join the Linked In group as well (Link on the right side of the screen)!


Q1) What’s the time off structure like at your company?

jvkautz: I accrue 2 weeks per year and can’t take ’em before I earn ’em

AskTim: I accrue 1.25 vaca days per month, plus floating holidays, personal days, & our summer day program

JennaLanger: What’s time off? 😉 We’re fairly flexible as long as we stay connected. Setting up shifts for handling support issues

kerimorgret: I’m able to telecommute two days a week.

BrianneVillano: 3 weeks vacation (can roll over 40 hours starting last week in December), 1 flex day, 5 days sick, 10.5 holidays

MikeFraietta: 4 Four weeks should be minimum if you want to keep your staff more than a year. I’ve never had less at 3 startups I worked for.


Q2) How have you handled leaving your community for various stretches of time?

cochinealred: Longest I have left the community for was 5 days. Updated occassionally as I was able.

SueOnTheWeb: How have you handled leaving your community for various stretches of time? – I’m on 24/7 so never experienced that.

muruganpandian: Or you can scale down your participation and also let the community know that you are on vacation.

rhogroupee: Online community is like a small child, you can never really leave it unattended 🙂

BrianneVillano: Planning ahead and then enjoying the time I have off. Disconnecting is a necessity in the age of information overload.


Q3.How do you prepare to take time off? Schedule tweets/posts? Prepare your community for your departure?

JennaLanger: I make a to do list of things I need to take care of before I leave, and things I need to follow up with when I get back

Mitch_M: Blogs are written way in advance,and automatically post to Twitter. Otherwise, just make sure to check in at least once a day

greghollings: We have a handover process which each CM must go through before leaving on holiday. Includes scheduled content

Arrakiv: I work solo on community. Prepare content ahead of time, let the community know I’m off – smaller community though


Q4. So, say you actually do take time *off* & have a backup. Are you still checking? How? What if no wifi or other access?

SueOnTheWeb: Yes gotta love my iphone. Even manage to put out cmty fires whilst sitting on a ski lift 😀

LvM: If you love your company and job, it’s fun to semi-monitor when off. It’s a part of your lifestyle.

ericfoster: I also utilize my members to keep me updated on mood of community while Im away.

aleveland: Usually out of country so probably not checking in much!

luciagia: I usually check at least 1x a day. If I don’t have internet, its not for long. I always seem to find my way to one somehow 🙂


Thanks to all who participated! If you would like to see the entire transcript, please click here. Make sure to come back to #cmgrchat every Wednesday from 2-3pm EST for more chats!

If you have any ideas or suggestions for future topics, leave comments or get in touch with either Jenn or Kelly!


The First #CmgrChat Digest – 9/8/10 (Time Mgmt) September 12, 2010

Filed under: Weekly Digests — jpedde @ 9:55 pm
Tags: , , , ,

David Spinks put it the best when he said this week:

“So many community managers…what took us so damn long to start a twitter chat? It’s like…what we do.”

And it’s true – this started as an idea last month and Kelly and I both thought someone somewhere would come out and say, “Don’t worry about it, there already is one.”  For our first community chat neither of us knew what exactly to expect, and it couldn’t have gone any better.

The first topic was “Time Management” with 761 tweets and 88 contributors.  Without any further ado, here’s the overall digest of the chat, but don’t forget to check out the full transcript on wthashtag.com. Also, thanks to the fantastic Kate Buck Jr, if you would like to follow any or all of the chat participants, please check out this tweepml group that was made.

Q1: What tips/tricks/tools have you found useful in managing time?

JennaLanger: I’m pretty bad at consistently using tools, but I use simple things like Google Tasks to keep my priorities in order

TeresaBasich:Things (task mgmt software), Google calendar, and and the timer on my phone.

DavidSpinks: Twitter is great for managing time. I manage it right until 5pm when I start doing my work.

bcromlish: I use Outlook 2010, I find it works great

jimstorer: When I get online in the evening I don’t plug in my power cord and use my battery as a limitation on how late I work.

Draddog: Really good spreadsheets with every day ‘s events detailed.

mongoosemetrics: Shared calendars in Microsoft Outlet increase productivity for me.

Buggheart: I also block out time on my calendar to get things done (hopefully) undisturbed

KellyLux: One of my fav little tools is Hootsuite’s hootlet bookmarklet http://ow.ly/2BhSf

blaisegv: Big fan of @producteev for todo list management, great for team motivation with achievement leaderboard

heidianspaugh: I just use good old-fashioned post-it notes with To-Do lists!

elysa: I am a huge fangirl of @rememberthemilk for organizing tasks. I have iPhone app and use web tools also

DavidSpinks: You can use tweetalerts to notify you when you’re mentioned on twitter. So you don’t have to check it all day.

@JPedde: I have one giant excel file called “Social Media Main”–tabs keeping track of all blogs, numbers, etc.

KellyLux: I just created a huge whiteboard calendar with all my upcoming events, chats, posts, etc. & it’s color-coded for my communities

DavidSpinks: I use http://tweetbeep.com/ to get tweet alerts.

Q2: What tasks have you found to be timewasters and have abandoned?

krusk: I’ve stopped trying to do ALL the company blogging, now spend time encouraging employees to blog

AnnaOBrien: Biggest timewaster is reading every single brand mention out there. Sure it’s insightful, but it’s not maintainable

ryanshell: Negative comment policy is crucial. At some point u have to stop going round and round. When & how should b addressed.

Draddog: That’s easy – fighting with trolls. If you can’t turn them into good community citizens, best to leave them alone 😉

jdross: Time waster? Obsessing over things you’ll never be able to change/correct. As long as you move positive messages, don’t stress.

bbenishek:Possibly handling/interpreting metrics, but only b/c that takes dedicated time I don’t always have.

TeresaBasich: Unnecessary meetings/conference calls. Ditched those nice and quick

DavidSpinks: Twitter chats.

40deuce: I find sorting through what’s relevant and not in the blogosphere to waste a lot of my time. I work in SM and theres so much stuff

KellyLux: Finally realized that a blog post is not a short novel. What a relief!

jimstorer: Trying to solve problems via email. Picking up the phone (while so old school) is often the fastest route to a solution.

Q2.5 – What tasks are essential for managing time?

pushingvision: Setting time limits. And sticking to them.

Draddog: Schedule, schedule, plan, schedule and schedule some more. The better your schedule is the smoother things might go.

Q3 How much time do you spend managing projects v. managing your community?

Draddog: CMs should spend most of their time on community. Projects won’t count without the community.

jdross: Right now, more time on projects than community, only because we’re launching a new website. Hope to work more on community soon.

heidianspaugh:Good God, managing projects so I actually have time to manage the community is the BIGGEST challenge! Esp. when leading a team

writeonglass: The community comes first. Always. My team understands that, which is why I love being a part of it

KellyLux: I was spending more time in meetings than ‘in’ my communities. Now I block out 1 day/wk in office w/no mtgs & 1 remote day.

DavidSpinks: I’m in a unique role. I’d say 75% managing projects and 25% community.

AnnaOBrien: I think comm anagement and progect management goes hand in hand. I am always thinking, how does this project build my comm?

JPedde: It feels like I have all projects to manage and no real time for community. No interns, no team. It’s tough.

SueOnTheWeb: A lot of my time is spent supporting our volunteer moderators.

kmithani: It seems like my projects and community overlap and I end up handling both at the same time.

blaisegv: The communities are my project – spend most of my time on universal strategy, dipping into specific community teams to guide.

JPedde: I try and separate my day with community stuff in the morning, projects in the afternoon, while keeping an eye on comm stuff

Toby_Metcalf: My team and I split time in our forums so we can work on projects and manage the community

Q4. Do you have rules concerning downtime? Are you ever ‘off-the-grid’?

LvM: I may check Twitter, etc periodically after work hours. Will only respond if I have time or it’s a fire. Rest can wait.

40deuce: Of course there’s a needed downtime, but sometimes it’s hard when you deal worldwide

Draddog: You *have* to be off-line. You cant run the community 24/7. Use volunteer mods to alert you after hours/weekends.

bbenishek: Maybe b/c this is a contract job, but my workday definitely ends–though I don’t stop thinking about it.

40deuce: I turn my phone notifier off for when I sleep. No working while sleeping #HardRule

jdross: Only one here who does this, so I can’t be off-the-grid yet. Even on recent vacation, I monitored, but scaled back participation.

SueOnTheWeb: No I am never off the grid. I am less active during downtime, but always around for mods/members and check email/cmty 24/7

writeonglass: I try to take some time for myself on weekends tho. Usually Sunday afternoon is a no tech time. It only lasts a few hours tho

KellyLux: I often work after hrs participating in chats (!), holding tweetups, mting w/SM colleagues. That’s when I’m not home on my laptop!

JPedde: I like to go on vacation 1000s of miles away and unplug. Unfortunately that happens about twice a year.

JennaLanger: It’s really hard to go off the grid. I constantly check my e-mail but only respond if it’s time sensitive. No balance yet

KellyLux: I think if we all went ‘off-the-grid’ at the same time, Twitter might go dark

DavidSpinks: Your company will not crumble to the ground if you’re not tweeting or an email waits until the morning.

ValentineLuLu: Getting outside once a week (optional outdoor activity day, hiking, etc.) means I have no choice but to unplug.

kmithani: I think our passion makes us never stay “off the grid” because we love what we do so much

JPedde: Sometimes I think it’s all or nothing, and hard to tell if that comes from internal or external pressures.

AnnaOBrien: It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. You should know that when you sign up to take on this responsibility.

Thanks to all who participated!  Make sure to come back to #cmgrchat every Wednesday from 2-3pm EST for more chats – and if you have any ideas or suggestions for future topics, leave comments or get in touch with myself or Kelly!