Social Media, Super Bowl Edition: Be a Community Quarterback

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Now is the time of year when thoughts turn to matters of the heart – and no, I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day.

I’m talking about the Super Bowl, where we see the heart of a champion. And Super Bowl parties, where we see lots of heartburn from eating foods even Paula Dean would consider out of bounds.

So in the spirit of good sport – and to distract me from the fact that I’ll never win the office betting pool – I’d like to rethink the phrase “social media community manager.”

Although intent and execution are up to the individual and can transcend a word’s definition, words still matter. And the word “manager” in a social context is flawed.

“Manager” refers to someone who “controls” or “manipulates.” It conjures feelings of authority and distance. You can “manage” something without being truly involved or invested in what you are managing.

We don’t need Community Managers. We need Quarterbacks.

A Quarterback’s job is to get the ball to his teammates and let them get into the end zone. You can call your own number sometimes too — just don’t be a ball hog. Get everyone involved, and as you understand your players better, the whole team will succeed.

A Quarterback’s relationship with the team is rooted in and built on trust. The team trusts that the Quarterback will call the right plays, and in return for that trust, the team will protect the Quarterback from getting sacked.

Social media is a team sport. You can’t bark orders or call plays from the booth, you need to be on the field with your teammates – listening to them, working with them, going to battle and supporting each other in a common purpose.

Don’t be a manager, be a leader. Be a Quarterback.

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