Many people may think or assume that being a part of the community team is one of the easier, if not easiest aspects of a game development studio. Taking away the fact that all levels of difficulty are based on perspective, experience and gall; this couldn't be further from the truth. I'm here to shed a bit of light on what's exactly involved with this role...my role in particular.
05:30 - 06:00 : INITIAL CHECK
(Yes, I am up that early.) First things first, let's take a look at Facebook and Twitter and see what's being talked about by the fans. The most important role of the community team is to stir up interest, reel in fans/players and then keep their interest. This most certainly does not start after the game's release. This happens from day one of the project's inception. At this hour I'm scrolling through various posts on our page on Facebook, looking to see what has been liked and what's been commented on. I may scribble down a few notes for myself if necessary (and usually it is) before moving on. Since it's so early in the morning, I don't really rely too much on what I'm seeing at this point unless something very significant happened within the 5 hours I was asleep.
12:00 - 14:30 : BRAINSTORMING
Now that I've had time to get some food into my system and wake up my brain, it's time to put myself to work. Based on my studies from the previous day, any tasks assigned to me by our fearless leader or information provided by our amazing team I'm set to begin brainstorming. "What exactly", you might ask? Well herein lies why this role is so demanding. While members of the development team and those closely involved with the project are all excited about the finish product; those on the outside (fans) have no idea of what to expect. It's my responsibility to keep them informed, without giving them too much at once. For example, creating a pre-launch contest that may reward one or more winners with some sort of in-game bonus, or even tangible goodies (artwork books, posters, etc). These sort of marketing ploys draw in a community for the game and keep the interested without actually giving away the inner-secrets of the game itself.
16:00 - 16:30 : SECONDARY CHECK
With another business day coming to a close it's time to perform another check of the common social media. Making my way back to Facebook, Twitter and other sites I once more see what's trending in relation to the project. However, another more crucial step in my day is performed here. At this point I take a look to see what the population flow is. For example, when I check Facebook I look to see how many (new) "Likes" we have attained. More importantly, I check to see how many (if any) people have "Unliked" us. The same can be said for Twitter and followers.
16:30 - 17:30 : ANALYSIS
Given the traffic that social media websites experience I'd be lying to say that people are not constantly liking and unliking, and following and unfollowing. During this period, I focus on finding out why our population has shifted in whatever direction it has. If we've gained a dozen new followers I want to understand why. What did we do that was so amazing that twelve people found us worthy of following. Adversely, if we experienced a deficit of ten likes on Facebook my gears go into over-drive. While it's essential to understand what you've done good (why those individuals decided to like your page, or follow you); it's even more important to understand why fans change their mind and hop off the proverbial train. While Facebook offers various methods for businesses to understand the flow of users through their page I prefer a more direct approach. While some may consider personally messaging a fan to be tedious or even bothersome, I see a different angle. That potential player may just come rushing back to the community, if they feel they're not just another statistic. That someone actually took the time to message them, for a better understanding of why they lost interest. Our forums play a role here. In them I am able to indirectly speak to all of our fans, while they're able to speak directly back to myself (if they so choose) and others.
19:00 - 21:00 : TEAM TIME
Here's the portion of my day I look forward to the most; even though it may not happen daily. It's time to sit down with various members of the team(s) and see where we all stand. While I might actually be on the design team my ideas are never shunned. The same can be said in reverse. I thrive on hearing out (and possibly even implementing) ideas from the rest of the team. Oh, and you didn't hear it from me; but here's where the boss-man gets to crack the "whip" too.
21:00 - 23:00 : IMPLEMENTATION
I've had plenty of time in my day to jot down ideas and even hear out those from others. Now it's time to truly get to work. Whether it's something as simple and quick as tossing up a post on Facebook, a tweet or a post in the forum; or even something as time-consuming as working on a trailer of gameplay footage this is where I put a days worth of knowledge to use.
So, that's a day in the life of the Megaworld Studios community manager. If you still fail to see why this role is demanding and can make you connect forehead to desk at times I'll put it simply. While a programmer may only have to appease one person (the boss-man), a community manager has to appease...well...the number is infinite. If there are ten fans of the project, then there's eleven people he has to satisfy (if you include the boss). Whereas if there are 10,000 fans...well you get the point.