From my day to day community working with USC, I’ve learned that this is a concept that social workers, in their profession, are constantly talking about.
The idea of taking time for themselves and taking mental (and physical) breaks from their very serious jobs. And I keep drawing comparisons to the field of community management and burnout.
CMs tend to work some variation of 24/7 and aren’t the greatest about detaching when it comes to vacations (if we take them). Also, with the rate that social media platforms are being created, and falling into the bucket of what a community manager is expected to build community on, one can’t help but think that by adding a new platform to a community manager’s already crowded day, would be like adding 10-20 new phone lines for them to monitor if this were 20 years ago.
How many platforms can 1 community manager manage successfully? That’s also assuming that multiple platforms are right for the community/social strategy the company is attempting to create. How much work can we give one community manager?
Take a minute to read the very serious chat that took place….
Q1. Have any of you experienced community management/social media burnout feelings/platform fatigue?
There were 20 individuals who came out and said a definitive yes, while there were 2 who said they’ve never experienced fatigue. However there were many who said that they didn’t really burn out ever, but that they get annoyed, bored, etc. when it comes to new platforms. Or that they have to take significant breaks in order to avoid burning out.
AdamBritteI find that if I try a new platform, I get burned out/bored easily. Hard to make it stick.
debng Yes, but I think it had more to do with my personal online habits and not my job
catykoby If anything, it’s mostly just social media burnout. Not so much community
Q2. What are your burnout signs? How/When do you notice them?
Jmodio A short fuse, getting frustrated easily, tired, lack of patience
DavidSpinks You’re not inspired to tweet anymore.
debng Burnout signs – The biggest is lack of interest and not having anything to talk about
davidchris: burnout signs? I turn everything off 😉
mbhahn Anger, Frustration, Easily agitated, Tired.
momnonstop When my creativity comes up short and all I can think of for messages are “sale, sale, sale
cusecomm I notice burn out when I’m not able to communicate period even an e-mail, I just shut down. It’s a sign to step away
Tribe2point0 Lack of patience and lack of enthusiasm – then I know I need to breathe and get balanced
rhogroupee sign of Cmgr fatigue is loss of patience
jasonkonopinski : Struggling for content and conversation starter ideas.
JPedde Forgetting the basics. Forgetting to post. Not finishing tasks, uninspired. It happens to the best of us…
hillaryboucher I can’t think of anything to do besides stare at the screen. Sure fire sign I need to shake things up
musingvirtual physical fatigue or not eating is a sign i need a small break; serious burnout is often signaled by not wanting 2 post
SusanBCole when I’m in burn out mode, I focus on the problems instead of brainstorming solutions. Oh, woe is me!
shankell Also when you take negative posts too personally. If you’re at the brink of tears, step away from the computer…
Q3. How do you get away and clear your head when you feel overwhelmed, or the trolls are getting to you?
debng Unplug. Go for a walk. Take a vacation. Play with my son. Watch a movie. In other words, anything but work.
Dayngr Emergency chocolate. Seriously, step outside for fresh air & sunshine. It helps
catykobe By physically getting away… taking a walk around the block, or otherwise unplugging
QuirkyBean Lame but I actually have a ‘Happy List’ – 50 things to do to cheer myself up :p Pick one and get on with it
KellyLux I workout. I read a paper book. I cook. Anything that doesn’t involve a screen and other people
DouglasCrets Listen to skrillex, go running, do yoga, and I get in a plane and get to another country
vargasl I now have this written above monitor, “Is anyone dying?” – No? Walk away, do something to numb brain and come right back.
SunnyinSyracuse Oh, and I also take out stress in my baking (beating eggs/mixing dough/crushing cookies, etc)
Q4. Should you communicate these feelings to your boss? If not, why? If so, how?
catykobe I think it’s valid & a sign of a good employee to tell your boss when you’re feeling burnt out. They can help.
mbhahn If you are overwhelmed and its affecting your performance you might have to, but do so with caution
debng It depends on if the reasons for the burnout/unhappiness are his fault or mine
debng If it’s a matter of restructuring the personal time I spend online no. But if they’re slavedrivers, yes.
Jmodio You need to be careful, you don’t want to sound like you can’t handle the job
vargasl Don’t wait until you are in the thick of burnout to have that talk w/your boss – it is essential to talk abt cmty stress NOW
SunnyinSyracuse I’ve shared frustrations when I’ve come up with possible solutions to alleviate some of it.
KellyLux The best reason to share with your boss: talking about it usually helps you come up with your own solutions.
Dayngr absolutely. It may be a matter of streamlining a process or bring on more support. You don’t know until you speak up
Q5. What are your tips on sustaining enthusiasm for your community in the long-run?
catykobe If possible, work with a community that you have true interest in. Don’t CM a gaming community if you’re not into games.
AdamBritten IMO, if you aren’t passionate about your community every day, you’re in the wrong job.
SueOnTheWeb I think looking for the positives in the community, taking time to highlight good deeds/posts/ etc. Helps refocus ones passion
debng Visit other communities for inspiration, stay true to your passion, learn about the individual members of your community
KellyLux Connect offline as much as possible. Find out more about the people behind the avatars.
lttlewys Being able to just enjoy the people in ur community! heavily mixing offline with online, solidifying relationships
jewelfry Doing something creative offline inspires me to do the same online.