A community of technology community managers, leaders, and builders.

Alternative title to "Community Manager"?


I am at the moment Community Manager at an open source software editor. I manage 120000 regular users on a dedicated Q&A (forum), I am in charge of relationship with other open source communities like Eclipse foundation or OW2. I also manage one of our blog. And I write the specification of our community website, that we have shared as a Drupal distribution (GroupMind)

At the moment, I feel that “Community Manager” is not anymore the right title for what I do. I don’t really manage Facebook pages or brand on social networks, like many B2C community managers do. It is becoming a very common job title with no real responsibility, particularly for those in marketing agencies.

So, I am looking for an alternative title like, but can’t find something good. Senior Community Manager ? Open Source Community Manager ? find another word than manager ?

What do you think ? Do you have other ideas ?

“Community Manager” doesn’t really have a hard-and-fast definition. I’ve found it varies SO MUCH from company to company. But maybe other titles you can explore would be something like “Director of Community” (doesn’t that sound fancy?) or “Community Specialist”. I also like Open Source Community Manager - sounds a little more all-inclusive. Good luck in finding a prefect title! :slight_smile:

Personally I dont like the “Manager” part myself and tend to use “Community Advocate”, since all these aspects of work are often about advocating user and community needs to a company or organization. You could also use “Community Leader” maybe… or “Cat Herder” … titles should not mean too much imho anyway.

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If your community members are contributing to your product, and part of your job is planning, coordinating, and measuring those contributions, then “Manager” is accurate.

I’ve just taken a full-time job with a company that sells a web service (yay remuneration) and I’m using the working title of “Senior Developer Advocate”. I take this as bi-directional: I represent the product to external developers, but I also represent the needs of the external developers to our development teams. Make sense? S

“Advocate” is a good title when your community is only consuming your product, not helping build it. I still like “Manager” better when the community is contributing to it in the same way employees are.

Another option is “Community Architect”. Imagine you’re building a framework of experiences or channels for your Community.

I agree that “Community Manager” is an extremely broad title. I’ve personally been concerned about the tech industry salary split that sometimes happens when “Community Managers” are paid far less than “Developer Advocates” who are doing identical work (again, often they’re doing different work, etc etc, it varies.) - because one title brings to mind over-valued engineering work and the other brings to mind under-valued community or marketing work. That said, it’s a larger industry problem, not a title problem.

Note: My current title is Senior Community Manager (since I know it’s one you’re considering!)


Even if “Manager” is an accurate description, I would tend to avoid it since it has (imho) negative associations in the tech world.

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I changed my title to community evangelist. But I also like community architect as @Kara recommends. Another option that might work is Community Relations.

Hello All,

I’m Matt, your friendly neighborhood Community Manager Stalker / Headhunter.

Ugh … try recruiting for one of these positions. Some people think that just because they were a coffee shop manager and now they poke around in code in their mom’s basement and have a twitter handle that they can call themselves “Community” managers. It’s kinda like the crowd that call themselves code “ninjas”. While I don’t discourage ambition and encourage people to be confident in themselves, its a bit of a snafu to filter out the noise. These are the growing pains we all experience with something new, and Community Manager is a relatively new vertical. There are few effective filters when trying to conduct a search. Focusing just on mass media (that you have no idea if anyone is actually reading) is not what true Community management is all about. There are the funding partners, the developers, the conferences, etc. Personally, I think Developer Advocate is a more technical description to separate those who lean towards the developers and engineering, and Event Manager for those who lean towards …well, events. In any case, don’t get hung on being called “Director”, “Manager”, “VP”, or whatever. Just focus on doing good work and people will recognize you for it. I would help out a “Manager” of a Community of 100k sooner than I would help out a “VP” of a Community of 3. A few helpful keywords (skip the fluff) in your public profiles specific to your community ( like Open Source, SDN, etc. ) and activities (Speaker at OSCON, LinuxCon, etc.) will help you get recognized by those who count when the time comes.

ps. Take a look at my job posting if you would like to learn more about what I do

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I really like Community Architect, this is what I do: I build and develop communities.
Developer Advocate (or Community Advocate) is also a good idea. Do you think you have to be a developer yourself to be a Developer Advocate ?

Thank you very much, each of you, for your answer. This is very interesting to read.

IMO, you should at least be able to review code to be a Developer Advocate. (e.g. someone who has past experience documenting code could qualify).

I think it helps the Developer Advocate have credibility, as that person talks to developers in the community about the details of their code contributions, and how that would work (or not) with the target code base.

OK, I agree. Thank you.

Based on the description, Community Manager sounds like the perfect title. Depending on experience and if there are others in the same position, Senior Community Manager is great too.

I will say, I’ve never seen Community Architect till this thread, and I really like that as well. ‘The art’ involved with managing (and creating) a community seems to lend itself nicely to architect.

I once had a person apply for an open source community manager position who had ‘Community Manager’ listed as their most recent position on their resume. Unfortunately that position was managing an apartment community :slight_smile:

Community director has a nice ring to it. But I also like community architect.

The word “director” is associated with a certain level of management. So it is not possible in every company. But I like it.

Cat Herder? Has a nice ring to it

Community Lead- Might work

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