Effective community moderation often requires the ability to engage in (sometimes shameless) acts of human exchange. This has long been understood by experienced moderators.
We understand that modeling conversations is critical to getting people to engage with each other. We reach out to people by phone and email to ask their opinions and ideas, we search countless databases trying to find commonalities among people. We make jokes, we make friends, and perhaps most importantly we make human connections all mediated, to some degree, by the computer screen. In earnest effort to get people to participate online we even often talk to ourselves online in hopes of inspiring someone (anyone) to talk back to us.
A colleague sent me a video on YouTube recently as a funny – but Oh So Accurate – commentary about being a leader and I laughed very hard because it was especially reflective of the act of moderating a community! This is social media.
Cheers to all my fellow community builders who have also done this dance online! At the end of the day, online community building is about the humanness of it all as we solve problems, share experiences and ideas and ultimately model behaviors to help others learn how to use this brave new world.