October 10, 2023

Community Management Myth #4: It’s All About Making Money

By David D.

This is part of a blog series on 10 Myths About Community Management, please see the main article for more details.

A pervasive myth surrounding community work frames it primarily as a vehicle for revenue generation and business growth through metrics like user engagement or product promotion. While stewardship naturally complements organizational missions to some extent, reducing community solely to commercial aims risks losing sight of its deeper human purposes.

At their best, impactful communities emerge organically from participants’ shared passions, values and capacity for enriching one another’s lives – not transactional relationships alone. When groups feel their interests are genuinely represented and members uplift each other freely through creativity, civic involvement takes on momentum well beyond monetization.

Of course, operational realities require financial viability. But community plays a far greater role in people’s well-being than marketer platitudes imply. It fulfills intrinsic needs for fellowship in an increasingly polarized world and cultivation of potential through cooperation regardless of backgrounds outwardly. Such depths cannot be manufactured or maintained through commercialization alone.

Wise management understands serving others means addressing needs holistically through empathetic partnership rather than one-sided exchanges. A transactional lens risks estranging participants who join seeking growth on their own terms through civil discourse, not constant advertisements masquerading as dialogue. Whenever monetization displaces care for individuals, community loses soul.

Commerce inevitably follows when spaces prioritize mutual learning and celebration of shared hopes above all else. But leadership focused primarily on metrics overlooks delicate relationships requiring ongoing nurture with compassion. Members participate because they feel genuinely anchored to a Collective vision forged through dialog, not detachment imposed by algorithms.

Community emerges from within as understanding for others takes precedence over frictions outwardly. Managers empower this awakening by lifting contributions however they manifest amid complexity and walking alongsidejourneys of all durations. Profit motives alone displace such depth for shallow transactions, demotivating meaningful participation.

Progress emerges as fellowship inspires collective efforts that address members’ shared stakes in issues and amplify diverse voices, not proprietary agendas. When community managers cultivate care for humankind through creative problem-solving and leading with empathy above monetary targets, spaces become vessels for empowerment reaching far beyond business arenas alone.

David D.
David D.

Building Online Communities since 1998 | Full Stack Community Professional | Host of Community Live