We don’t spend too much time thinking about the private messaging feature of the community software that we use. But as a tool for the community manager and staff, I would never want to be without it.
Most of a community manager’s best work happens in private, and much of that is private messages. That is where we manage the situation. Where we deal with troublemakers and push well-meaning members back on the right path. If you correct someone in public, in front of everyone, that’s a confrontation. They have to save face. They have to defend themselves. If you do it in private, it’s just a conversation between you and them.