I went back and forth on whether or not to hit publish on this because, well, I agree with Jason Falls and what he said on the whole “social media expert” thing. Those of us in this space probably have work to do, rather than talking about this issue, but I also put aside time to write about this space here, so why not.

Managing an online community – managing a structured community, not so much the whole social media listening thing – is something anyone can do. Just like anyone can be President. But, it’s not something that anyone should do, can do well or for a long period of time.

It’s a skill role, it’s a leadership role. And not everyone is cut out for it. If you really want to do it, cool. But, if you really, really want to do something else, but figure “hey, online community manager sounds like something I can do,” maybe you should pause.

I don’t want to discourage anyone. For many, understandably, a job is just a job. If you can fill a role, support yourself and move on, that’s fine. But, just don’t think that doing this is easy or performing in the post at a high level is something that takes a few months to figure out.

Managing an online community isn’t entry level stuff. It’s not something you hand off to an intern. It’s not telemarketing. You don’t show up, train for a little while and go in. It’s not “I’ve worked in marketing for many years, this should be a cinch.” It takes more than that. If anything, it’s more executive level.

But, if you are committed to it, to giving it your best and to working hard, you’ll be able to find plenty of help from all sorts of people, including me.