Walking into an Existing Online Community with David (Historian) DeWald

Walking into an Existing Online Community with David (Historian) DeWald

In this episode, Chris Detzel, Director of Customer Community and Engagement at Reltio talks to David, the original Historian, DeWald, Community Manager at Ciena about how he use to build online communities from ground up. He describes in detail why he wanted to go into an existing community, already built, and get experience in taking over an existing community.

Human interaction has always revolved around communities, and in today's digital age, they have become even more integral to our lives. Building and managing thriving communities calls for a unique set of skills and knowledge. In this blog post, we'll explore the experiences of veteran community managers David DeWalt and Chris Detzel, delving into their strategies for tackling the challenges they encounter while building and managing communities.

Building a Community from Scratch

David DeWalt's journey began in 1998 when he founded The Dungeon Siege Historian, a fan site dedicated to tracking the development of a video game from inception to release. As the site evolved and merged with others, it ultimately became Planet Dungeon Siege. David's experience in building a community from scratch illuminated the importance of engaging with all company departments, comprehending stakeholders' needs, and determining the best approach to community building.

Inheriting an Existing Community

David also has firsthand experience in inheriting pre-existing communities. He acknowledges the challenges associated with this process and emphasizes the importance of community managers having ownership of the platform and a strong say in its management and direction.

The Challenges of Community Management

Managing a community is a multifaceted and demanding task that calls for a diverse skill set and comprehensive knowledge. Community managers must familiarize themselves with existing processes and procedures, pinpoint internal champions, and establish connections with internal stakeholders to understand both the organization's and the community's needs. Additionally, they must strike a balance between catering to the community's requirements and prioritizing organizational objectives.

Building a Successful Community

To build a prosperous community, the initial step involves connecting with individuals and engaging in conversations with key stakeholders. Hiring the right community leader is crucial, as their expertise and innovative ideas will contribute to shaping the community's direction. Effective communication, cross-team collaboration, and a willingness to learn from mistakes are indispensable strategies for cultivating a 

Creating and managing a successful community is a continuous process that demands commitment, dedication, and a growth mindset. By implementing the insights shared by David DeWalt and Chris Detzel, organizations can develop robust, dynamic communities that captivate members, spur growth, and support the achievement of business goals. Community managers must recognize the significance of collaborating with all company departments, taking ownership of the platform, liaising with internal stakeholders, and balancing the community's needs with organizational priorities. Effective communication, teamwork, and embracing errors are vital strategies for fostering a successful community.

Check out:
Building Online Communities: Engagement Strategies that Work

Find David, (Historian), DeWald here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/historian/

Check out his page here: https://thecommunitymanager.com/