I was thinking about the recent Nestle Facebook punch-up while putting my potatoes in this afternoon and, aside to the rational discussions about facilitation, rules, law and so forth, I wondered ‘how did that *feel* for the online facilitator/moderator/host?’.
I bet it hurt a lot; I mean – that much conflict and anger and finger pointing and this and that, it’s going to take it’s toll isn’t it?
As community managers, we find ourselves in an interesting position – we’re right in the middle between brands or organisations or institutions, and the people they are trying to support or service or engage with via the online platforms. This is an environment that runs enormous risk of stress and burnout; we have huge responsibility yet varying authority, we represent the movement to the organisation and vice versa.
We’re facilitating like mad in an endlessly changing context, looking for paths through this complexity, seeking a balance of power, and ‘genuine’ atmosphere, and other good things.
Asides to the workload, that’s a tough emotional challenge. Especially when it kicks off like it does sometimes, and people behave astonishingly badly and you have to maintain your cool throughout. I thought I might burst into tears if that sort of ferocity kicked off on my patch to be honest. I know I would have real problems trying to keep calm, and keep the outburst in perspective, and not take it personally and other feelings.
Of course, I’d deal with it, but I wondered if anyone had any ways of understanding our own emotional response to these situations and methods to ‘ease the pressure’. Like counsellors – who have regular counselling sessions of their own in order to help themselves handle their responses to their clients’ sessions.
So I had a question or two:
- How do you handle your emotional response to punch-ups in your spaces?
- How do support your facilitators when it kicks off?
- Do we account for the stress inherent in our roles and how that will affect us?
- Do we have mechanisms to help us stay calm, and reflective time to process the experience?