I’ve shared stories with you about some of the ups and downs I experience as a community manager and that is one way for me to cope with it without going stir crazy. Sharing these stories is just as hepful for me as it is for you. Thank you for being a sounding board and letting me get things off my chest. It contributes to my sanity.

I am sitting on an Amtrak train at the moment heading to the University of Maryland to speak to a group of reporters, bloggers and editors at the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism on engaging the audience. I prepared a presentation with tips on engagement and a series of ideas on how they can connect in ways that will build community for themselves and their news organizations.

I am excited about it, and quite honestly I’m ready for this train ride to end because it seems as though the oxygen level is decreasing and I am a bit light-headed. Thank goodness for an air card and Pandora for streaming music from my favorite artists. But this is not the reason I’m posting. This is…..

So here I am on the train in good spirits and I decide to check my Blackberry for email messages. I see one from a member who has been upset with me for quite a while and whose communications with me have deteriorated to a serious state of rudeness and hate.  I almost left it unopened because it has gotten so bad that I now forward his comments straight to our attorney.

Here is his latest:

All this goes to show that you are indeed not competent to manage the community. You have singular inability to police your own venue, one of the very tasks you were hired to perform.  Many people have left after having been baited by these assholes you so lovingly call friends. So ship this to your legal department….perhaps something will finally get done about the problem you allow to fester.

I know you have a million questions to ask me about this. Is he right? Is this true? Are you playing favorites?  What the heck are you doing Angela?

Let me tell you that this was once one of the top members. He contributed amazing content and was a real advocate for the community. He had been around since our launch.

But he was also a real bully at times, condescending to the point of no return and often mean to people. I received countless emails from members asking me why he was allowed to get away with murder and asking what he “had on me” that made me allow him to stay. You see, I don’t make decisions under duress, and I am fair to people even when others are against them. I take criticism for that, publicly and I accept it. It comes with the territory.

I could argue with him about what my job entails and all that he is misinformed about in terms of what my duties are but it’s pointless. I am now his target and that’s just the way it is. He needs to hate me because he was banned from the community. He isn’t the first and won’t be the last.

So, here I am–preparing to speak tomorrow on the joys of community building and engaging the audience  and  BAM…a “YOU SUCK AT YOUR JOB” note.

I’ll be sure to stay away from my inbox until the presentation is over.

Wish me luck!

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