Iceberg Effect

The theory that the visible activity of a community is only a very small part of the overall activity of a community.

There are a huge number of things that happen in the background. While over time, this background activity is done by many in the community it typically falls heavily on the community manager during the development and growth phases and include all of the following tasks:

  • Back-channeling: Encouraging participants privately to post, comment, and participate.
  • Event planning and orchestration: Ensuring that events are successful by getting commitment from the influencers within the community that will bring along everyone else and make for a successful event.
  • Posting event documentation and recaps to extend the value of the event and include more members.
  • Sending community activity and content to members that have a specific interest in the topic to ensure the members with something of value to add see it.
  • Drafting content, discussions, and ideas so that it is easy for members to contribute or share.
  • Creating or re-publishing content into different modalities — text, pictures, audio, & video.
  • Building relationships with key members of the community to maintain an ‘ear to the ground’ of what is really going on.
  • Intercepting or interceding with members who are acting inappropriately.
  • Evangelizing within the sponsoring organization to generate more involvement and/or gain support.
  • Gathering and reporting on activity and results.
  • Helping to translate and negotiate between organizational and community needs.
  • Monitoring discussions and content.
  • Brainstorming on activity, content, and ideas that keep community members interested.
  • Working with colleagues to build programming that is valuable to them and the community members.