A Short Origin of Community Management & How I Define it Today

Shedding light on Community Management’s historical context and dissecting its modern day definition

Carter Gibson
8 min readAug 26, 2020

There you are, standing in the living room of your parent’s house during a holiday party (hey, remember those?). You lock eyes with an older woman who looks vaguely familiar to you.

She looks back at you with eyes that say, “I knew you when you were this big.” Yup, she’s coming over to you. She walks over to you and — surprise! — says just that. You make small talk, but you know it’s coming. She’s going to ask it. The question you’ve struggled to answer succinctly for years. You brace yourself.

“And what are you doing for work now?”

I’m a Community Manager out in San Francisco.

“Oh, San Francisco. That’s wonderful. (an awkward pause) Now, tell me, what’s a Community Manager?”

This blog is written (optimistically given worldly circumstances) in hopes that it can help you at your next holiday party. In this post, I’ll explain first where the idea of Community Management even comes from and then break down my definition of what it is — the same definition we use internally at Google.

Where does ‘Community…



Carter Gibson

Community Management strategist & Program Manager | Internal Community Programs Lead @ Google | Excitable Geek | Lover of spectacle | I write about my passions