In 2010, Jeremiah Owyang (Partner at the Altimeter Group) kicked off the first-annual Community Manager Appreciation Day (#CMAD). Celebrated annually on the 4th Monday of January, folks are asked to take a moment out of their busy days to thank and appreciate the people supporting the community for our favorite brands.

So what the heck is a Community Manager? Scholars maintain the definition was lost centuries ago, and there isn’t really an exact definition, but I’ll take a stab at explaining…

Community Managers are the men and women working behind the scenes that are managing your online communities day in and day out. They’re the people supporting users/customers, working with your internal teams to help deliver amazing experiences, and generally serve as the voice of brands. They monitor social networks, create content, cheerlead for your brand and users, and craft your user-facing messages. They’re on the front lines, listening to all your users’ feedback (both good and bad) and trying to take all those brand ‘likes’ and turn them into brand love.

Boston is no stranger to incredible community management. In fact, according to a recent study by Social Fresh, Boston boasts the greatest number of Community Managers per capita in the nation and is the third most popular city for community management. We’re hiring some of the best and brightest to help manage communities and setting a precedent for quality and exploring the future of the industry.

With a diverse collection of industries and organizations, both big and small, there seems to be a collective understanding in and around Boston that building community is important and plays an essential role in business. We’re home to companies like Communispace, who is helping to create communities for brands, The Community Roundtable, one of the most well respected community management organizations in the world and BostonCMGR the growing industry group which I am proud to lead to connect the city’s Community Managers.

And we’re ready to appreciate all that hard work!

Later this evening, with the help of the organizations above, Hailo Boston and Hootsuite, we’ve organized the Community Manager Appreciation Happy Hour. We’re recognizing and celebrating the tireless efforts of Community Managers throughout the Boston area. We will be celebrating and thanking with a few drinks, food and a lot of connections!

Can’t make the event but still want to show your appreciation? No problem! Just take a moment sometime today and thank the person at your company for all the work they do. Have a favorite brand or organization that’s always doing amazing work and engaging online? Drop them a note and say thanks.  No gifts are required… the purpose is to give a genuine thank you to the people who keep your communities moving!

Online community management is still a relatively new occupation and has a constantly evolving school of thought. With global efforts like Community Manager Appreciation Day and the amazing work happening here in Boston, I’m optimistic that building genuine relationships and community connections will play a vital role in the future of business. Thanks for reading and happy CMAD!