It’s funny to think about the events and opportunities that shapes us as a person. For me, that was saying “yes” to a moderator role nine years ago.
Everything started when I discovered an online community for young girls in 2007. Even though I didn’t actively start using the site until late 2008, once I started – I quickly found myself enjoying it more than I had expected and I turned out to become a very active user.
The following year I received a message from the site administrator, asking if I wanted to join a focus group. It was a creative group for young people who enjoyed the game and wanted to play a part in supporting it, and the intention of the focus group was to bring ideas from users forward to the administrators. Needless to say, I gladly accepted.
I became a part of a team
In January 2010, I received a message from the site administrator again, this time asking if I wanted to be one of the new moderators on the site. This officially marked the beginning of my nine year journey as a moderator!
I was only 14 years old at the time, and was trusted with the tools and responsibilities that came with a moderator role. I loved it, and quickly grew into the role as a responsible helper. Fast forward six years down the road in 2016, the site was officially closing down – and the thought to see such a vibrant community come to an end made me really upset. It was such a big part of who I was, and I wasn’t ready to let it go.
But I was lucky, and an opportunity presented itself to continue as a moderator, this time on Momio. Being a moderator on Momio differed from what I learned through my six years of being a moderator on the other site. For example, my identity on Momio is a lot more private than what it used to be. Only the administrators and the other moderators know me personally.
Momio being a platform for kids also presented some challenges. Using a formal way of writing can often lead to misunderstandings and conflict in conversations, which again can lead to confusion and frustration from the kids’ point of view. It is therefore rather important to be able to construct sentences in a child friendly way and end any frustration and conflict – with respect and understanding.
What have I been doing all these years?
Moderators are called Jack’s helpers on Momio. The tasks have a lot to do with keeping Momio safe and fun for the kids. We remove and report inappropriate content to the site administrators and contribute to a polite and fun focused environment for kids to thrive in. Ways to do that is to be interactive, social, and help them if they have any questions. In a way, we teach them good use of «netiquette» and to be a good friend on the internet.
The role of a moderator also brings a number of requirements and things that are expected of you. As a moderator it is expected that you are an active user. Moderators receive questions and messages that range from private matters to requests for help. My own opinion is that our tasks can be summarized with being a good role model for kids to look up to.
The insight that I have about kids online today is massive. I know a lot about how they think, react, feel, and the trends they like – and don’t like. I know how to communicate with them, and how to spark their interest and engage them. I’ve been helping kids for nine years, and I’m not even 25 years old yet!
I don’t only have a nice CV to show. When you help kids based on who you are as a person, it becomes hard (if even possible) to separate me as a helper, and just me as an individual. By working as a moderator for so long, it’s in the way that I write, the way that I speak, the way that I react and solve issues. I AM a moderator, it’s not just my work anymore.
Who would have thought that being active in an online community, could lead to this amount of experience, nine years down the road? I will always be grateful for the fact that I took the opportunity when it presented itself.
xx Tusj, Momio Norway