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March 7th, 2011

5 Questions with Julia Szymanska (Community Manager)

In recent years, the need for a Community Manager has become essential, especially when your entire business operates online and your ‘community’ is a global one. Julia was an excellent choice for this position at AVAST, as her experiences both as a traveler and living as a foreigner have given her insight into the myriad ways communications take shape. I’ve worked closely with her on various projects, and she has a natural ability to empathize with community concerns, promote community interests, and ensure that the avast! Community stays in focus (in the light of our overall company direction). –Jason Mashak

Julia Szymanska

Julia Szymanska (Community Manager)

1. I recall that one of our first conversations was about your studies of literature and languages, and so I’m curious how a background in humanities helps you in your current role as Community Manager for AVAST?

The fact that I manage to communicate in several languages helps a lot. But, frankly, I would need to learn at least another 8 languages to be able to cover typical daily communications, as the community of our fans is very multilingual. :) The first thing that came to mind after reading this question was the “KIS rule”: KEEP IT SIMPLE. :) Twitter limits you to 140 characters and Facebook to 420, so you’re forced you to follow that rule. It confirms what I already suspected attending university: make your text as simple as possible.

2. What challenges do you encounter in terms of interacting with the avast! Community via Facebook, Twitter, etc.? 

Communication with fans on FB is completely transparent, can be seen by everyone, so that is challenging in itself. Luckily, the majority of comments and posts are very positive (people really like avast! :) ), but some users are looking for tech support. Of course we also receive some negative feedback, which I try to follow, figure out how we can help, and get it resolved in some way. The number of our fans is growing rapidly, and thus communication is increasingly more intense and requires constantly checking what is new on our wall.  The most challenging thing so far was the Winter Quiz we ran in December, 2010. It involved a lot of communication and administration work on our side, generating and sending out 3,100 avast! Internet Security licenses to our winners (100 per day).

3. What are some changes that the avast! Community has helped bring about, in terms of the products and services we provide?

Our avast! Forum “Evangelists” help us greatly to test our new products and suggest better solutions.  They test beta versions and help us fix the bugs before any new version of avast! is officially released. However, we try to take into consideration suggestions from all avast! users: we read emails and discuss major issues with tech support, as well as follow comments on Facebook, Twitter, and the avast! Blog. Of course we can’t fulfill all expectations, but there is no better source of information than our users. :)

4. As a native of Poland, what is it about Prague (or Czech culture in general) that makes you want to be here? 

Poland and Czech Republic are close neighbors and both Slavic, but there are differences. Prague has amazing spirit and provides everything you would expect from a capital city. Considering that Central Europe was behind an iron curtain for over 40 years, Prague is relatively multicultural, with an interesting social scene. You can still sense the spirit of Kafka or Hrabal, with all positives and negatives that go along with it. This full spectrum of experience is what truly attracts me to this city.

5. How would you describe your ideal day away from the office?

I love a tropical climate, so I wouldn’t mind spending this day on a beautiful beach with a good drink (of course a non-alcoholic one) lol ;)


Say “Hello” (“Dzien dobry” in Polish) to Julia here: or


Read more about the global avast! Community at


Read other interviews here:

History & questions with Charles O. Prince (avast! Forum “Evangelist”)

5 Questions with Vladimír Černík (Lead Virus Analyst)

5 Questions with Bob Gostischa (avast! Forum “Evangelist”)

5 Questions with Christian Cantoro (Channel Sales Manager)

5 Questions with Michal Krejdl (Senior Virus Analyst)

5 Questions with Lukáš Rypáček (Senior Software Developer)

5 Questions with Lukáš Hasík (QA Director)

5 Questions with Martin Cohen (Tech Support Specialist)

5 Questions with “Tech” (avast! Forum “Evangelist”)

5 Questions with Jitka Špačková (Reseller Admin Manager)


  • Jason Mashak

    An new development: the avast! Facebook group today reached 100,000 fans, up from roughly 7,000 when Julia took over just a few months ago. Well done, Julia!

    And with apropos timing, our number of registered users just reached 150 million… and our number of active users is about to hit 125 million.

    All things are connected. :)

  • Tech

    Nice interview.
    Globalization and multicultural are the key.
    But what I want to know more is your internal work. What is to manage the community? What do you do in a common office day? How could you be managing the community and you’re not logged in the forums? Do you work only in social networks?

  • Julia Szymanska

    Hello and thank you for your comment. Basically as a Community Manager, I’m responsible for social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube), organising contests for users (eg. Winter quiz we had in December) and the content on our Community website.

    What does it mean to manage community? It is not an easy question to answer :) For sure my main goal is to develop better communication, provide community with an interesting information about products, company events, security news, organise contests etc. In this way we are trying to show our appreciation to the fact, that community is helping us to detect viruses (via CommunityIQ), localise avast!, help each other on forum or recommend avast!. Social networks are a very good tool for it. When it is coming to an avast! Forum, it is a very important communication channel. However, I believe, that my colleagues from support and developing department are better qualified to help users, than me.

    I hope to answer your questions :)


  • yanto chiang


    Started last week, avast’s fan page are not able to open.

    Is there something happened with facebook account?


    Yanto Chiang

  • Jason Mashak

    @yanto chiang
    Hi Yanto, thanks, we’re looking into it. As you probably know, FB is continuously undergoing changes, which makes it difficult to know exactly where the problem is. Since last week, I can sometimes get to the page, but if I refresh the page it’s gone again. JM

  • Jason Mashak

    Today, we were able to access the avast! facebook page several times, but not all page tabs were active. Then, without warning, the whole page was gone again.

  • contact centers philippines

    I’m so happy to see that you enjoy multicultural environment. And Social Networking really makes a huge difference to our world today. Makes us easier to grasp despite of our location.

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