I was never a big fan of social media. Then I met Twitter …
Twitter provides a seemingly endless stream of 140 character bullets to inform, educate or entertain. On my private Twitter account I follow friends, strangers interested in the same things I am and celebrities like Wil Wheaton whose love of the L.A. Kings, acting, things geeky and unique and his family are always entertaining and sometimes hilarious.
Following people for ALA has been equally interesting. For instance, New York Times bestselling author Harvey Mackay tweeted this today, “You have to get the plate before you can hit one out of the park.” Maybe not all that educational (unless you know nothing about baseball), but it is motivational.
No, this is not an advertisement for Twitter or social media, but it is a reminder that sometimes it only takes a little time to be learn something new and, perhaps, get inspired.
Paul MacCartney of MindLeaders.com shared this Warren Bennis quote, “Accept responsibility for your own education.” He then added these words of his own, “many people feel they need to be taught; few take it unto themselves”.
Everyone has a very busy life. If you work and have friends and family, you probably think you have little to no time to spend learning something new. However, social media can take a short amount of time and can fit into a busy schedule (as can webinars and workshops).
Due to the brevity of the tweets that Twitter allows, you can easily breeze through a large amount of information in just a few minutes. If you follow just those individuals or groups who are informative and helpful, you can spend the minimum amount of time to get the maximum amount of information. At ALA, we follow Community Action Agencies, state and federal agencies and leadership gurus. These agencies and groups very often have great information to share, and Twitter provides a way to do it extremely quickly.
There are many people who still think of Pinterest as the shiny object of social media that has no use other than to exhibit pretty things. This may be how a large number of people use their boards, but it’s definitely not all that’s on their minds. There are some organizations and many people who use their boards to inform and educate.
There are currently thirteen ALA boards. They include Upcoming Events, Leadership, Things To See & Do, History, Fine & Folk Art, Making A Difference, etc.
The ASPCA has eleven boards such as Top Actions for Animals (some of their current campaigns), Adoptable Animals and Pet Care Tips.
I’ve also come across a number of people who have a “causes” board that they use to share information on animal welfare groups, cancer awareness, environmental agencies, etc. The one picture from my personal boards that has been repinned the most is from The Scar Project – a breast cancer awareness group.
This is the irrefutable giant of social media. It’s the most widely used and used for the most amount of time per month of any social media site. Companies that don’t have a website will often have a Facebook page. People of all ages, all interests and from a huge number of countries are on Facebook. On the News Feed, you can be see information such as: the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies will be having their summer conference June 18 – 20, the Coshocton Tribune ran a story on Connect Ohio, a link to an article by the National Association of Social Workers, and Zombie Walk Columbus to benefit the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is May 12th.
So far, I’ve found the most helpful thing about LinkedIn to be the Groups. If you enter “Leadership” into the search bar on the Groups page, it comes back with 15,252 results. “Nonprofit Leadership” will get you 232, and “Appalachian Leadership” will bring back 2 – Appalachian Leadership Academy and Women’s Energy Network. As with the other sites, if you take the time to find groups that are best suited for your needs, you can find articles, webinars (both free and for a fee) and other information that you can access very quickly.
To make the best use of your time, tailor your activity. Choose only as many social media sites as you feel are beneficial and follow only those people/groups who are consistently helpful and, perhaps, one or two that just make you laugh or feel good.