Social Media: What’s on the Menu?

AUCD website home page

Social media for non-profits and small organizations can be daunting.

How do you convince your co-workers it’s worth it? How do you approach creating content? What are some best practices for Facebook and Twitter?

Casey Golden, Bethany Stevens and I tried to answer some of those questions today. Casey is the founder and managing partner of the Small Act Network, a creative agency specializing in social media and software for non-profits. Bethany is faculty member and policy analyst at the Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University.

Our presentations were a part of the 2010 Association of University Centers on Disabilities Annual Meeting and Conference. Casey focused on a broad overview of social media, how it works and why it’s powerful. I centered my presentation on forming a process for creating social media content, and Bethany talked about Facebook and the best practices for that space.

We had a great audience, and lots of participation. See my talking points by viewing the presentation on Google Docs. You might find some of the information helpful as you and/or your organization dives into social media.

Sometimes You Just Have to Run the Race

Running Trail image

When I ran cross country in high school, my teammates and I would often walk the course before a big race.

It made for good preparation. We could identify any trouble spots ahead of time, and it allowed us to plan how each particular course might affect our running style. I didn’t like doing it though. I appreciate preparation, but to me, walking the course took some of the fun out of the race. You knew once hundreds of other runners poured onto the course with you, those turns and bumps would be different. Most of your careful planning could prove useless rather quickly. Sometimes, you just have to embrace the unknown.

New Beginnings

I’ve done just that for the past few months and weeks. A year ago, I left my full-time job as a copywriter with a great company in one of the worst economies in decades to pursue a dream: I wanted to learn how to tell stories in a new way and I wanted to earn my master’s degree. I always thought I would pursue creative writing further, but I shifted focus once I found the perfect program. I graduated in May with my master’s degree in interactive media from Elon University, and have been searching for a job ever since.

A week ago, I loaded up a U-Haul truck, said goodbye to some dear friends in North Carolina and moved to Alexandria, Virginia, hoping to land a job in the Washington, D.C., area. That leap of faith worked. I accepted a job with The Arc of the United States as its new Online Marketing Specialist. The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. I’ll be managing the organization’s online presence to help further its mission. I’m thrilled to be working for the public good and helping the talented team there give a voice to those who may not otherwise be heard.

I’m excited that my new career opportunity will build on the varied skill set I already have, and allow me to expand my knowledge into new media further in all sorts of ways. If you follow this blog or my Twitter account, don’t expect too much to change. I’m still interested in all the same things, especially telling stories with technology and creating online content. And I’m so happy that my own story has taken this turn toward something new and exciting. Sometimes, you have to embrace the unknown and run the race.

Image by Somadjinn.

Journalism Lives just Launched

You may have noticed a recent update I sent out via Twitter.

Steve Earley and I just launched a new blog focused on how interactivity is helping and can help the news industry. Both Steve and I love blogging, have a deep passion for the future of the news and wanted to join the larger debate surrounding journalism’s ongoing evolution, so starting this blog just made sense. We were lucky to have quite a few supporters already.

If you enjoy reading what I write here, I encourage you to check out Journalism Lives. Steve and I worked together really well during grad school at Elon, and have big plans and hopes for the site.

I’ll also say this: even though Journalism Lives will focus on the news industry, I won’t stop writing about it in this space. I plan to continue exploring multimedia journalism and other types of storytelling with technology here. Journalism isn’t the only field facing a massive evolution, so the more we entertain problems and questions from anywhere and everywhere, the sooner we be able to craft innovative solutions and answers.

That’s why I believe a blog like Journalism Lives can hold value for anyone interested in how people access online information. Our blog, like this one, is likely to draw inspiration from many different sources.

I hope you check it out and thanks for reading.