The ability to turn communication into an interactive dialogue makes social media very powerful. The use of social media is not limited to personal communications between friends and family. Social media today is being used for a variety of purposes – leisure by individuals, education by those interested in learning, advocacy by political and environmental organizations, and business by profit and nonprofit organizations.
Community organizations are also using social media such as Facebook for organizing events, forming an online community with shared interests, communicating with members and rallying member support. I was invited to talk about social media use for communities and thus had the pleasure of presenting at the Michigan Neighborhood Association’s annual conference in Lansing, Michigan. The presentation comprised a mixed audience of professionals who are already using social media to organize their communities and others who were learning about social media use to enhance their community activities.
At the request of ITEC, a presentation was given regarding the power of social media and its suitability for strengthening community services. For beginners, a workshop on the use of social media for organizing communities was demonstrated. This involved creating a Facebook page and distinguishing it from “groups”. This was greatly appreciated by the audience especially those who had not explored the possibility of using social media for community purposes. The second part of the presentation focused on the optimization strategies that allow the full and efficient use of social media. This required an effective and carefully laid out strategy that enures that image of the group/community/organization is managed in the best possible way. In addition, emphasis was laid on an integrated media and marketing strategy that harnesses the power of the Internet in an efficient manner.