Taking off the swimmies

I can’t help but feel like I’m faking it.  As a millennial working in the nonprofit sector, I am supposed to be “with it” and “hip” when it comes to technology, right?  I’m supposed to enjoy spending eight hours a day communicating through a computer screen, and get really excited when someone posts something new about their life on Facebook or Twitter.   And I do, to some extent.   But after about 30 seconds of sifting through all of the #’s and @’s of Twitter, I start to glaze over.  All the abbreviations, acronyms, and bit.ly links start to jumble together until I start to have trouble telling the difference between a Twitter feed and a bowl of Alpha-Bits.

However, I’m the type of person who will try anything once, and then twice, and if a lot of other people like it then I tend to spend a lot of energy trying to figure out why.  So as Volunteer Maryland started to ramp up its involvement in the web 2.0 world, I figured it was time to either jump into the deep end or stay in the kiddie pool with my swimmies, which ends up not only getting you nowhere, but is wicked boring as you watch all the other kids do flips off the diving board.

So here it goes, I’m taking off the swimmies and diving into the world of web 2.0…

My goal for this blog is to chronicle my adventures in social media, focusing on the nonprofit sector and strategies for engaging people and marketing causes and opportunities.  I also hope to help other people like me learn more about different social media tools (or at least help figure out which questions to ask!)  By “like me” I mean those of you who are a little overwhelmed by the flood of information available, and need a little guidance as to what’s important, and what’s not. I also hope to include good resources to help you build upon what you already know, and apply that to your work as a nonprofit professional, AmeriCorps member, volunteer, or just as an engaged citizen.

To get to know the person behind the blog, I am a two-term AmeriCorps alum, with training in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, and a B.A. in Archaeology.  I am currently working for Volunteer Maryland as a Program Associate, creating training and curriculum to support our VISTA members.  This is an awesome part of my job, and I have learned a ton just by doing research for that. Service is a huge part of my life and my upbringing, and I am happiest when my work is meaningful or useful to others.  I love to dance, hike, drink tea, and make guacamole.  I don’t really love computers, but I want to learn how to love (or at least like) them, thus the reason for this blog.  🙂

I think nearly everything is better when friends are involved, so hopefully we can help each other out and learn a few things about web 2.0 in a collaborative, non-judgmental manner.  What do you say?  If there is something you would particularly like to learn about, let me know.  I want to make this as useful as possible, so we can all soon be doing this in the world of web 2.0.

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4 thoughts on “Taking off the swimmies

  1. Kimberly,

    It’s so good to read about someone else who is not “in love” with technology. I assist with the coordination of volunteers and hiring of staff at Hope Alive, Inc., a residential program for homeless women and their children.

    Our Development Manager is currently, and quite successfully, using Facebook and Twitter to expand our marketing and fundraising efforts. So it only follows that we look to these social mediums for our development of volunteers and staff as well.

    So far, I’ve registered with Twitter for our employment efforts, but now what?

    1. Kimberly

      Hi Missy,

      Ditto! It is quite refreshing to learn that not everyone doing this is a social media expert… it gives me some hope:)

      As far as using social media for volunteer and staff development, it definitely sounds like Hope Alive is on the right track. Most of the articles I have read on social media strategies have encouraged depth not breadth, i.e. start by focusing just on your Twitter and Facebook presence rather than creating 5 different web 2.0 ventures in one day. This allows you to really develop your web 2.0 presence in a way that works for your organization, and makes it more likely that you’ll stick with it. I like reading the blog Wild Apricot because it has clear articles, and is a good place to find links to other useful resources. This article is a good one about developing social media in nonprofits: http://tinyurl.com/qaa5xt

      Volunteer Maryland actually has quite a few AmeriCorps members who are using Twitter and Facebook really effectively to promote their programs and attract volunteers at the nonprofits where they are working. Two organizations to look for a good model are the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (@ulmancancerfnd) and the ShoreCAN Volunteer Center at the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore (@shorecan).

      Hope that helps!

  2. Mary Aceituno

    Hi Kim,

    Kudos to you for meeting the challenge of all that this new technology has to offer and having the courage to be challenged by it. It’s ALL Greek to me! But I know who to call upon when I need some answers. And please come back to visit with Laura when you have the time, as the door is always open. Take care.

    1. Kimberly

      Thanks Mrs. Aceituno! I feel like most of it is Greek to me as well, which is why I’m hoping that this blog will be a good way to put our heads together and make it all seem a little clearer:)

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