Nine Hundred and Thirty Nine Likes on the Wall. Nine Hundred and Thirty Nine Likes.

Most Monday mornings, you can find the Volunteer Maryland Support team huddled around the conference table in my office for our weekly meeting. We talk about the typical work meetings items like work flow, challenges and success and what the week holds for each of us. We also spend about 15-30 minutes in a mini training. These trainings are facilitated by an individual Support Team member, leading us through a topic that builds on professional skills that apply to our work. So far we have looked at active listening, reporting, communication, and most recently, using social media.  Our Peer Leader, Taeketra Haynes led us through a series of thought provoking questions and topics looking at how Volunteer Maryland approaches social media. Her training was based a good bit on an article she read on Social Media Today , by Isra Garcia ,titled How to Make the Social Web Work for You. This training was just the needed kick in my dressy casual pants to put some vigor back in our social media approach.

This new director stuff has at times felt a bit like the Indiana Jones famous boulder scene. A dash of trying to avoid danger. Sometimes not seeing said danger until it is barreling down upon me. And just as I am feeling safe, new danger presents.  Not all of the time, but just enough to have this image on heavy rotation in my dreams. With this boulder approach, one of the things I have not been so great at doing is maintaining our social media. Volunteer Maryland’s previous Director, Maureen Eccleston did an amazing job at keeping this going, but somehow it just kept dropping lower and lower on my to do list. Taeketra’s training changed that just by being reminded, and looking at how VM can share the responsibility and work as a team to stay active, current and on point.

The interesting thing about using social media is not that you do it, but indeed do it with the mind set of making connections. The “re” is key; meaning reposting, retweeting and sharing to build relationships in this virtual sharing space. Building our own content and sharing our successes and challenges all in the hope that someone will like us, follow us or share. Sometimes it feels like middle school.

Right now, Volunteer Maryland has 939 likes on our Facebook page, and 3,705 followers on Twitter. That is a pretty nice reach for a small AmeriCorps program, but we can reach more. With AmeriCorps 20 year celebration, Volunteer Maryland Coordinators in full force, and the selection of new sites for next year to be followed by selecting applicants to fill these positions, we have a lot to talk about and share. I know there are more boulders out there, but running from the one called social media is over. If you have not liked or followed VM, I invite you to do so. If you have, thanks. I really appreciate this simple act of connection. I want to return the favor, so let me know who you are and let’s connect! Sure, social media can feel like middle school, but I promise, no overuse of Axe Body Spray or cliques.

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