I recently watched a YouTube video on the current global social media “fad”. What struck me most was how increasingly popular it continues to become at a pace unheard of by any medium before it. For instance, it took the iPod 3 years to reach 50 million users while Facebook reached 200 million in less than ONE YEAR. And today, as I was perusing Mashable, I came across another article touting the popularity of social media usership and how it is increasing even with its current users. Looks like your average social media user spends 66% more time on these sites than he did a year ago.
I personally find social media to be a fun and exciting tool, important not only to my social life but to getting out our message as an organization, keeping up with our partnering organizations work and staying connected with events happening around the world. I actually found out about the tragedy in Haiti, the death of Michael Jackson and keep up Governor Schwarzenegger’s plans for state workers all on Twitter.
But even to me, these numbers are scary and impress on me a certain kind of urgency to keep up with the social media Joneses.
Thankfully, the Center and the American Lung Association in California have given me many opportunities to learn more about social media and to really think about how we can make it work for us. But I have to wonder about those folks who are just so overwhelmed with the task at hand they just don’t know where to start. What do they do?
Well if you asked me, I would say don’t be afraid to experiment! Take one evening and set up your own personal Facebook and Twitter. Play around, build your profile, learn the basics, and search around and find users in your community. Find your local and state legislators, become their friends and find out how they are using the site. It’s surprising just how much some legislators are using these platforms as a way to connect directly with their constituents.
You won’t learn everything you need to know in one night but it will get you started. And after you have set up your personal accounts and wonder how you can use these tools for your own work, call us. We are just itching to help you come up with a social media strategy that can help you grow your campaign and build relationships.
This social media nonsense may not be just a fad after all and I know I don’t want to get left in the dust.