Today I attended a workshop at the Macomb Regional Community Media Lab in Clinton Twp., MI, hosted by the Macomb Daily. Sometimes, no matter your age, it can be overwhelming and nerve wracking to go back to school; whether you're in high school, starting college, or attending a media workshop at the age of 50. Today's topic of discussion was 'Contributing Community Content'. The first 20 minutes or so focused on preparing press releases for businesses, non-profits, fundraisers, events, etc. I do this all the time in my job as a church administrative associate. We constantly host community events like vacation bible school, CARE parenting series', and health and wellness workshops - which I've promoted for nearly 12 years. For a moment I listened, got some great ideas on how to better convey my messages AND thought I was pretty tech savvy. That feeling of confidence quickly diminished as they moved on to the next topic of social media.
Yes, I am active on Facebook; I actually have two Facebook pages - one personal and one for this blog. I may not use Twitter or You Tube, but I do know that when you 'tweet' your followers are called 'tweeps' and there are various kinds of videos you can post like Vines that run for 6 seconds. Then my head began to swim as they started dropping big words like RebelMouse, Tout, Hoot Suite, and bit.ly. RebelMouse is a site that allows you to bring all your social network feeds together in one place. I don't think I'm ready for that since I only use Facebook and have my blog. Tout, on the other hand, fascinates me. Tout lets you create 15 second videos; great for giving a shout out to a reader, introducing a new blog entry, or sharing a quick review of a product you just tried. The good part is I can create Tout videos right on my laptop using the web cam (since I don't have an IPhone). Hoot Suite is another site that allows you to schedule your posts to your social sites, kind of time saving if you're only available to work on your sites in the morning but would prefer that your posts showed up at various times throughout the day. Then there's bit.ly. It's a site that lets you shorten your URL addresses so that when you post a link to articles and photos your URL is more direct and catchy.
For me, the great thing about the Macomb Regional Community Media Lab is its convenience and the free professional instruction it makes available to the community. What a great concept. They offer one-on-one sessions, as well as a variety of workshops. They've been a life savor to me as I've been learning about the different options that are available. When you consider using social media you need to ask yourself a couple of questions. How much time do I want to invest in my social networking? What do I hope to gain by using the various sites?
There's a old saying that talks about 'picking your battles', for me social media is about 'choosing my challenges'. My plan is to attend as many workshops and one-on-one sessions as possible and take away at least one goal from each session. It's important to keep growing, no matter what your age is.
What's your favorite source of social media and why? I'd love to know. Is it You Tube, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat? Perhaps you use something I haven't even mentioned.