The ongoing growth of social media incited a desire for interested parties to take the online off-screen and bring people together in conversation, prompting the onset of Social Media Clubs – where people can voice themselves in focused conversation “promoting media literacy, sharing best practices, and ensuring that ethics are not lost as social media becomes serious business.”
Social Media Clubs have spread like wildfire, with new chapters being started in cities each week with the idea to get people talking. Social Media Clubs hold meetings and after work gatherings that provide the opportunity to associate with those that “get it”, and learn from them, share information, and collaborate with other professionals from different backgrounds to enhance your personal and professional interests.
There are various types of social media clubs that the web has brought together. Some clubs diversify focus to cover a range of topics, giving like minds a chance to share and educate themselves in-person and build contacts with attendees both online and offline.
A coworker and I recently attended an event given by Philly NetSquared – a local social media club that gathers together nonprofits and activists, tech leaders and funders, and everyone who’s interested in using technology for social change. Hosting free Net Tuesday events the first week of every month, Philly NetSquared attracts a crowd of professionals in different positions to come out to understand the best way to leverage the social web for social good. I chose to go to this event because social media is always changing and there is always something new to learn about how it can be used. A great way to hear about other ideas for utilizing social networking tools is to check out one of these types of events. No matter the topic at hand, you can be sure that a number of interesting and driven people will attend. At our Net Tuesday were IT professionals for local colleges and universities, urban planners, non-profit planners, an IT health site organizer, professionals for diversity issues, a volunteer firefighter and safety coordinators. Many came out for the presentation and discussion on “The Role of Social Media in Crisis Response”. I listened as the panel cited and explained the mapping applications and geographic information systems, digitized image sharing tools, and PeopleFinder technology that were a tremendous help in the recent crisis in Haiti, and how Twitter aided in the swift delivery of information on the assailant responsible for the slaying of the 4 police officers in a Lakewood coffee shop in Parkland, Washington. Our panelists gave interesting information on how various web tools were used and the new ideas and enhancements in the development stages to provide even greater assistance in the future. I was enthralled by the amount of versatile social media instruments mentioned at this discussion.
I would recommend to anyone interested in furthering their understanding of social media and its use in any discipline, take advantage of these social and educational events in your area. You will be privy to valuable information and innovative ideas while networking with other area professionals in a variety of fields. You just may find your next new experienced hire.