Hello VCSSCampers! Those of you who followed the VCSSCamp blog last year will probably remember my blog post ‘From Novice to Navigator’: well things have moved on a bit since then. Last year I was completely new to social media and decided to launch my foray into it all at once. I recklessly plunged into blogging, tweeting [@Dudleyvols] and Facebook in the space of a few days, but what a journey it’s been and VCSSCamp was a catalyst in many ways. I learnt that I’m not the only person out there who’s learning to steer their way around social media without the benefit of sat nav: that there are many more potential applications I could be accessing to help me process and share information, and best of all, that people who use social media love to share their expertise and help others learn. That’s what VCSSCamp is about collaboration, openness and shared learning.
I haven’t become a master of social media by any means, but am far more confident. If I have any doubts or don’t know which direction to go, I know where to look having met so many wonderful people, interacted with them and learnt so much from their various posts, tweets etc. Following the links has been like discovering new worlds and I really love the feeling of openness and collaboration between those using social media. The responses I have had to my blog posts, tweets and Facebook entries have been diverse to say the least – everything from potential volunteers looking for support to find their perfect role, to someone in Australia asking for advice about how I set up a blog.
The stats from my Volunteering Counts blog show that I’ve had over 17,000 views from all over the world, from Nepal to El Salvador, from Norway to Kuwait. It’s a great feeling to be part of a growing global family of people learning and sharing together. I had an incredible 1012 views of the Volunteer Awards blog in one day when I published the photos of our wonderful award winners in October. My Operation Santa blog was popular too, doubling its followers to 672, including local businesses. All three of the blogs are very different, but they all have one thing in common – sharing information with people, maybe potential volunteers, potential organisations and in the case of Operation Santa, trying to get people to support our annual toy appeal. That’s the great thing about social media it makes sharing so easy, quick and interactive. My @Dudleyvols Twitter feed did really well too with an averaged 27% retweet rate. Apparently that’s quite good and shows that what I’m sending out is popular and relevant. There have been lots of interactions with potential volunteers via my Facebook page and Facebook users have shared appeals for help and volunteering opportunities for me.
The absolute highlight of the year though and my proudest achievement, was being invited by Big Assist to be a social media mentor for other infrastructure organisations. So take the plunge yourself and come along to VCSSCamp, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I can guarantee you’ll walk away at the end of the day having met some great people, learnt at least one very useful thing and have a warm, fuzzy feeling with all that sharing J