I am a HUGE fan of networking, personally and organizationally. The success, for me, has been in finding the balance between creating bonds with people who share my passion for social change work and trying to get what I want- whether it was a job, donations or volunteers. Sure, networking usually has an end goal but it isn’t selfish, at least I don’t believe it is. Facebook started of as a bunch of nerds trying to get laid, and I can’t blame them for that, but it also ended up connecting silenced activists living under dictatorships to the outside world. Unfortunately, hate groups and bullies unite through networking online, but so do civil rights groups and victims of abuse. Some of my closest friends started as “networks”- colleagues or mentors or clients- and I often network with my actual best friends today.
If networking is creating bonds and taking advantage of those bonds to further a cause or ourselves, then we owe it to ourselves to learn how and make it work for us! For organizations it is important to create a voice- a clear personality that is inviting, exciting and interesting that calls for others to join on and get active! I love social networking for the right cause because I enjoy creating the right character for the organization that represents its goals and its leaders– and helps it grow. The keys to creating online buzz is actively reaching out to the right people and organizations to get support, and offer mutual support, as well as creating interesting and maybe even controversial conversations. Connecting to relevant articles, video, media and music does not hurt– and neither does a sense of humor!
Let me know if I can help your organization develop its online presence and work that network!