Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My experience at a Jewish Bloggers Convention

This past week I attended my very first bloggers convention. I didn’t really go for our personal blog, but rather I went in a professional capacity, trying to learn whatever I could for potential future employers. Even though this was my first bloggers convention, I walked away feeling like on one hand I did not really need to be there because I pretty much knew everything they were trying to teach, but, yet, on the other embarrassed because I did not actually implement anything I knew.

As many of you know, I spent my summer interning at the One Family Fund in Teaneck, NJ. My position was a fundraising intern, but shortly after I was accepted to the internship I suggested I help build the organization a social media fundraising campaign, instead of doing the normal phone calls and event creations. I had spent the previous semester researching how non-profit organizations could use social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc., to better their online fundraising, and I was hoping to put my knew found knowledge to good use.

I did build One Family a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a blog, however I was unable to get them to implement them in the ways they needed to actually fundraise. They did have an event at the end of the summer, which over 300 people attended, partly due to our advertising for the event on the different sites, however the advertisements did not lead to online registration prior to the event, which was its main goal. I walked away from my internship feeling like maybe I did not know what I was doing. When I saw the advertisement for conference, I thought what a good way to learn more, and try to figure out what I had done wrong.

At the event I sat in on a session on how to make money from blogs, how to use Twitter (for beginners), and one on how to use Facebook (or rather not use Facebook). All these sessions were informative, but unfortunately, they were full of information I already knew.

After the sessions was a panel on bringing the Jewish Community together through social media, which started off well with a speaker representing JGooders.com, Tova Serkin. Unfortunately, it was downhill from there. Each of the speakers followed a different viewpoint in Judaism, but when they all spoke they tended to stay in their own “corner” of belief. Towards the end, someone from the audience asked how the panel had in any way discussed bringing the Jewish Community together, when each person only spoke about their point of view, and how they used social media to support it. The response was “Well, we each show a different entry point into the Jewish Community.” I have to say this response was not so encouraging, but the truth is I am not so sure there is a way to actually Unite the Jewish Community, until everyone stops staying in their own “corners,” and starts coming together as one religion/culture (but that is for another post).

Anyway, after sitting through these sessions and much more, although I did not learn anything new per say, I did realize what had gone wrong this past summer: I had never really put my knowledge to use on a regular basis, myself. In order to be good at anything you need to practice. Well, it is not any different for using these tools. I realized I need to start promoting myself through social media, to better learn how to one day promote a nonprofit organization.

So here is to learning. Shana Tova everyone

No comments: