Rotarian Andy Muchall a retired Special Needs teacher and Past President of the Rotary Club of Formby in District 1180 who is currently its Chair of Foundation and International. He has been a Rotarian from 2001 (with a short break) who has a sense of pride in that, despite all our inadequacies, Rotary achieves so much.
In this weekend’s edition of RotaryBlogger, Andy presents his experiences of introducing social media to his Club and to Rotary in general.
Guest Blogger – Andy Muchall
Tell me, when you enter your Rotary Club meeting, do you set your watch to a few minutes before 1989?
Why 1989? Well that was the year Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web – the Internet.
Of course this is not true of your club members (some set their watches MUCH further back than that, I hear you say). After all, it is understood that around 99% of Rotarians in the these islands have an e-mail address, even if a high proportion do not actually read e-mails (see your Club Secretary for confirmation of this fact).
Your club probably has a website, even if your tech guy is the only one who looks at it. So if your club is like mine, e-mail is probably as far into ‘social media’ as anyone really wants to go. It was therefore something of a shock when I announced about a week ago that I thought it would be a good idea if our club had a presence on Twitter. Through this blog I will share with you the general two main responses from the typical Club Rotarians that I have found when speaking of any kind of social media.
Response Number One:
“Twitter! I am not going anywhere near that thing, never in a month of Sundays, not ever, NEVER!”
Behind this comment is a veritable iceberg of fear and innuendo. The comment is made with an inherent understanding that getting involved in Twitter (and heaven forefend, Facebook) is tantamount to descending into the 9th pit of hell on the backs of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Posting anything on Facebook, even if they knew how, means that you can expect that very evening for hordes of teens and Hell’s Angels to appear on one’s doorstep asking when the Rave starts, playing deafening Hop-Hip Garage Rap to your neighbours before throwing up over the chihuahua.
Suggestions from me that with over 100 million downloads and over four million people worldwide rating Twitter as four or five out of five stars does not actually cut the mustard with the person making response one…Best to give up now.
Response Number Two:
Why would I want to join Twitter?
Now this is a very reasonable question. On a lower level that response one, there is a suggestion here of “Why would a sane, responsible person like me want to converse, even in short sentences of 140 characters or less, with depraved Premiership footballers flogging baseball caps or ex-contestants from Strictly and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here?”.
You could try to tell them that they can actually link to like-minded people and develop their interests in a friendly environment. You can even explain to them that they can be on Twitter and NEVER post a message to anyone, but this does not hide the fact that this is actually the wrong question.
What they SHOULD be asking is ‘Why should a Rotary Club want to be on Twitter?’
Now a real question for you. In the UK last year, how much money was donated on-line and via mobile phones, according to the Guardian newspaper?
- £5 million
- £50 million
- £500 million
- none of the above
The correct answer is 4). The actual amount donated was £2.6 BILLION. That is 2.6 followed by an obscene number of noughts. Fact: Twitter is on-line and on mobile phones and on-track to be a massive fundraising opportunity for organisations such as Rotary.
I know that Rotary Clubs do not exist solely to collect and distribute charity, but while you are standing this Christmas freezing by a Carol Wagon or knocking on doors for a few coppers, be aware that Twitter is one tiny cash stream that could lead your club towards a vast lake of money.
How? Twitter works in both directions. It builds links with an amazing variety of like-minded contacts and gets the Rotary message ‘out there’, but perhaps more importantly it brinks information back to you, ideas and people from outside Rotary who, having seen the Rotary message, want to talk about it and develop practical suggestions with your club of mutual benefit to them and you.
Final Point: In the same Guardian article I mentioned earlier 250 UK charities and social enterprises (like Rotary) were asked about their social media activity and of them 94% were represented on Twitter and Facebook. So is it just possible your club could be missing out on something?
You can follow Andy Muchall on Twitter @ChesterAstro
You can also follow @RotaryBlogger on Twitter