Saturday, November 16, 2019

Movement Building - Afterschool Conference and More

Yesterday I attended the Afterschool Development Conference in Chicago, along with about 100 other people.  A video in the introductory session talked about the importance of afterschool youth development programs and the urgency of improving the funding stream. The keynote speaker, Dr. David J. Chard, of Boston University, furthered the idea of network building in his comments.

The hashtag #2019afterschooldevelopment was shared on the screen throughout the conference.  Below is one Tweet that I posted:

If you look for other Tweets using that hashtag, there is only one.  If we depend on those already doing this work to help amplify the message of afterschool development and attract new supporters, I feel we must encourage more to use Twitter. Hopefully in coming days there will be more Tweets that share ideas from the conference.

The lack of Tweets by people in the Afterschool Development Conference is not unique. Below I've posted Tweets from a few other events that are important to youth development, tutoring and mentoring.  I encourage you to click on the hashtag and see who else is using it.  Then you can even add your own comments or reTweet posts that  you feel are important.

#EveryKidConnected - Chicago Mayor Lightfoot's youth development initiative

The Metropolitan Planning Council hosted an event on Sept. 19 using #MPCLuncheon. Here's a Tweet I posted:

City Club of Chicago host several luncheons each week, which are live streamed using the #talkcityclub hashtag. This is one of my posts.

This year's #ObammaSummit offered another opportunity to draw people together on Twitter. Here's a post I shared:

Here's a post where I encourage programs that use Facebook to also use Twitter:

Below you can see a concept map that I created to enable me to re-visit past conversations. Some are not updated since being held one or more years ago. However, others have new posts.  All enable you to scroll through the list of Tweets and expand your knowledge base and your network.

Open cMap to click into each Hashtag

I use Linkedin and Facebook, along with Pinterest, YouTube and a small amount of Instagram.  I promote the use of Twitter because it's the only one that enables you to search a hashtag, or a list, to narrow your focus on people and conversations that interest you.

Below is a screenshot showing the some of the people included on my list of Chicago and national Tutor and/or Mentor programs.

Many people use Twitter lists. Thus, if you see someone who shares information you're interested in you might look at the lists on their profile to see if there are other people you want to connect with.  I don't think the other social media platforms offer these features, which are really important if your goal is to build a movement, connecting all stakeholders in the ecosystem, to each other and to you and your ideas.

You can be the blue box in this graphic
The graphic at the left visualizes the idea I'm sharing.  As more people use Twitter and other social media to attract people "who can help" to "libraries of information, including maps and program directories" they can draw volunteers, donors and other needed resources directly to every youth program in Chicago or in other places.  This is more than drawing people together to discuss ideas. It's an every day attempt to provide needed resources for people to put the ideas to work.

There's a downside to Twitter.  Some of the more high profile hashtags, such as ObammaSummit, attract spammers and haters.  This is a negative of all social media.  I ignore them and look for the value in the conversation, rather than the negatives.

To summarize: Twitter can be a powerful network-building tool, but you have to use it. If you review the hashtags in my concept map, you'll see that few have a history of drawing participants from events like the Afterschool Development Conference into on-going, on-line, network building.

Here's one last Tweet I'd like to point to.
The Schott Foundation uses their newsletter and blog to share Twitter accounts of a small group of people they follow.  If every foundation who funds youth development and tutor/mentor programs in Chicago did this consistently I feel we'd draw more programs to Twitter, and be able to do more work to attract consistent resources and help programs grow in more places.

Thanks for reading. I hope you'll share this on Twitter and connect with me @tutormentorteam.

If you appreciate the ideas I share, consider sending a contribution to help me pay the bills. 

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