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Social revolution

Social networking is fun. It’s also good for your club. Get the scoop on social networking sites that can help you organize, communicate and promote your club.

By Shanna Mooney
You already spend hours each week online at social networking sites such as Facebook and other fun Web sites like YouTube. You probably even do some club business via e-mail and texting. But did you know you can use other technology—most of it free and available online—to market and manage your club more efficiently? Try some of these social networking tools and start filling up your techie toolbox.

Digg

Where it is: www.digg.com
What it is: A place where people submit photos, news stories, blog entries, videos or anything else they find on the Web that’s interesting. If enough other users “Digg” what you post, it will be moved to the main page where the world can enjoy it.
How it can help your club: Don’t be shy—share a photo and story of your latest service project.
Tips:
• Make sure the photo rocks.
• Tell your club—and everyone you know—to Digg it and add comments so more people will discover what Key Club is all about.
• Make your description fun, short and lively and use common key words that people might use when they search.
• Connect Digg and Facebook.
Similar sites: Mixx, Newsvine, Fark, StumbleUpon

Facebook

Where it is: www.facebook.com
What it is: The social networking site used by everyone from your best friend to your grandma.
How it can help your club: So many ways. From simple communication to marketing your club to anyone who stumbles upon it. Creating a club group offers an easy way to plan service projects, brainstorm ideas or ask for advice from other members. And you can join the Key Club International group to keep tabs on and network with other Key Clubbers from around the world.
Tips:
•  “Stranger danger” applies online too. Make sure your “friends” really are friends. And don’t post personal information like phone numbers or addresses.
• Become a fan of Key Club International.
Comments: Brian Elliott Lavoie, a member of the Key Club of Lemon Bay High School in Florida, says his club’s Facebook group is indispensable.
“We use it to connect and collaborate by messaging each other,” he says. “It’s great to be able to see what other members are on Facebook. Technology has definitely influenced our club, but only for the better!”
Similar sites: MySpace, Friendster, Plaxo

YouTube

Where it is: www.youtube.com
What it is: A place to share and view homemade videos.
How it can help your club: Viral marketing—free Web traffic and instant exposure. It brings your club to life online. Be sure to embed videos of your club’s projects on your Facebook and MySpace pages as well.
Tips: Judson Laipply, a frequent guest at Key Club conventions and Key Leader events, whose “Evolution of Dance” video is the No. 1 most-viewed video of all time on YouTube, the No. 1 top-rated video and the No. 3 most-discussed video, offers these dos and don’ts for your videos.
Do:
• Adapt your story to the medium. You don’t watch a movie to see the director reading the script. Use the video to tell a story. 
• Try to hit an emotional chord. The most desired responses to your video are “funny” and “awwww.” If you can elicit either of those reactions, then you’ll have something people want to pass on. 
• Post your video everywhere. Use tags to help people find the video. Annotations also can help you link to other videos you have on YouTube as well so be sure to check out how to use them.

Don’t:
• Be a talking head. Unless you’re funny enough to be a full-time comedian or compelling enough to keep people’s attention you’ll just bore them. 
• Make it too long. Two minutes is usually the benchmark for a successful video. Attention spans are short, so your video should be too. 
• Expect your video to just go viral. Understand that there are more than 100 thousand videos being uploaded daily. 
• One more concern, from a legal standpoint: Use only podsafe music. If you intend to use music as part of your video, make sure it is not copyrighted. Search for shareable music at sites like soundclick.com or ccmister.org or, if you’ve used a popular song, try YouTube’s Audio Swap. Otherwise your YouTube posting could be subject to removal. 
• Watch a video to find out more.

JayCut

Where it is: www.jaycut.com
What it is: A quick, easy and free way to edit your videos with just a browser, a JayCut account and broadband connection.
How it can help your club: Clean up and shorten lengthy videos before posting them to gain maximum views.
Tips:
• Upload video clips from cameras, Webcams or cell phones and edit them together to make a single video.
• Videos shot from cameras will produce the best quality. So if you plan on using your video to market your club, don’t record it on your phone.
• Use Judson’s video dos and don’ts and you won’t have much editing to do!
Comments: The site’s step-by-step guide walks you through the process of editing your video.

Skype

Where it is: www.skype.com
What it is: A way to make free or low-cost video or voice calls.
How it can help your club: Saves time, money and gas—and you can still have a face-to-face meeting.
Tips:
• Do a test-run before trying to conduct a meeting using Skype.
• You may need a headset or Webcam depending on your call preference.
• Use it in conjunction with Mikogo and Yugma (see below) for Web conferences.
Comments: Oprah uses it on her show instead of bringing guests to her studio.
Similar sites: Free conference

Mikogo

Where it is: www.mikogo.com
What it is: A way to share your computer screen with others online.
How it can help your club: Makes it possible for you to walk someone through a process or go over a Key Club document on your computer.
Tips:
• Use it in conjunction with Skype.
• Include up to 10 people for free.
• People have a 15-minute window to log in to see your screen.
Comments: Go to skype.mikogo.com and set up a Web conference complete with screen sharing, voice, instant chat and video.

Yugma

Where it is: www.yugma.com
What it is: A way to have a Web meeting.
How it can help your club: It helps you have a meeting without going to a meeting. It’s especially useful when you’re talking about district meetings.
Tips:
• It’s free for up to 20 attendees.
• All meeting attendees have to register to attend free sessions.
Comments: If you just want free video calls, go to Oovoo or tokbox.

Twitter

Where it is: www.twitter.com
What it is: A quick and easy way to communicate briefly in real time.
How it can help your club: Keep club members who couldn’t attend a service project informed about what’s going on. Let others interested in your club, project or school follow your progress.
Tips:
• Be sure to set some quiet, uninterrupted times on Twitter so you can do homework. It’s easy to quickly suffer information overload.
• Create a private Twitter group, at yammer.com.
• “You can find local conversations happening on Twitter with #searches (or hashtag searches) and through Web sites like nearbytweets.com,” says Dan Finney, designer of the Key Club International Web site and self-described “tech geek.” “Be sure to follow local politicians, museums and attractions as they will refollow you and you will become visible to their followers. As you begin following people in the community and engaging them in conversation, you can begin to understand the interests and needs of that community. You can ask for help directly with tasks, invite followers to events and communicate your needs through that dialogue.”
Comments: “If you are looking to grow your network, get your club in front of local media personalities and make new connections, Twitter would probably be the best tool for that task,” Finney says.
Similar sites: Tumblr allows you to post photos and video in addition to text.

Flickr

Where it is: www.flickr.com
What it is: A way to manage and share photos and videos.
How it can help your club: If you are working on a flier to promote your next event and don’t have a photo, perhaps another member can share one. Or store all your club photos in this one place.
Tips:
• If your photos include children, or if you just prefer it, you can keep your photos private or just share with other club members.
• Encourage club members to comment on the photos to make it more fun for other users—as well as create a sort of evolving record of club activities.
Comments: “Flickr allows sharing photos with club members (privately and publicly) as well as providing photos to news media about your club’s events and community work,” says Finney.
Similar sites: Snapfish, Shutterfly, on which you can also create thank-you cards or other items featuring club photos.

Ning

Where it is: www.ning.com
What it is: A way to create your own social network.
How it can help your club: You can easily create a site and promote your club and activities to anyone who types “Key Club” into the search prompt.
Tips:
• The Key Club of West Leyden, Illinois, uses its Ning account as a full-fledged Web site. On it, members are informed about upcoming events. They can vote on ideas, plan upcoming events, post photos and comments and even find out about spastic paralysis, the club’s main fundraising recipient, via a video.
• “Ning communities are great for networking with your club, but they require some advanced setup,” says Finney. Start by choosing a club administrator for your ning account. Because you’ll want a private ning community to safeguard your network’s privacy, this administrator will set up the account, invite club members and potential members to join your ning community and approve additions to your network.

LinkedIn

Where it is: www.linkedin.com
What it is: A social networking site for your professional contacts.
How it can help your club: LinkedIn allows you to make connections with Kiwanians, advisors, teachers and local leaders. Plus, it may help you land an internship or summer job.
Tips: 
• It’s free to join the site.
• Join the Key Club International official group

Blogger

Where it is: www.blogger.com
What it is: A free site that hosts blogs
How it can help your club: Share your club’s ideas and plans for service projects, leadership opportunities, elections, etc. Or find other Key Club members and clubs and connect.
Tips:
• Customize your page with photos and videos from projects
• Respond to feedback from your readers to keep the conversation going

Get connected to the Kiwanis and Key Club social media sites.

Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/keyclub
Become a fan on Facebook:
a fan on Facebook: www.facebook.com/keyclubintnl
Join our group on LinkedIn: Key Club International official group

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