Run your own so­cial group

Rosie Hat­ter­s­ley looks at how to make more of your hobby group by blog­ging, us­ing so­cial me­dia and dis­cus­sion tools

Mac Format - - SOCIAL SOCIETY -

Lots of us have hob­bies and pas­times, whether they be book clubs, craft clubs and sports clubs. If you run such a group, keep­ing ev­ery­one posted about meet­ings and spe­cial events and at­tract­ing new mem­bers can take up more time than par­tic­i­pat­ing. But if you turn your group into a com­mu­nity, mem­bers will start to do their part in or­gan­is­ing events, telling each other about what they’ve been up to and new projects you can all work on. The group can take on a life of its own, mak­ing it more fun for ev­ery­one. If oth­ers can see you’re an ac­tive group, they’re more likely to want to join, solv­ing the prob­lem many groups have in at­tract­ing ‘fresh blood’.

For a group to thrive, you need to make mem­bers feel as though they have a stake in its run­ning, and to feel like a ‘proper’ club, you want mem­bers to chat about it to each other out­side of meet­ings. There are lots of web-based tools you can use to foster group com­mu­ni­ca­tion and strengthen its links. If you’ve al­ready got a group go­ing but want to strengthen the bonds be­tween mem­bers, con­sider a com­bi­na­tion of on­line tools. You can set up a (free) Face­book page and add con­tact de­tails, pho­tos and a de­scrip­tion of what your group.

Shar­ing is car­ing

Although you might set up a blog and a Face­book page, other group mem­bers might take it upon them­selves to add more means of shar­ing de­tails of the group. They might men­tion it on their per­sonal blog or Twit­ter feed, post pho­tos on Face­book and Flickr and so on. If some­one’s clearly adept at so­cial me­dia, in­vite them to run your Twit­ter feed or up­load pho­tos from your meet­ings for ev­ery­one to see.

In­creas­ing your com­mu­ni­ca­tions and reach­ing out to group mem­bers is a great way of build­ing bonds, so long as you demon­strate that you want to in­clude them and wel­come their in­put. An on­slaught of ex­tra com­mu­ni­ca­tion can get an­noy­ing, so make sure you don’t go over­board with it, though!

How­ever, don’t ex­pect peo­ple to dis­cover all th­ese new tools for them­selves. You could men­tion the new ways of stay­ing in touch as part of a reg­u­lar mail­ing list mes­sage as well as a post on the web­site. Try to en­thuse ev­ery­one about the great new ways you’ve got of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with each

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