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
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