Just Dabbling In Social Media? That’s OK.

Guest post by Brad Manilla,  let’s dabble, LLC

logosetFacebook, Twitter, Myspace, YouTube, Blogger, Digg, Flickr, WordPress, Eventful, Ning….

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The list of buzz words constantly competing for our attention seems to expand endlessly and yet is often devoid of context. Does your nonprofit need a Jaiku account? Or should you be on Twitter? What’s this thing called a “tweet?” Should I be tweeting? What do I tweet!?

Dipping your toes into the pool of social media can quickly elicit a desire to slip under the desk, assume the fetal position and rock back time to when things were simpler… and reading something included the smell of paper.

That simplicity in communication may be long gone. But in its place is something exciting: opportunity. Opportunity whose potential can be tapped through social media.

Understanding social media is much more than acquiring a firm grasp of every Web sites and widgets. To draw a simple comparison, you don’t need to be a linguist to take part in a conversation. The same is true when approaching social media.

The main concept to grasp is that social media enables conversation, which in turn builds community.

Exactly how you do it or what tools you use, do not necessarily matter. The larger issue at stake is embracing the desire to build these communities and begin experimenting with the opportunities they create.

What if you don’t have any money or really any idea of where to start? No problem. There’s a volunteer out there who does.

Why not start with our youth? These days the average child’s passage into adolescence may as well come with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. There’s an abundance of idealistic youth searching for meaning and looking for opportunities to make an impact (not to mention lots of folks who are out of work or underemployed).

So grab a volunteer and start with a Facebook page. Work with your volunteer to understand how the various tools can be utilized and begin to experiment. Don’t worry about getting everything perfect right out of the gate, just dabble.

There is no finish line in this social media race. In reality, it’s neither a marathon nor a sprint. The important thing is that you take part in the event and just start running with it.

Brad Manilla is Director of Creative Development for let’s dabble, LLC, which offers tools and services to help nonprofits tell their stories through video.

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