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Learn tips and hints to use a variety of electronic and technical equipment to enhance work with volunteers.

~ February 2009~

Social Networking for Effective Recruiting

         It seems as if every young person in the world has created a MySpace page or posted a video on YouTube.  It might surprise you that older generations are catching up with this important form of communication.  Here is a short course on social networking and resources to use in recruiting and managing volunteers of all ages.

What is social networking?

         It starts with software that enables people to connect, forming virtual communities via the computer and/or Internet. 
         The use of the software results in web sites that provide opportunities for people to interact. Visitors to sites can send emails, post comments, build web page content, take part in live chats.  These sites are sometimes referred to as “Web 2.0” and are considered the next generation of the Internet.  At first the Web did not allow direct interaction.  Social networking technology allows users to participate in a way that we couldn’t before.

Who is interested in social networking?

It may surprise you to learn that the fastest growing group of users of social networking sites is women over 40.  It was long thought that these technologies were only of interest to the young.   In reality, social networking allows anyone to receive feedback from friends, strangers, and family, those who share your passions, librarians, teachers, peers, parents, and others. The networks create a sense of community

How are social networks used?

         Perhaps the most widely publicized uses are a chat space for young people and public figures haunted by questionable videos of themselves, and as a place for those who prey on the young.  Not a very positive view.  But by far the bulk of the use of social networks are schools, libraries, and news organization who work to integrate positive uses of social networking into their programs, and services. This effort provides people the opportunity to learn how to be safe and smart when participating in online social networks. 

What are the resources?


Founded in February 2005, YouTube leads in online video as a destination to watch and share original videos worldwide.  Everyone can watch videos on YouTube.  YouTube has partnership deals with content providers such as CBS, BBC, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Group, Warner Music Group, NBA, The Sundance Channel and many more.  It is a perfect site for videos of volunteers in action.


Facebook is a social utility that connects people.  Members can upload photos or publish notes • get the latest news from friends • post videos • tag friends • use privacy settings to control who sees the information • join a network to see other people who live, study, or work in areas of interest to the individual.

Wet Paint

A Wiki site for posting information that can be edited by those you give access to. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia is an open source resource Wiki that can be edited by readers.  A personal Wiki is the same.  It could be used for volunteers to share resources, for the organization to post special information, or for people to record memories of that special day cleaning a park or building a playground.


A do-it- yourself free site to create your own Web presence.  It is free. Have you got an event going.  Here is a quick way to keep people up to date on the progress of the project and can be set up to allow for comments or questions.


Dosomething is a Web community where young people learn, listen, speak, vote, volunteer, ask, and take action to make the world a better place. Currently, only 23% of the younger generation actively volunteers. The aim of this site is to create a do something generation


del.icio.us is a social book-marking site.
» all bookmarks in one place
» bookmark things for yourself and friends
» check out what other people are book marking

Definition of Terms:

  • Blog: a web page to write journal entries, reviews, articles, and more.   Blog authors can allow readers to post their comments.  No web design knowledge is needed to create a blog.
  • Podcasts: audio files that are available for download. They are usually available for free via subscription so that you can  automatically download it to a computer or  MP3 player (like an iPOD).   
  • RSS: a way for subscribers to automatically receive information from blogs, online newspapers, and podcasts. Often available through online search engines like Yahoo or Google.
  • Social Networking: in the online world refers to the ability to connect with people through websites and other technologies, like discussion boards. 
  • Tagging: refers to the ability to add subject headings to content in order to organize information in a meaningful way and to connect to others that tag similar content in  the same way.   
  • Wiki: a collaborative space for developing web content.  No web design knowledge is needed to create a wiki.  Wikipedia is the most notable example of a Wiki.

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