Online Community Management at Wordcamp

Since joining the Steering Committee of Grey Lynn 2030 18 months ago I have been impressively up-skilled.  I put in a lot of voluntary hours into Grey Lynn 2030 but have been rewarded many times over through learning and networking opportunities, contact with inspiring people and a range of new skills. In particular I have been serving my apprenticeship in online community management.  Suzanne Kendrick and Jason Kemp have been wonderful trainers in the dynamics of social media and how it can be used as an effective tool to further the aims of a community group.

Jason is the technical guru behind the Grey Lynn 2030 website (currently organising Wordcamp) and Suzanne, Grey Lynn 2030 steering committee member (“internet original”), was the driving force to get the website established and working effectively to build a large supporter base. In a short time I’ve gone from a deluded critic of Facebook, twitter and blogging to fully embrace these tools. The conversion came for me once I understood that social media isn’t just about communicating mindless information with close friends but is another means of broadcasting through which it is possible to build an online community that translates into real results. Grey Lynn 2030 is now connected to over 1200 people on Facebook and Twitter with many more linked through our website. We have these “friends” because they are interested in what we communicate, want to support us in pursuit of our vision of a sustainable community and like to know that they can join in and take action too.

I am still very much a novice and have lots to learn about the online world so I feel very privileged that I have been asked to speak at Wordcamp with Suzanne about Grey Lynn 2030’s online community management. WordCamp New Zealand is a 2 day conference focusing on and around the WordPress platform. It is a global event that was held 49 times last year everywhere from California to China. I’m looking forward to being part of this exciting event (definitely not just for IT geeks!) and sharing the online story of  Grey Lynn 2030.

Social media will put community into the Trust

It is a challenge for an independent candidate to take part in the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust election for 5 new  trustees. The vote is held every three years.  Over 300,000 beneficiaries of the Trust can vote, and the Trust area is huge, (covering all of Auckland City, Manukau City, parts of Papakura and Waiheke Island).

Traditional methods of electioneering are impractical and expensive. Sending a flyer to every household would cost tens of thousands of dollars, and it would be mission impossible to try to face contact with all voters.  It gives a taste of what it will be like for the mayoral candidates campaigning in the Super City elections next year, as this will cover an even bigger area.

Luckily the internet and social media are powerful and inexpensive tools that give an independent candidate like me a chance in the election. They also  put community into the Trust.

I am learning that one long- standing method of campaigning – via billboards – is worthwhile, as Aucklanders spend a lot of time in their cars. From the feedback my small but stylish billboards, which started going up over the weekend, are being noticed. I just hope the saboteurs who have taken one out in a more affluent part of Auckland are not planning on striking again.  It puts extra pressure on an already hard working and loyal election team who are spending many hours out in the rain to give me a chance with the big teams.

Feel free to text me if you have a good site for one of my billboards!