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by FRANK GAMEZ
Graphic by Patrick
Social networking sites are a part of our daily lives-whether you like it or
There are 845 million people on Facebook; the world's largest social networking
site, and the number is expected to grow to 1 billion this summer. On an average
day, there are 300 million tweets shared on Twitter, the world's second most popular
social networking site, with 400 million members and growing. YouTube, the world's
largest video sharing site, and the world's second largest search engine if you
count the number of daily search queries, receives 4 billion views a day-a whopping
1 trillion views a year! The words "tweet" and "social media" have been officially
added to the Oxford English Dictionary. When we stop and think about the scale of
these websites, it's hard to imagine a world without them. Just a few years ago,
these sites didn't exist! And this is just the beginning.
The single most important feature of social networking sites that makes them
so popular and successful is that they're free. Social media sites are great tools
for spreading a message or organizing events. The Order of the Arrow has grown significantly
in the world of social media. They've got 55,000 likes on their Facebook page:
and 1,500 followers on their Twitter:
at the time of writing, and the number is growing rapidly. They have a full-time
dedicated staff who update the sites at least once daily. Using social networking
sites is a free and effective method of getting the word out. YOU should take advantage
of these free tools, too!
Lodges can create an account on a social networking site so they can inform their
members of events and update them on any lodge news. A Facebook page and Twitter
can be very effective for communicating with large groups of Arrowmen. Lodges can
also create an account on YouTube for promotional videos.
Chapters can create an account to update members about chapter meetings, lodge
events, and other news. A Facebook group and Twitter are most efficient for medium-sized
groups of Arrowmen.
Groups for ceremonies, dance, drum/sing team, or a lodge committee can create
an account to communicate internally with their specific audience about meetings,
events, and general updates. A Facebook group and Twitter are usually the best for
small groups of Arrowmen.
The key to using these social media tools successfully relies on three basic
principles: (1) consistency, (2) content, and (3) presentation.
Everything that gets uploaded to the Internet is permanent. Social media sites
can gain huge audiences. You must be professional in your presentation: use proper
language, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Think before you post, and monitor
your site for any violations.
That being said, once a social media site is set up, it needs to be maintained.
You have to post on it regularly or your followers will ignore or, worse, stop following
your site. Inversely, you cannot overdo it and flood them with spam just as you
cannot go days without posting something. Be consistent and maintain constant contact
with your audience!
Your content must be geared toward a specific audience, and every post must be
specifically relevant to them. Be clear and concise and share only what is necessary.
Try to view your posts from your audience's perspective; make sure each post is
clear and easy to understand and, most important, that your message is successfully
conveyed in those posts.
But none of these methods work without YOU, the individual Arrowman. With parental
permission, you can create an account on a social media site of your choice and
connect with your friends and the OA at your local chapter, lodge, section, region,
and national level!
The Order of the Arrow is a youth-led organization; however, you cannot dismiss
adult supervision while creating a social media page-do not forget to check the
rules and policies of the social networking site that you use. Also, make certain
that you carefully review and adhere to the
Guide to Safe Scouting, the Language
of Scouting, and the OA Branding and Style Guide. More information can be found
www.scouting.org/marketing and www.oa-bsa.org.
The guidelines for the Order of the Arrow's Social Media Policy may be found
here: Link to the Official OA Social
Facebook is a trademark or registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.
Twitter is a trademark or registered trademark of Twitter, Inc.
YouTube is a trademark or registered trademark of YouTube, LLC.
Oxford English Dictionary is a trademark or registered trademark of Oxford