Why we can’t afford to ignore social media

Interactors during a photo break at the Rotary Convention in Sydney, Australia.

Interactors during a photo break at the Rotary Convention in Sydney, Australia.

By Marilyn Axler, a member of the E-Club of South Jersey, and Rotary Global History Fellowship board member

I have been using social media to promote Rotary for three years now, posting on LinkedIn and other platforms to connect with others and share Rotary’s message. From time to time, I hear from members who are uncomfortable with social media. They say they feel it is invasive and they bring up concerns for privacy and safety.

Could it be that they are also afraid to embrace change? I agree the telephone is still the best way to communicate sometimes. But social media is clearly where it is at for younger people. Can we really afford to ignore the “new age of communications?”

I recently participated in Rotary’s Webinar, Membership: It’s Now or Never, where I learned that only a small percentage of our members are under the age of 40. How are we going to reach these younger generations if not through social media? Are we looking to our future?

Each social media platform is different. I like to use LinkedIn because it allows me to connect with other professionals from all over the world. I also use Facebook, Bing, and Google when I can. I have connected with thousands through social media. I learn from Rotaractors and Interactors about their projects, their important celebrations, and their fundraisers. This is their medium, and the reach is limitless.

My point and passion is this: we must prepare out clubs for the future. And we can do this by working with Rotaractors and Interactors, learning to use social media in all its power to promote Rotary. We are doing this in the Rotary Global History Fellowship. We work with Rotaractors who are sharing their ideas with Facebook friends worldwide. And I am so impressed with their enthusiasm for Rotary.

We must mentor our youth to become our leaders of today. And social media is the way to engage them.

17 thoughts on “Why we can’t afford to ignore social media

  1. Hello dear Marilyn!

    I’m Maria, and I’ve found your post extremely interesting and up-to-date.
    Some clubs (including mine) have members whose age are over 65 and they reject the idea of using new technologies, including the electronic mail. Some other members with the same age (or even older) are so fond of using social networks because they consider they are “in fashion”!
    I believe Rotary, same as many other institutions, has to open to this, not only to recruit new members but also to keep alive. We have to keep moving and advancing.
    Smiles from Argentina, Maria :)

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  2. Hi Marilyn
    Really enjoyed your article and your thoughts. We are an E-CLUB and our members are all social media versatile , well lets say most of them, our membership age is a long stretch. But there is one thing that we never should forget that also not social media versatile our older members have contributed so much to Rotary and in our E-Club of South Africa One have made the difference to our community projects no not by social media communication but by internatiial personal connections. Don’t disregard the the older generation , they work in their ” silent way” without modern technology. and I think that our new modern on technology generation can learn a lot from their efforts of just getting on and do the job, which I must say has not impressed me at all of Rotary commitment by the ipad or whatever gadget generation
    .Just my thoughts to your yes thought provocing article ,

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do appreciate the older generations. That is why I link Rotary Global History Fellowship in my article. What I learned from “Membership Now or Never” is the opposite side of the equation which is what percentage is over 60 and you will learn that is high. It’s time to include the young. Please listen to the Webinar. It is available in Spanish.

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  3. Pingback: Why we can’t afford to ignore social media | Warsaw Rotary , Club 3393, District 6540

  4. And don’t forget that there are individuals in each Zone that are ready and willing to assist Clubs and Districts with aspects of Social Media and Rotary; they are known as Rotary Public Image Coordinators (RPIC) and Assistant RPICs, of which I am one. But, too few Districts and Clubs take advantage of the resources available.

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  5. Hi Marilyn, I agree whole-heartedly with you. When I wrote about community and Rotary on my personal blog, I got the message out to only a few people. It is new to me to blog and I am building my readership. There are so many blogs and so many voices and it can be confusing to filter them! Then, a fellow Rotarian suggested my blog to Rotary Voices, and the message went out to over 1,000 people! This is the power of Rotary coupled with new technology. I felt empowered and hopeful and others related to what I was writing about belonging. My 23-year-old daughter is in charge of social media for a website, Makers.com, that promotes the contributions of women. This is her world now and I hope at some point she will consider being in Rotaract or later, a Rotarian. As a 54-year-old, I am humbled to be learning new ways of communicating. Thanks for your words of wisdom.

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    • I am actually from the “baby boom” and “hippie” generation. I am also part of a generation that grew up in the youth movement of the 60′s. I took part in a cultural summer exchange with Arabs and Israelis. My mission is to take it further through Rotary and connect our youth worldwide.

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  6. Même si je ne suis pas fan des réseaux sociaux, ou que je comprends que partiellement leur intérêt il indiscutable que leurs intérêts sont réel.
    Even if I am not a fan of the social networks, or even if I understand that partially their interest he(it) indisputable that their interests are real.?

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  7. Hello! That’s my district 9710 in the photo. I agree with everything you say we must engage with our young ones otherwise Rotary won’t be around in years to come. Our club uses social media but only a few members are driving it. All the best!

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    • I took this picture at the Sydney Convention, I also have a picture of Rotaractors from Taiwan. They did not use it on the blog. You can see it on my Facebook Page.

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  8. No – we can not ignore social media. When I published my book “All The Steps I Have Taken” I took a very big step and spent a lot of money to learn to facebook, blog and Twitter. At age 66 I am still learning every day. I am a long way behind what the world is doing but I try very hard to keep up. I am so happy for my grandchildren that are willing to help when I need help. I can call my publisher, Inspiring Voices, and they can help and I just keep trying to learn something new all the time. You go kids. Your the next generation to keep this world going and you do it anyway you can. BUT PLEASE put them down when you are in a room of people you should be visiting with,

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    • Kids? No children does even apply. We all possess the spirit of Rotary. In this “New Age of Communications” we are all able to connect with each other. We all must grasp that we are ALL working on the future of Rotary. I am 64 and still and still wish to learn more to make a change through Rotary.

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