Yikes! It’s been two weeks since I’ve written anything here, a clear violation of the one-post-each-week goal I set when I started Midlife Bat Mitzvah two and a half years ago.
By way of explanation, I feel like I’m drowning a bit in social media right now. Probably 2/3 of my new job at Golden Gate Audubon involves social media — putting out our monthly e-mail newsletter, managing our Facebook page and Twitter feed, and managing our web site. Plus I have just set up the organization’s first blog, Golden Gate Birder, which you can view here.
The blog has taken up a huge chunk of time over the past two weeks, from working with our computer consultants, to corralling staff and volunteers to contribute, to writing some opening posts myself. But it’s also very exciting. My goal is to have a mix of personal reflections on birding and nature, news about local conservation issues, and reviews/info of use to birders. We have some very talented writers among our members (check out Phila Rogers’ post on “Birder or birdwatcher?”). And the blog gives us space to explore ideas that are too long for a Facebook post, yet not urgent enough to take up space in the newsletter.
One thing I’ve realized as I juggle all these social media is how great it is from a visual point of view to do communications for Audubon. Many nonprofits have important missions but humdrum imagery. Think about editing a food bank newsletter — lots of pictures of people putting canned food into grocery bags! Instead, I get to play with wonderful bird photos like this one that I used in an email inviting members to our annual Birdathon dinner:
Another thing I’ve realized is how this blog prepared me for my Audubon work. I started Midlife Bat Mitzvah mainly as a way to process my thoughts about my adult Bat Mitzvah and other life transitions. But it also turned out to be useful professional development for this social media-driven era.
Golden Gate Audubon’s web site and blog are built on the WordPress platform, the same one I use here. So the mechanics of creating and editing posts was familiar — more complicated than what I’d used before, but similar. Midlife Bat Mitzvah also gave me a comfort and fluency in blog writing style that has helped me get Audubon’s going. Meanwhile, Audubon’s email newsletter relies on web-based software from a company called Vertical Response, which is unrelated to WordPress yet shares conceptually-similar editing tools.
In short, I felt like I was in a midlife, mid-career limbo back in 2009 when I started this blog — finished with the imploding world of print journalism, but not sure what else I could do.
And it turned out that the tool I chose to write about that limbo, this blog, has helped me climb out of it.