Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Blogging at work as well as home

May 13, 2012

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:

An excited Western Snowy Plover at Crissy Field – Photo by David Assmann

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.

Fun with keywords

March 2, 2012

As part of my new job at Golden Gate Audubon Society, I’m in charge of the organization’s Facebook page and web site. So I’ve been poking around and gradually teaching myself about social media.

No one at GGAS had ever paid any attention to keywords — the phrases that people type into Google when they’re searching for something. Keywords are useful for organizations or businesses to know, because they allow you to tailor the writing on your web site to show up more prominently when people search for phrases related to your niche.

In the case of Golden Gate Audubon, people might be searching for our actual name. Or for something like “Bay Area bird watching.”

Google’s AdWords program lets you figure out how often people search for particular keywords or phrases. You can do this for free even if you’re not going to buy any ads from them.

So I started with phrases like “Bay Area bird watching” but then branched out just for fun. Here is how often, on average, people in the United States search for the following phrases each month:

  • Golden Gate Audubon Society – 480 searches
  • Bay Area bird watching – 140 searches
  • Bird watching – 49,500 searches
  • Ilana DeBare – 46 searches
  • Sam Schuchat – 28 searches (HA! I beat you, Sam!)
  • DeBare – 720 searches
  • Schuchat – 2,400 searches (Sam’s revenge)
  • Midlife bat mitzvah – <10 searches
  • Adult bat mitzvah – 260 searches
  • Julia Morgan School for Girls – 590 searches
  • Temple Sinai Oakland – 720 searches
I also looked up the title of my book on girls’ schools, Where Girls Come First, and found that it was generating 390 searches per month. But I suspect that number may be artificially inflated by people searching for a less pedagogical meaning of those words. Google sometimes offers you suggestions of related keyword phrases, and in this case it suggested both “ilana debare” and “orgasm games.”

In any case, this is all interesting and fun and maybe even ego-boosting — huh! 46 utter strangers are trying to find out about me every month! —  until you put in something like “Lady Gaga” and see that she incurs 5 million monthly searches.

That’s nationally.

When you look at her global figure, it’s 24,900,000.