Rotarians make good use of social media
The Palais des congrès de Montréal will be the site of breakout sessions and the House of Friendship during the 2010 RI Convention. LinkedIn members are using social media to locate other Rotarians planning on attending the convention. Marc Cramer/Palais des congrès de Montréal
Worldwide, Rotarians are finding ways to use social media to build fellowship and get new ideas about running their clubs.
Some Rotarians have begun using Rotary International’s official LinkedIn group to identify other Rotarians who are planning to attend the RI Convention in Montréal, Québec, Canada, 20-23 June.
Keith Tsukishima, a member of the Rotary Club of Richmond, B.C., will be going to his fifth RI Convention this year. Tsukishima recently asked other members of the LinkedIn group whether they would be attending, and more than 50 people responded.
"Rotarians communicating -- whether on social networking sites, or face to face, or at their meetings -- is like glue," Tsukishima says. "Sharing Rotary with others fosters more interest and promotes the diversity of this amazing organization."
He says he is looking forward to the convention as a chance to meet new friends and discover opportunities in Rotary. He is encouraged by the effectiveness of social media.
"Perhaps we are all trying to find more commonalities and want to belong to something meaningful," he says. "Meeting all these folks online puts faces and personalities into the picture. No longer are we just 1 of 1.2 million Rotarians. These are real people, with real ideas, real and sometimes different thoughts. These discussion groups cross age barriers, geographic barriers, gender barriers, and cultural barriers."
Dave Getz, a member of the Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg-North, Pennsylvania, USA, will be attending his second convention. He also went to the 2007 RI Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.
"One thing I have enjoyed about Rotary is the opportunity to meet other Rotarians," he says. "Meeting those with whom I share something in common, whether it be the fellowship of musicians or a LinkedIn group or someone who shares my classification, enhances my Rotary experience."
Getz says the LinkedIn group has helped him this year in his role as club membership chair. He received valuable insights from group members on induction ceremonies, including one idea from a Ukrainian Rotarian. "We are hosting an exchange student from Ukraine this year, which made that especially meaningful," he says.
John Fortney, of the Rotary Club of Toronto, will be going to his seventh convention in eight years. He says more than 80 members of his club, as well as Rotaractors, are planning to attend. He is most looking forward to the fellowship, and he has some advice for fellow Rotarians on what to do: "If any of you are going to the province of Québec for the first time, treat yourselves to a side trip to Québec City. It is the only walled city in North America and is over 400 years old. You will swear you are in Europe."
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