As an Akvo newbie, one thing I have noticed is the organization’s devotion to two things: transparency and Twitter.
Transparency is critical to all aspects of our operations, but right now I am thinking specifically about how we communicate to the world outside of our organization. And that’s where Twitter comes in.
I’m ashamed to admit it, after so many years of working in technology, but I have had a Twitter account for years and I have only just discovered how to use it in a way that is meaningful to me. And it was my induction at Akvo that really got me to spend more time on it (or ANY time on it, for that matter).
On my first day, it was noted by a colleague that I had exactly one Tweet in my history. By contrast, I noticed one of my colleagues had over 30,000. Clearly, I needed to step up my Twitter game.
My colleagues tweet candidly and often, sharing photos they’ve taken on the road, posting links to new videos on our YouTube playlists, links to our blog updates, or just giving a view into their workdays or personal lives. They do this without having to clear the content with a central Communications traffic cop, or “branding police” and we stream the team Twitter feed on our Akvo.org website. It is refreshing to be part of an organization that is so open.
In fact, my observation has been that Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, and our own blog have all been very useful channels in providing a clear view to what we are doing at Akvo.
On the flipside, it got me thinking about whether we are as devoted to Facebook. Personally, though I ignored my Twitter account from the day I created it, I’m an avid Facebooker (congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Zuckerberg!) and I have been for years. So now I am looking at how, as an organization, we can step up our Facebook game.
Having only used Facebook as a personal tool, I wonder – how can Facebook be a meaningful tool for companies to communicate out to the world?
I start by thinking about which organizations communicate effectively on Facebook. But my thoughts very quickly trail off to how individuals use it. For example, many people use their status updates to comment on trending news that they find interesting. These days, I get more breaking news from Facebook than I do from CNN.com, which is my homepage. Some people post only the most insightful observations or critical milestones in their lives (“It’s a boy!”). Others post a virtual play-by-play of their day (“Emily is…doing laundry…Emily is…popping out for a coffee…”).
So what makes us tune in?
According to Inside Facebook, the second fastest growing Facebook page this week (behind Facebook for Mobile Phone) belongs to musician Rob Zombie.
Who knew there were so many heavy metal fans in the world, let alone on Facebook. But what is setting Rob Zombie apart? A quick glance at his page reveals that he (or his webmaster) shares tour photos and press clippings – standard fare – but he also posts fan reviews, fan poll results and quotes of the week. So it’s not all about him.
The most engaging Facebook page this week (as measured by the number of comments)? Something called PlayUp Cricket. I’m not familiar with this organization (I can hear my friends in the UK booing all the way from Brooklyn), but since their page garnered more comments this week than pages for Lady Gaga or Barack Obama, I’m thinking I should be.
I guess my first takeaway is that, whether you are an individual or an organization, when it comes to Facebook, it’s great to be open and share what you are doing but it is sometimes even better to listen.
What makes you tune in? Share your opinion on your favorite Facebook pages here, or on our Facebook page.
Emily Armanetti is communications manager at Akvo, based in New York City.