Sunday, March 8, 2009

Social Media and Workforce Boards

I'm blogging from the National Association of Workforce Boards annual conference in Washington DC this week.

I learned an interesting statistic today: 100 new non-profits are created everyday(!), each advocating for an issue and marketing their mission. For workforce development to stand out in such a crowded environment, it's becoming increasingly important to broaden communication platforms from verbal and written to include virtual. Worksystems recently jumped into the social media pond by launching this blog and starting a Twitter account but we weren't sure how to best utilize these communication tools to promote our mission.

I attended a session this morning discussing this very issue. Social media can be very effective at enhancing the traditional roles of workforce investment boards and workforce development agencies. As an information clearinghouse, we collect lots of data, best practices, policies, and trends. Social networks allow us to cast the data net wider and listening tools like RSS feeds, Google Alerts and Twitter keep our ears to the virtual ground. We know that workforce development cannot be done in a vacuum so building strategic partnerships and mobilizing stakeholders is critical. Social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn allow us to collaborate with virtual communities. YouTube can be used to put a "face" on workforce development to tell the stories of the people who benefit from the system (I'm buying a flip camera as soon as I get home). Still more tools like blogs and online forums give us the ability to engage people in conversation and hear their opinions.

The options are overwhelming! I'm very interested in hearing from other workforce development professionals who are using social media. Which tools have you found most effective?


Bronwyn said...

Thanks for the write-up, Tricia.

I love my Flip video camera, BTW.

Tricia said...

I'd love to hear more about how you're using the technology!

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