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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why I became a NetSquared Volunteer Community Manager?

It all began with me deciding to attend one of Vancouver’s local NetSquared Meet-ups organized by Eli Vander Giessen. It was an amazingly informative workshop featuring Brady Josephson sharing his expertise on A Practical Guide to A/B Testing for Non-profits. As I wasn’t familiar with NetSquared I did some research and soon discovered that it is a network run by volunteers who are dedicated to helping create local opportunities for learning, sharing and using technology to make a difference. Before long I found myself helping Eli as a Co-organizer and community manager back in March 2013 and have continued to be involved to this day!

Here are the reasons why I’ve continued to be a volunteer with Eli and NetSquared.

1)   Developing your Relationship Building skills

Being a volunteer community manager has allowed me to refine one of the most important skills to have in life, how to build relationships.  When you focus on helping individuals develop strong mutually valuable relationships within the community, you’ll start seeing increasing regulars, advocates and supporters.
Not only do I make new friends at the NetSquared Vancouver monthly events and workshops but I’ve also over time been able to develop a network featuring experts ranging from social media to digital storytelling, online strategy and etc. A lot of these personal relationships once developed can stay with you long into the future.
You never know where new connections can lead you, here is a story that one of our attendees shared with us about the power of connections:
"I've been super busy starting my social website for community sharing but the last few months is been a pretty amazing journey. From attending a Net Tuesday event I connected with someone from Car Surfing which started the conversation that had me end up meeting with companies like Google and Facebook in San Francisco the same time as the "finding your story" event. I was also just confirmed to speak at We Day Vancouver on October 18. That one simple Net Tuesday night has done a lot for me!"

-Daniel Dubois, Director at The Collaborative Project”

2)   Skill development

An added benefit of being a part of the NetSquared Network is that I never stop learning new skills because of our monthly workshops and events. As a volunteer community manager I’ve personally been able to apply the knowledge gained from the workshops to create some of the NetSquared digital content. From creating online comics with Chogger, to hosting twitter conversations on community building and using Storify; being a volunteer community manager has been a fantastic way to express some of my creativity and have some fun.

3)   Contributing to your local community

Lastly, being a part of NetSquared means that I get an opportunity to give back to the local community. In 2013 we held 42 events and delivered workshops to a record 1316 attendees. We were able to bring together a lot of partners to help a large community of people in very unique ways. For example, We partnered with social media experts from HootSuite, Epicentr and The Social Media Network and dress them up as “surgeons” to provide local invited non-profits to come be diagnosed. The social media “surgeons” then analyzed or provided consultation to the non-profits to help them get started or with their questions and current social media challenges.

The benefits of being a community manager

I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into when I first started but it’s been a great experience with NetSquared. The benefits of being a volunteer community manager is that it helps you further extend and build your personal network and continuously developing new skills. Lastly, you get to do all of that while giving back to the community at the same time.

By Stevie Vu
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