Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: CPS – Social Media

Lessons Learned
Professionalism: Getting Your Hands Dirty
I have had my fair share of professional experience. At the positions I have held I started off at entry level, working my way up. I believe that this is the best route to go, especially if you plan on serving in a managerial or leadership capacity. I like to think of this process as getting your hands dirty. Once you get your hands dirty at all levels whether it is washing dishes and sweeping or distributing mail and shredding paper, you get a better feel of the organization as a whole. When you understand the functions and frustrations of employees at all levels you can better empathize with your colleagues. I guess what I am getting at here is that since my position is a bit different than that of my colleagues, being that I do not work with professors or students, I am having a little bit of difficultly understanding some of their frustrations with their positions. I am not at all questioning their validity; I would just like to be of more assistance. My goal this month is to learn as much as I can from each of the VISTA’s and their work at their individual sites. So I can better understand and appreciate the uniqueness of each position, in turn building a tighter connection with the members I serve with.

Communication: Taking the Bull by the Horns
I have always considered myself a skilled communicator. I feel being a Communication major in college only supported this notion. My experience serving here, however has taught me a few more valuable lessons in the world of communication. It is funny to look back and reflect on the various Communication courses I complete throughout my collegiate career: Language and Communication Theory, Organizational Communication, Interpersonal Communication, and so on.  Yet, the most important (and simplistic) lesson I learned was from my work here: Communication is a two way street. I came to this conclusion after experiencing some frustration when communicating tasks and assignments with a few colleagues. I have learned that to be a successful communicator you cannot remain passive in dialogue. Sometimes you have to step out and ask for clarification. I have also realized that there are certain situations that may require one to be more assertive than usual. This is especially true in the professional world. This is a bit more difficult for someone like me who is use to being a bit more quiet and submissive – at least in the workplace. This is yet another reason I am grateful for my time serving here as a VISTA. I believe this experience will help strengthen my professional abilities in future endeavors.        

Social Media: Insights
Thus far, I have learned a lot about the world of Social Media especially in terms of its placement in the nonprofit sector. As a proponent, I believe the advantages are immense. However, as with any technological invention or advancement, I must lend some kind of consideration to those that may not be welcoming it (technology) with open arms. Yes, it is true that there are certain risks involved with adopting certain practices. And yes, there are certain expenses that small nonprofits may not be able to budget into their business costs. But the truth is technology is here to stay. I strongly believe that those businesses, organizations, or individuals that are fighting it may not only be at a severe disadvantage, but left out in the cold completely. Now is the time to get on board. Now is the time to embrace. More specifically, Social Media is changing the world of technology. This concept of Web 2.0 is seemingly simple, yet is evolutionary for those that embrace it correctly and manage to successfully implement it into their marketing and outreach campaigns. Before the development of various social media platforms, internet activities consisted mostly of reading, browsing, and viewing. Now users can develop their own content, write, share, and create communities. Users have a voice! In terms of a business model this is a great advancement. Customer/consumer feedback is key. Corporations spend millions of dollars a year devising systems to collect and analyze consumer feedback. These tools are here and ready for you to use now – and best of all, they are virtually free!  -Dominica Garza, AmeriCorps VISTA Member

To learn more about Dominica’s work with the Tulane University Center for Public Service, email her at: mediavista@tulane.edu

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Notes from the field from the AmeriCorps VISTA team at Tulane University.

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