Let’s Get Social (Media)…
The topic of my column as you may have guessed from the title is social media. I’m going to try and tell you everything you need to know about social media within the HGS. This is not as easy as it sounds since I am somewhat of a neophyte in this area. But, social media has become an important communication tool for HGS and the world in general.
Communication within our society has changed a great deal over time. Many of the “more mature” members of HGS, myself included, have dealt most of their career with traditional forms of communication. Things like attending meetings and conferences, telephone calls, letters and memos, and other hard copy forms of communication. In the early part of my career, few people had desktop computers. The idea of sending an email or going to a website did not exist as part of the business. Even after desktop computers started becoming common they were expensive and I distinctly remember sitting in budget meetings where each and every computer request was scrutinized to determine if the individual “really” needed a computer. My how the world has changed since that time!
If we flash forward to today most things, particularly technology, are changing faster and faster. We all use computers and the internet every day visiting websites like the HGS site regularly.
The HGS website has been in existence since the mid-1990’s and is a valuable resource for members with loads of current and historical information about the society. With the advent of more powerful computer chips and greater bandwidth, our cell phones became smartphones, and the world of information and communication has changed again. Now there are multiple social media outlets in the palm of our hand that are accessible and the HGS is no exception. Listed below are ways that you can interact with HGS in non-traditional ways.
Facebook – The HGS has been involved with social media since 2010 when the first HGS Facebook page was created. As everyone knows Facebook is a social networking site making it easy to connect and share information with your family and friends online. Facebook is the world’s largest social network with more than 1 billion users worldwide. The HGS Facebook account is not quite that big (~1525 followers) but is growing with time. There is a lot of good information and commentary and the pages are also cross-linked with a page managed by our younger members (NeoGeos). I suggest you give it a try. You can find the HGS Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hgs.org .
LinkedIn – LinkedIn is a social network for professionals who want to connect with other professionals, grow their careers, and look for new opportunities. The HGS page helps provide this link to geoscientists in the greater Houston area. The HGS LinkedIn page has over 3,450 Group members and 210 followers on the Company page. You can access the account at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/2455924/profile .
Twitter – Twitter and tweeting are about broadcasting daily short (max 280 characters) burst messages to the world, with the hope that your messages are useful and interesting to someone. This form of microblogging has become very popular with the president of our country and many others. The HGS Twitter page has almost 1,950 followers and provides lots of good commentary and links to geoscience-related articles. The site can be found at https://twitter.com/HouGeoSoc .
YouTube – YouTube was the first large-scale video sharing site on the Web and another form of social media used to communicate with HGS members. It is available in nearly every country and in over fifty different languages. The HGS began using YouTube to post videos of HGS related events in 2011 and it is a good learning resource. There are over 100 videos currently available on a wide range of subjects. Some of the videos have been viewed literally thousands of times by a very diverse audience. You can check out the videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/HGSGeoEducation.
As you can see there is a myriad of ways for HGS members and the community to interact with our organization. I encourage you to utilize these effective resources of communication.
I’d like to close by recognizing HGS volunteer Dianna Phu. Dianna was actually the instigator way back in 2010 who convinced the HGS Board that social media was an important way to communicate with members. She has been the Social Media chairman since that time and has progressively added to HGS capabilities. Dianna has also participated as a member or chairman of the Communications, Continuing Ed, Website, and NeoGeos committees. She has received numerous HGS awards and was an HGS scholarship winner when she was working on her undergraduate degree at the University of Houston. She has managed to do all of this volunteering while working professionally and raising a family! Dianna is about to go on family leave, but Lauren Robinson has agreed to step in and manage the committee in the interim. The HGS would not be successful without volunteers like Dianna and Lauren. Please let them know you appreciate their efforts when you get a chance!