This post is part of our Behind the Scenes @PCYI_Org series. This series gives us an opportunity to share news about the various projects we’re working on, but it’s also a chance for you to learn more about us and to ask questions and make suggestions to help improve the quality of our work. Today our post is courtesy of our Social Media Strategist and Community Manager, Alexandra.
One of the many perks of my job as a Social Media Strategist and Community Manager @PCYI_Org is that I get to connect online with a lot of wonderful people who are busy every day making our world a safer, healthier and happier place in which to live. What is even more exciting is seeing how these people are making use of new technological innovations, like mobile and social media, to further the impact of their various projects. In this sense, my role at PCYI is a beautiful marriage of my penchant for social media and and my desire to do social good.
I’ve been obsessed with social media and digital culture since I first gained by invitation-only access to LiveJournal as a preteen. I was amongst the first of my friends to start using chatrooms and chat applications like ICQ and MSN Messenger (RIP!) to talk to strangers-turned-friends from around the world, and in grade 7 I taught myself to code so I could customize my Neopets storefront and build Geocities fan pages for my favourite bands (if I recall correctly, I was really into Treble Charger).
Since then, my affinity for all things Internet-related has led me to working with a number of different organizations on various social media projects, ranging from a research project for the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission about digital media convergence trends, to helping to launch this blog at PCYI. In addition to managing PCYI’s Facebook, Twitter and blog, I’m also currently employed as a Social Media Consultant for Peel Children’s Centre where I’m helping them to figure out everything from social media policies and best practices to how and why social media might be a useful tool for helping children and youth coping with serious issues with relationships, feelings or behaviour.
When I stop for a moment and reflect on the direction my life and career have taken, I could not be more surprised, or more thankful. As a child, my career aspirations ran the gamut from first female President of the United States (never mind I’m not an American citizen!) to mental health counsellor to international aid worker. Looking back, I realise what all of these career paths had in common: they were attractive to me because they were roles that would allow me to make a positive difference in the lives of others — and I credit my parents and a series of grade A teachers for being hugely influential in making that one of my core values. Working with PCYI and PCC, I have been afforded the opportunity to support organizations that are doing really important work in the Peel community, not only for the children, youth and families directly impacted by the services offered, but for the Region of Peel as a whole. We will all benefit from having healthier children leading us into the future.
You may wondering, however, what exactly the role of a social media professional might be, and what exactly it is that I do all day! That’s a legitimate question; social media is still a relatively new sector of the economy. My primary role at PCYI is that of a community builder, which means I make connections on behalf of our organization in an effort to build up an online group of partners and friends who are invested in the work we do. This group consists of both other organizations and individuals doing similar work in our community and elsewhere around the world, as well as the families, youth and children we serve. Together, our community members share resources, good news, and support for each others’ causes — which are all things that take place offline, but which are accomplished more efficiently using social media. A community is only as strong as the people within it, and I must say the social media users I’ve engaged with on Twitter alone are a truly exemplary group of kind, supportive people. Peel is very well represented online!
Another important aspect of my job at PCYI is content curation. When former Communications Manager Suset Silva and I first sat down to discuss PCYI’s new social media strategy, we decided that our online presence would reflect our offline role as a collaborative community resource for children, youth and the people who care for them, and this is something Krista Murray, our current Communications Manager, and I continue to strive for. As such, I spend time each day searching for the best online content to share with our community. Our Twitter and Facebook pages function as resource aggregates for people looking for the latest news and online resources related to parenting, child and youth health and development, education and local events.
Finally, I also manage this blog, so if you’re interested in submitting a guest post, I would love to hear from you! This blog is intended to showcase the awesome work done by my colleagues, the members of our Youth Advisory Council, and, of course, our very important community partners, so if you have an exciting initiative to promote or some good news to share, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. And if you’re new to social media and have some questions, shoot me an email or connect with me on Twitter. I’m always happy to help! Just remember: social media is a contact sport, not a spectator sport, and the best way to learn is by diving in and experiencing it firsthand. Like me, I’m sure you’ll find the “social” aspect of social media to be a lot of fun.
Alexandra Macgregor began working in social media in 2010 as a community manager and research and design assistant for MatrixMediaFX in Kingston, ON. Since then she has worked on social media projects for the Queen’s School of Business, the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission, Empire Life Insurance, Gilda’s Club of Greater Toronto and Nexus Youth Services, among others. She loves dogs, CrossFit and the Internet. You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn or by emailing her at email@example.com.