I just got back from some extended travel in California where I met with some fellow AmeriCorps*VISTAs and, among other things, discussed how we could get our AmeriCorps social networking website growing even faster. Right now the site has over 300 registered users, which is pretty good for a six month old baby.
Most importantly, we’re working on stepping up our outreach. Unlike what some of the hype may tell you, social networking website don’t build themselves. If you build it, they won’t come, at least not if you don’t tell anyone about.
Outreach is key, and unfortunately it usually means a change of strategy. We’re building our networks online because it’s cheap real estate, but on the internet you can’t shout very far and most people are deaf. If you’re trying to get in front of someone’s face (or next to their ear), putting something on the internet is probably the worst way to go about it.
Physical objects are best, so I’m in the process of designing a postcard to mail out to AmeriCorps host organizations.
Also, because MeetAmeriCorps.com already has so many members across the country, we can have them lend a hand too in outreach activities. That’s always a benefit of working with AmeriCorps: we love to help.