I’ve been two days in anti-hunger conferences in DC: Saturday at the National Hunger Free Communities Summit sponsored by the Alliance to End Hunger, and Sunday at the FRAC/Feeding America National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference.
I love coming to these things, not just because they’re engergizing and educational, but also because they generate connections, many of which turn into steadfast friendships. The discussion is stimulating, informed and passionate. It’s the kind of interaction that should be occuring among the issue’s most serious advocates every single day. You know, there’s technology now that allows that kind of thing.
Three years ago, all full of (perhaps naive) enthusiasm for the community-building potential of social media tools, I posed the question in this blog post, “Where’s the online discussion about hunger,” generally assuming that somewhere people were carrying on these discussions in online communities. At the time I was personally connected to online communities talking about about PR, social media, even guitar collecting (a personal hobby). So I assumed as smart and talkative as this hunger bunch was, they’d be gathering online somewhere. They weren’t. And that’s a shame.
Because this is a tremendous community. We should be connected. And I’m glad to say that in the past year or so, there have been some great strides made. Lots of passionate hunger fighters like Tim Cipriano from New Haven, Lisa Sherrill from the Bay Area, ConAgra’s Steff Childs, and the folks Share Our Strength (just to name a few) are connected with each other. Retweeting. Commenting. Sharing Content. Supporting the COMMUNITY, not just using the channels to push spam messages out.
I attended the social media session at the Hunger Policy Conference and was it was really cool to see that there’s a real interest in knowing how to use these online tools. Many out there already in the game, just looking for ways to do it better.
Can I make one suggestion: Let’s support each other. I may not be able to use my bandwidth to talk about your foodbank’s Saturday night event or things that basically have local interest. But if you have a story to tell; if you want to editorialize on one of the big issues; if you have a best practice that might be of interest to you peers around the country; by all means email me, @ me or send me a Facebook message. I’ll do my best to use the channels I have to get you heard.