About Dan

Dan Weir is the Director of Camping Services at Frost Valley YMCA, a host on the CampHacker Podcast, sports a beard, online way too much. He writes about summer camp and youth development.  He tweets (look below!) at @danlovescamp.

Dan Weir also writes at Unplug at Camp!

 

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Saturday
Dec052009

Why camp directors are frustrated with social media

The most reoccuring conversation I have with camp directors in regards to technology are their frustrations with it constantly evolving.  Directors feel once they get a grip on a website (Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, and now Twitter), their campers and staff are onto the next craze. 

I feel like I'm crushing their dreams of being on top of every aspect of the web when I explain how this will always be an issue for them.  The camp directors that view this as a frustration need to accept that this is one of the principles behind the success of web 2.0- youth always want to be on/in/part of the next cool thing. 

Blogs have been around for years with websites livejournal.com in the 90s. Social networks like Friendster and Myspace were popular for years before camps started using them.  Now a MySpace profile is a staple for any band trying to succeed. Facebook should have hit its tipping point by now, but they allowing 3rd parties to create applications.  With new games like FarmVille and countless surveys, Facebook has allowed for the site to be constantly reinvented. Camps are starting to realize the power behind twitter, but most haven't figured out to use it.  Google Wave is the newest site to make some tech challenged directors scream "no more!" while they take comfort that most users can't figure out how to use it.

The important thing for camp directors to remember is that websites will come and go.  The bare minimum a director should do is visit the site to see what people are saying about their camp.   It is neglectful to not look their camp up because it's "too challenging" or "takes too much time."  Camp directors need to practice what they preach to their campers afraid to try a game or taste a new food, let your guard down and try something new. There are tons of resources available.  Books, articles, professionals that can be hired with glowing references.  The best resource though is their campers and staff-  the ones who wrote about their camp in the first place.

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