When I joined Rotary at 27 years, I thought I was joining a local Club in Aylsham, Norfolk, that did local things and it would help me make community contacts for the work I was doing. I had no idea I was joining an international organisation in over 200 countries with 1.2 million members. For many years I went on believing Rotary was a local thing throughout many of our towns in the UK. I had ideas I wanted to share with them and I wanted to help in how Rotary moved forwards.
So when someone outside Rotary many years later invited me to join Facebook, my Rotary combined with Social Media took on a real new journey and experience. My world became that much smaller and Rotary that much more exciting.
I was so surprised to find on Social Media Rotarians who thought the same as me, that the organisation needed to modernise and do different things. I found new friends and opportunities, I learnt about different cultures and I could share lots of experiences. Yes fellow Rotarians laughed, some asked how can you be friends with people you haven’t met and others thought as me as just odd.
The President of my then club had the idea of twinning with a Rotary Club in another country, I said I can help with my contacts on Social Media and I did. The Rotary Club of Swindon twinned with the Rotary Club of Degerfors and some fantastic trips to Sweden came about. My Facebook friend Rotarian Karin Janson, enabled so many friendships, adventures and experiences to happen. Next came our adventure with Karin to go to a Rotary International Convention in New Orleans. Meeting with 20,000 Rotarians was a wonderful experience, learning about new projects, visiting the House of Friendship, Russian Rotary parties and the icing on the cake was learning more about eRotary and how these Clubs were formed.
Definitely Social Media linked to Rotary was broadening my opportunities, extending my experience and widening my network, I had a family spread right across the globe and life was exciting. From Italy with Luisa, to Canada with Joan, to meeting Mel in LA and Christina in Melbourne. Who would have thought in my life time I would see the Opera House in Sydney and meet Galina in Singapore. No, Social Media is not Make Believe if it is linked to Rotary, it is an opening to the world.
Still many more people to meet, I urge you all to use the network that Rotary International linked to SM gives you, to network with so many wonderful people, to visit and know you have family in some wonderful parts of the world. Use the SM networks to help promote the work of Rotary International, learn what others are doing, link up for business purposes. Yes, Rotary is a gateway to helping to change our world, how we understand and develop friendships to bring about greater understanding and peace.
Do visit this video as it sums up my excitement of Rotary linked to connecting with the world. Yes, eRotary makes my world smaller, makes it a really exciting place to be part of and living on.
Thanks to all my Rotary friends and family world wide who have inspired this article and my continued enthusiasm to make our world a better place.