Communicating on a Gap Year – Connecting Through Social Media

1 Feb
Katie McQuillan

Katie McQuillan

Being on a gap year, I’m working at Navajo Talk, travelling, meeting new friends and establishing good relationships away from home. I’m planning to head to Tanzania in April, it’s with Tear Fund and I traveled from Belfast to Birmingham to meet the other volunteers.

Constant Contact

There are 10 of us and we are all from different areas of the UK. Planning for a trip like this, takes a lot of organisation and co-operation, from the charity and the volunteers. How did we decide to keep in contact? Easy, Facebook every time! Everyone just assumed that the whole group had Facebook and that it would obviously be the best way to communicate. Setting up a group allows our team to communicate easily and quickly, it also isn’t giving out your mobile number or anything too personal too soon.

When we talked about this in the office, some of the older staff – pretty much the rest of Navajo – were reminiscing about travelling in the days before Facebook. Postcards were mentioned. It sounds quaint, but Facebook is just much easier, quicker and better.

Charity Begins with Social Media

During our orientation the charity encouraged us to use social media, throughout our preparation and out on the actual trip. This shows the power of social media, spreading the news about our charity work may influence others worldwide to choose to spend their time doing something like that. So they encourage us to use it! Social media and charity go hand in hand really. Charities aim to spread the word about a movement that will make a change in the world and social media provides an easy and quick tool to connect with a large group of people and influencers.

There are loads of examples of great social media work being done by charities across the world a few of them are at the end of this blog. If you know of any of other good ones, post a link below or at our Facebook page or Google+ page so we can share them.

My Birmingham trip just made me think about how Facebook in particular has become such an integral part of everyday life for my generation. We rely on it as a tool, to connect with new friends, keep in touch with old friends, organise our social lives and keep a memory of your own life via a timeline filled with pictures, posts, links and status updates. Hopefully I’ll have some amazing pics coming from Tanzania this spring!

Some Examples

Love Everybody – “Changing the world one moment at a time” with their CCTV video.

Salvation Army – Using Thunderclap to harness the power of social media and send thousands of supporting tweets at the same time.

War Child – Produced a hard hitting video to highlight the issue of child soldiers in Africa.

Katie McQuillan

You can follow Katie while she’s at Navajo or on her gap year on Twitter.


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