For the last five courses in Algonquin College’s Social Media program, we’ve studied how to use online marketing and social media in our professional and private lives and networks. We’ve written plans and strategies and studied how to best reach our target audiences. I’ve combined my past experience with my newfound skills in my paid work, in my volunteer work and to some degree, in my personal life. But never in my wildest dreams did I expect the Mamaqtuq Nanook Cooking Club to become so popular because of the reach of social media.
I started the club because I wanted to give other kids access to the same cooking skills I had been teaching my son since his birth.
My son’s school was receptive to the idea. I sought and found funding and launched the program. Three years later, volunteers are calling us to come and teach cooking lessons, offering up donations and services, and talking about our program on Facebook and Twitter.
I’ve received an award for the club, been invited to sit on panels, been interviewed by academics and media organizations, and been approached repeatedly for advice to set up similar clubs in other communities. Our cooking club kids were invited to give flowers to Prince Charles and Lady Camilla and most recently, we’ve been asked to write a cookbook/how-to cooking club manual. Without the reach of Facebook and Twitter, this would not have been possible.
Sure, I knew that Facebook and Twitter would help me keep parents informed and would help get the word out about our program, but the way the program was embraced by the community caught me off guard. I was confident that my hard work and creativity would see the club through its inception and carry it along for a few years, but I was completely unprepared for the unexpected success that now requires me to remain committed to it for the foreseeable future.
So now what? I’m on sabbatical this year for health reasons, which gives me a year to write the cookbook and plan out the strategy for the evolution of the club. I’ve been approached by a parent who wishes to continue the club in my absence and while I’m happy to have that happen, I need to be careful about how the club moves forward. One thing is certain: I will continue to embrace the power and reach of social media to continue the conversation about the Mamaqtuq Nanook Cooking Club.