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Is Social Media a Community Killer? YPOW defies that notion.

BY ASHLEY VELEZ

Social media has created new means of social interactions in ways that most people couldn’t fathom 20 years ago. It often gets a bad rap, but when used for good, social media allows us to share details and events of our lives, engage and exchange ideas on personal opinions, and ideally, offers potential for making new friends. For the Young Professionals of Woodstock (YPOW), we defy the notion that social media reduces the strength of our community. We believe social media is our way to share important announcements and life updates, and allows us to connect with people we see at weekly morning networking, EmPOWer, and Sneak Peek events. As an organization, we use our social channels to interact online in between events. These channels also supplement and support in-person conversations, e.g., when YPOW members invite new people or share information about upcoming events. YPOW AM meets at 7 a.m. Thursdays at the Copper Coin, and our other events are posted (and reposted) to engage as many people as possible. The impact of YPOW can be seen in these numbers (as of October 2018): • 224 Meetup members • 650 Facebook likes YPOW celebrated its third anniversary in October. It began when founders Jenna Hill and Mallory Britt asked the city to create a program for young professionals that would address the need to engage the large number of young people choosing to live, work and play in Woodstock. The goal was to empower them to network, collaborate and invest in the community in which they chose to live. Our organization values building relationships, giving back and growing 26

TOWNELAKER | November 2018

Members of YPOW stay connected in person and through social media.

our community. These values are aimed at making the best future for Woodstock and leaving a legacy for future generations. YPOW allows people to learn about each other professionally and personally, and we share a commitment to working with established Woodstock residents to make our city a great place to live, work and play. We get to take ownership of the changes in Woodstock, and it’s impossible to walk down Main Street and not run into someone you’ve met at one of our events.

YPOW is more than a group of people who meet each week to network and engage each other professionally. Our online interactions strengthen our relationships through the IN WDSTK initiatives of being invested, involved and included in Woodstock’s growth and opportunity. Our members are passionate about using social media channels to further develop YPOW and IN WDSTK’s outreach to connect, energize and build stronger relationships for the people of greater Woodstock. (See Stacy Brown’s article on page 20.)

Ashley Velez is the social media director for YPOW and is a digital marketing expert and proud resident of Woodstock, where she lives with her husband Oscar and their two sons. http://atlantaseo.pro.

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