2009 heralds my 30th(!!) year as co-owner/co-director of Camp Kamaji . . . and my first venture into the social networking world of linked-in, blogging, twittering . . .
When Mike and I purchased Kamaji in 1980, the closest we came to technology was the vintage1959 electric typewriter and the huge-barreled mimeograph machine that was part of the “furniture” of Kamaji’s office. Having mastered 16 WPM on a manual typewriter in an elective high school typing class, I soon was able to surpass the QWERTY finger pecking of my pre-electric typewriter days – thanks, in small part, to the Selectric typewriter’s carriage return key and, just as importantly, the auto-correction key. Before I knew it, I was easily typing a fleet-fingered 40 WPM!!
Proud of my typing prowess, I skipped the generation of electronic typewriters and advanced straightaway to a wordprocessor at which point I was introduced . . .
. . .not only to a vocabulary that gave new meaning to old words (text, character, back up, data, document, cursor, font, icons, monitor, disc, keyboard, scroll, edit, insert, delete, cut-and-paste, justification, tab, files, format, carbon copy, backspace, cursor, line-feed, shift and terminal, to name but a few)
. . . but also to new jargon adding to my ever-expanding dictionary of techie buzz words (arrow keys, function keys, command keys, menu bars, title bars, scroll bar, printouts, copy-and-paste, hardcopy, softcopy, keyboarding, word wrap, database, spreadsheets, etc.).
Stopping way short of being a computer geek by both choice and, admittedly, total abject ineptitude, I barely scratched the surface of the MSDOS Batch Language and its accompanying Batch files and commands. I, instead, prevailed upon computer literate friends (also known as “computer geeks”) to keep my disc operating system fine-tuned and up-to-date and just-barely this side of crashing!! Whew!! Thus far I had managed to successfully run our business in a rapidly encroaching technological world!!
Enter the 1990s – which brought few changes to my world other than the purchase of a FAX machine – that is until the 1996 advent of AOL when “snail mail” gave way to e-mail . . . and IM-ing . . . and text messages that might (or not!) contain files, images or other attachments which were sent through a network to a specified individual or group of individuals. Camp Kamaji soon had not only a “snail mail” address but also an email address that had a user name (kathy) followed by the “@” as a divider in the e-mail address which was followed by the domain name (kamaji) of where the user (me) belonged. Up until that point I was easily reachable via the USPS during the camp season at 32054 Wolf Lake Road in Cass Lake, MN and during the “off-season” at 7436 Byron Place in St. Louis, MO. Now I had a third address – a cyberspace address, email@example.com – where I could continuously receive mail any time of the year, 24/7!! If only I could wrap my head around this futuristic network system!
But OH-NO!! By 1999 Kamaji entered the world of html and url and http and www. I now needed to <b> and <I> and <h1> and <br> and <hr> as well as tag and head and body and comment. Homepaging, linking, dreamweaving, PDFing, FTPing, uploading . . .
Albeit with technological acumen and expertise from a professional design developer, I created a Kamaji website complete with web pages and real-world browser conditions. One could now find Camp Kamaji not only on the shores of Big Wolf Lake nestled under 100 acres of virgin Norway pine but also simply by google-searching Kamaji and double-clicking on the link that instantly directed one to www.kamaji.com. (No doubt Dorothy and Toto would have favored the option of a search engine over a pair of ruby red sequin shoes as a much quicker way home to Kansas from the Land of Oz!)
After 10 years of solely updating (and admittedly not all that faithfully) www.kamaji.com even I now find it archaic – even antediluvian – in a decade where anything posted on-line has a short expiration date (thereby validating my thinking that Kamaji’s website has indeed “bit” (pun intended!) the dust and likely had done so quite some time ago!!)
So I have turned to a former Kamaji camper/counselor/future-camper-mom to help me bring camp’s website into the 21st century. Enter Julie Fisher Roads of www.writingroads.com who proposes that not only is Kamaji’s website – with a blog – “critical” but “so is marketing it through social media. . . including broadcasting and syndicating Camp Kamaji’s information (and blog!!) and creating strong networks and relationships with a seemingly unlimited audience.”
Translated this means Kamaji should build a network on LinkedIn, be profiled on FaceBook and stay connected via Twitter . . . while concurrently and regularly composing blogs and updating www.kamaji.com.
Mind you, Camp Kamaji is a summer camp that prides itself on the fact that each of its campers’ cabins do not have electricity – nary a wall socket clinging to its walls nor a solitary lightbulb strung from its rafters!! No IPods, no cell phones or I-Phones, no laptop computers, no MP3 players, no PDAs or BlackBerries . . . not so much as a hairdryer (save the sun!).
Too Camp Kamaji is a strong proponent of camp friendships – face-to-face friendships, real (not virtual) friendships, quality-over-quantity friendships, deeply connected friends who have shared day-to-day life events, life-long friends, multifaceted and multi-dimensional friends.
Admittedly it has become increasing difficult to “talk the talk and walk the walk” when it comes to marketing the business-side of Kamaji, to keeping in touch with the camp community as a whole, to staying “current with” and “connected to” today’s youth – including campers, counselors and parents born post-1970.
And so as I approach the threshold of the second decade of the 21st century you’ll likely find me . . .
. . .networking, blog linking, google presenting, Kamaji buzzing, huddling, slidesharing, connecting with my connections and my connections’ connections, electronically Rolodexing, linking up and in. . .
. . . tagging photos, writing on walls, vodpod-ing, poking friends, live feeding, grouping, elfing myself, posting Kamaji events and boatbooking on Kamaji’s Facebook page . . .
. . . blogging my Kamaji blaudience, posting blogographies of Kamaji staff members, waiting to be pinged, adding a sidebar and sideblog, tagging and metablogging (as I am doing here) and maybe even someday becoming a Blogebrity(!) . . .
. . . twitter tweeting to my tweeps, bookmarkleting to the Kamaji browser, retweetme-ing, twaading Kamaji friends and twaggles, pingtwittering my blogs, sharing twitticisms twixt and tween twittworking and trying not to twittcrastinate.