2009-10-21 / Front Page

Sunnyside Chamber Reviews ‘Social Media’ Concept

By Thomas Cogan

Because “social media” have existed for only about 20 years, Shawn Slevin, Woodside native and president of Human Capital Management, is aware that some of their better-known institutions move skeptics to dismiss them and social media in general as fads among the youthful segment of the population, particularly teenagers. That, she told the luncheon audience at the October meeting of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, is foolish. Social media began with e-mail and now include My Space, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. All have a common purpose, she said: building the global community. Later in the meeting, another voice proposed setting up a LinkedIn group for the chamber. That and some other announcements provided information to a well-attended SCC event at Dazies Restaurant on Queens Boulevard.

Slevin’s activities are many. She revealed she gets her day started at 4 a.m. by reading her many e-mails. In addition to her business, she has coached the swim team at St. Sebastian’s Church on Roosevelt Avenue since 1971. Out of that has grown a movement called the Swim Strong Foundation, a 501-c3 non-profit that promotes swimming not only as a physical skill but also as a confidence- and character-builder for youth. She uses social media to maintain and promote it, by having 2,000 involved persons on the FAN page of her Facebook account. It not only establishes a fan base, it is frankly a means of raising money for Swim Strong.
Speaking to an audience containing several small business owners, Slevin said they would be wise to look at social media if they haven’t looked already. Her own history with LinkedIn goes back to 2001, a long time ago in social media. At that early date, she was impressed to discover the power of LinkedIn, when she was able to communicate with the owner of the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer, Kawasaki. She said the important thing at the heart of one’s LinkedIn account is having a robust profile. By now, she maintains advanced and exclusive groups on this Web site.

A great deal of personal information may be imparted on these sites, or one might find oneself the target of negative information, Slevin was reminded. How true, she said, so maintaining a relatively circumspect record of oneself is imperative. Posting funny pictures or writing brash remarks can rebound, because, as she said, “the Internet has a long and unforgiving memory.”  But since the title of her handout was “Social Media:  Teenage Twaddle or Viable Business Tool?” sensible persons can decide which of those is useful to them and act accordingly.

Angus Grieve-Smith, an SCC member, said that he would like to set up a LinkedIn group for the chamber, having already posted material on the Sunnyside Yahoo group.

Alyssa Bonilla of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District announced that Business Education Day would take place Wednesday, October 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On that day, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs declares a temporary amnesty as its agents visit stores in Sunnyside and inform them of the rules and regulations affecting their businesses and how they are meeting or failing to meet them. With the amnesty, the latter can be addressed without the penalty of a fine. She also announced a breakfast seminar entitled Emergency Preparedness for Small Businesses, sponsored by Sunnyside Shines, SCC and the Long Island City Business Development Corporation, would be held Thursday, October 29 between  8 and 9:30 a.m. at Sunnyside Community Services, 43-31 39th St.

The audience also learned that the annual Lions Club Christmas Tree lighting ceremony will take place at Saba Triangle, Queens Boulevard near 50th Street, on Tuesday, December 1 at 6 p.m.

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