Creating connections at the juncture of technology and nonprofits: Q & A with Heidi Massey

Social Media Week

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.

In this Q&A feature, Social Media Week Chicago introduces local online media users and Social Media Week advisory board members to explain, in their own words, the role social media plays in their lives, personally and professionally. Nonprofit connector and creator of Chicago Counts Heidi Massey kicks off this ongoing series.

Q: How did you first get involved with social media?

I have been on Facebook for a long time. I was a youth director and all the kids were on. I felt like I needed to check it out. I got on LinkedIn when my job at a nonprofit was eliminated with the bad economy. 

Q: How do you bring social media into your work/project?

I use it for promotion of events, to find people, as a resource when I have questions, to share information with others and to stay up to date on happenings in the sector.

Q: What was your “ah-ha moment” with social media?

I kept hearing about Twitter in early 2009, so I signed up. My initial reaction, which is fairly typical, was that Twitter was stupid. But I decided that since so many people I knew were raving about it, I needed to figure it out. So one night, I spent about two and a half hours just exploring and experimenting until suddenly, I understood exactly the value — the connections, the conversation that could take place on this exciting platform. And I was hooked.

I also used Facebook to promote Chicago Counts 2012, and learned how to effectively use events to keep the buzz going. That was a great tool!

Q: How do you measure success in social media?

Success sounds like an endpoint. For organizations, I am sure that this word has meaning. In my world, doing what I do, success is a big picture definition. Just by looking at the number of people I have met, the opportunities that have come my way, and the utility of the tools, social media has been an extraordinary success in my life.


Heidi Massey is a community builder who lives at the juncture of technology and nonprofits. She created Chicago Counts, an initiative to help nonprofits learn about and utilize free and low-cost technology resources. Heidi is passionate about creating meaningful connections between people, as well as between people and ideas. You can find her on LinkedIn, on Twitter @HeidiEKMassey and on her blog.

Alexandra Baird

Assistant Account Executive, Zocalo Group


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