Networking the Dances via Social Media and and Your Circle's Website
Social Media & Websites
The internet is increasingly becoming the primary resource people use to connect with community and to find information and events related to their interests. The Dances of Universal Peace, and your local circle, can bring benefit to the wider community on the web by sharing the beauty we love via social networking media such as Meetup.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google buzz, Craigslist, Flickr, and many other online networking sites.
Additionally, having a website of your own ensures that folks can always look up your Dance meeting times and locations from the convenience of their computer, and you can share other content, like picture albums and videos, special announcements, and much more. This page will help you get started. Also, listen to our archived April 2010 Telecon on "The Internet and Your Circle."
(Note: Dances of Universal Peace North America does not specifically endorse, nor guarantee the efficacy or safety of, any external websites. We offer the following as suggested resources. Use at your own discretion.)
Social Media Sites
In this section, find a brief overview of some social media sites, offered for your further exploration. Note that this is by no means an all-inclusive list. Today's internet is rapidly growing and changing and new social networking sites are cropping up all the time.
Meetup.com may be one of the best online resources for announcing your Dance meetings to folks in your area. Meetup's mission is to get people off of their computers and into gatherings with people who have shared interests. The low monthly fee may be easily offset by the new dancers this method can attract to your circle. Sign up for free to see what other "meetups" are happening in your area, or start your own Meetup group.
Visit our own tutorial page about Meetup.com, for information about "chapterizing" your DUP Meetup Group to receive discounts for your 6-month subscriptions. And, for a limted time, DUPNA will pay half of your first 6-month subscription term!
Twitter is another very popular, free social networking site. Post comments about the Dances, or about your circle, or simply follow the Dances for the latest news and updates.
Facebook is one of the most widely-used, free online social networks. Many Dance circles and Dancers have Facebook pages where they share comments and content, pictures, and videos about the Dances and other interesting things. It is an increasingly popular way to keep in touch, find old friends and interact online. Visit facebook.com, sign up for free, and discover what folks are up to. (For tips on setting up a Facebook page for your circle, email Salim.)
MySpace is a technology company connecting people through personal expression, content, and culture. MySpace empowers its global community to experience the Internet through a social lens by integrating personal profiles, photos, videos, mobile, messaging, games, and the world's largest music community.
For Gmail users, the new Google buzz enables sharing updates, photos, videos, and more.
Start conversations about the things you find interesting (like the Dances of Universal Peace!).
If you already have a Gmail account or are willing to switch to one, it's one less browser window and one less login because email, chat, and social media functions are in one place.
Some advantages over Facebook: automatically follow the people you email and chat with the most in Gmail; comments get sent right to your inbox so it's easy to keep the conversation going; see thumbnails with each post, and browse full-screen photos from popular sites; new posts and comments pop in as they happen.
Gather.com is another site you can join for free and post content about your Dance circle, interact with others, start and share dialogs about the Dances, add pictures, videos, and more. DUPNA has a new Gather site. See it here, sign up to our group, or join for free and make your own Gather site: http://dupna.gather.com/
Eventful is a resource for listing your events, which will then appear to web surfers in your area. And, it works automatically with Meetup,com, meaning that your Meetups may also appear on Eventful with no additional effort required. Check out Eventful.com and look up, or post, Dances of Universal Peace events in your area.
What is craigslist? Local classifieds and forums - community moderated, and largely free. List and find jobs, housing, goods, services, local activities, advice.... Craigslist says that its use of ".org" "symbolizes the relatively non-commercial nature, public service mission, and non-corporate culture of craigslist." Craigslist gets more than 20 billion page views per month. You can list your events for your area community here.
Create a "photostream" for your Circle at Flickr. It's free and fun! Share and stay in touch, upload and organize, crop, fix, edit, explore...Flickr may be the best online photo management and sharing application. Flickr is a way to get your photos and videos to the people who matter to you. Basic accounts are free. Upload from your desktop, send by email, or use your cameraphone; get rid of red eye, crop a photo, or get creative with fonts and effects; use collections, sets, and tags to organize your photos and videos; use groups and privacy controls to share your photos and videos. Take the Flickr tour...
Heard of Skype? With a webcam (camera connected to your computer) and a good internet connection, you can share free video calls! It is easy to sign up for an account and download the required software. Want to ask your Dance mentor how a Dance move goes? Call her on Skype and she can show you. (Both parties need to have established Skype accounts.) Go to Skype to get going!
Keeping in Touch
Professional looking newsletters can be sent to your circle's list of contacts to keep everyone up to date and informed about your events, including the latest photos and articles...anything you like. And, these can be integrated with other social media. Check out the terms and features of services like ConstantContact and MailChimp.
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Does Your Circle Have a Website of its Own?
Having a presence on the internet broadens the exposure of your Dance circle and the Dances of Universal Peace, in general. (Have a website already? Be sure your circle is listed here at DUPNA (Go to the "Find the Dances" section where you can add or update circle listings).
Creating a website - Some excellent options:
You may enjoy the flexibility of creating your own website with any of the vast number of free "site builders" available online.
Many people don't realize that most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer free site builders to their customers. Have an Earthlink or Gmail account? You can make your own website now, in a matter of minutes, with the free site building tools that come with your account. Most other providers offer similar services. Check with your ISP for details. In order to see what else is available, search online for: "free wesbite builders."
One example is Weebly, where you can create free websites. These are real websites, where you can set up different pages for different subjects, something you can’t do on a blog.
Weebly makes creating and sharing a group website easy. Other recommended website builders are Google and http://www.wix.com/
Blogs are another excellent way to get exposure on the web and to share content, pictures, videos and more. Many popular blogging sites offer free access to creating your own blog. A blog (short for "web log") can effectively serve as a website, and as blogging becomes more commonly used, your blog may achieve wide exposure. Among the blogging services available are: Blogger (free!), WordPress, Windows Live Spaces, and Community Server. Look them up and check their terms and features to see what may work best for your circle. A number of regional circles have created blogs to list their circles' activities and content. See a lovely example here.
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"Tags," Topics and Titles
Search engines or social media sites may look for or connect via "tags" or "topics." These are usually words arranged in a list, separated by commas or spaces, that relate directly to the content of the website. Here is a list of topics, or tags, that relate to the Dances of Universal Peace (You can actually select, copy, and paste this set of topics into your own website, or place them in the "tags" section of your social media site):
dance, universal, peace, spirituality, spirit, music, interfaith, meditation, mantra, sacred phrase, singing, chant, movement, community, personal growth, consciousness, wellness, enlightenment, self-improvement, stress-reduction, self-empowerment, bliss, joy, love, harmony, beauty
...and any others you can think of!
The actual title of a website or webpage is another important element search engines may use to find websites and content on the web. A well-named site can rank high in search results quite quickly. Relevance to the topic is key to creating a good title, and common sense is often the best guide. "Dances of Universal Peace" is a good name for a DUP site. (Note: While there can only be one domain name of any kind, any number of website pages can share the same name, and many do.)
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Embeds and Embedding
Want to include a video on your web page or site? Many social media sites and blogs allow "embeds," which means "embedding" html source code into your page. Html is one of the hidden "languages" that drives a webpage. YouTube offers embed code with each video. You can copy and paste that code directly into any page that allows html. Here is the embed code for the video, "Invitation to the Dance." You can select, copy, and paste this code into your website:
<object width="640" height="505"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/5ZjW4s-r0Lk&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/5ZjW4s-r0Lk&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="505"></embed></object>
Adding video embeds can substantially improve the "feel" of your website or page. Visit any video at YouTube.com for other versions, smaller views, different videos, etc.
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Take your circle's site to the next level on the web: purchase a domain!
A "domain" is a URL (a web address, like: "www.dancesofuniversalpeacena.org") that can describe your circle specifically. A domain name may be chosen as a likely match for what people might type into a search engine or address bar when looking for something on the web. An example of a domain name purchased by one of our local Dance Circles is: "phoenixdances.org." (Take a look at what other regional Dance circles have created at "More Dance Listings....")
Even if you already have a webpage, you can purchase a domain name and "point" your website to it. That way, your concise and topical URL address appears in the address bar, instead of what may be a more cumbersome one. It's easy to tell dancers and friends to visit something like, "Springfield DUP dot com."
Domain hosting companies can tell you more about purchasing a domain and optional web space, pointing existing pages to domain names, and many other topics related to websites. When you purchase a domain with web space, you may gain access to a variety of website builders that will enable you to build a website for your circle. (For example, see what GoDaddy offers: Go to GoDaddy.com).
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When your new site is ready...
Whichever method you choose to build your website, once it is up and running, be sure to add your new site to your circle's listing here at DUPNA (Go to the "Find the Dances" section where you can add or update circle listings.)
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Special Notes - Our Logo
We encourage you to add this, or any official DUP logo, to your North American website:
"The logo may be used by all mentored leaders of the Dances of Universal Peace, as well as for official business of the organization."
Please review the "Website Use and Inclusion Policy" before applying a DUP logo.
For those who qualify, we offer and encourage use of these images and related source code. To download the image to your machine, if you are using Windows, right-click the image, and if you are using a Macintosh, press the Control key and click. Then select "save image as" or "save picture as" or "download image to disk". Be sure to store it in the same directory as your .html file containing the code (or adjust the img src tag appropriately).
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As we move forward together as a Dances of Universal Peace community, we further connect throughout our North American region via "reciprocal linking": Please be sure your current website is listed on this site (Go to the "Add Your Dance Event" section.)
Then, in order to ensure your visitors have easy access to the full set of resources at the North America and International DUP websites, please update or add these links at your website:
Dances of Universal Peace International http://dancesofuniversalpeace.org
Dances of Universal Peace, North America http://dancesofuniversalpeacena.org/
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