BY NIKOLA STIKOV
At the OHBM 2015 Annual Meeting in Honolulu, HI, the OHBM Communications Committee (or ComCom as we like to call it) was created by the OHBM Council. They appointed Randy Gollub as its first Chair and Niko Kriegeskorte as Chair-Elect. Over the fall and winter Randy and Niko worked with OHBM staff to recruit volunteers and create a structure for this new and exciting initiative.
The first step after assembling a group of eager and extremely talented Committee members was to divide the large group into four different specialized teams and a quarter of the members were assigned to the ‘Member Communication’ team. Our task was daunting. How do you communicate year-round with a membership that spans so many disciplines, continents and backgrounds? Do you create separate newsletters, Facebook pages and YouTube channels? Do you hold monthly meetings in which you assign specific tasks targeting specific audiences? Or do you put all this under one umbrella, call it a blog, and let the OHBM members decide what to do with it?
If you are reading this, then the answer is obvious. We began with a blog because it was the most inclusive (and easiest!) platform we could think of, and then allowed everything else to evolve organically. The “Member Communication” Team became the “Blog Team” and over the past year we have published 51 blog posts, featuring over 40 contributors from 11 countries. The blog has received over 165,000 page visits from 63,000 unique visitors, we’ve created 12 videos for our YouTube channel and OHBM had over 345,000 impressions on Twitter. The OHBM Communication Committee’s work has also been featured in the Huffington Post and cited by the New York Times. Not bad for a one-year old...
None of this would have been possible without the vision and guidance of Randy and Niko, the support and resourcefulness of the ComCom team captains Jeanette Mumford and Lisa Nickerson (Website Team Captains 2016/2017), Cyril Pernet (Social Media Team Captain) and Kevin Weiner (Media Team Captain), and the organization and professionalism of our Communications Manager, Stephanie McGuire. Finally, there is our core blog team that spans five time zones that are 15 hours apart, yet somehow manages to stay awake during grueling monthly discussions about guest posts, calendars, spreadsheets, SOPs and Trello cards, only to go back to their computers to do more pro bono work than they ever volunteered for. The fact that they keep coming back, month after month, means that we have found a way to have more fun than this post makes it seem. Don’t believe us? We have a suggestion for you-- become a contributor!
As we are transitioning from baby to toddler, we are looking for friends and role models to look up to. And while one-year olds are known to stumble now and then, they are also endlessly curious and growing at a rapid rate. We hope to continue to grow, evolve, and become more steady on our feet as we figure things out-- and most of all to be receptive and responsive to our community in the years to come!