As part of the Generation Challenge Programme’s (GCP) plan to revamp their online space, they engaged the CGIAR Consortium’s social media expert, Peter Casier, to instruct an intensive workshop on social media and optimizing web presence, during 13-17 February 2012. Staff working on CIMMYT’s web and social media sites also participated.
Casier’s vast knowledge of social media was as contagious as his good humor, and before long, GCP had launched their own Facebook page and Twitter account, and were posting, liking, tweeting, and retweeting with confidence. Already initiated in the social media sphere, the CIMMYT team took the opportunity to gain further insights to increase their online presence.
Over five days the workshop outlined social media tools and provided handson training, reviewed CIMMYT’s current online material, investigated social media and website strategies, constructed specialized workplans, identified areas for improvement, and discussed traffic analysis, search engine optimization, and web usability.
Casier’s uniquely chaotic yet focused mind took the group on a whirlwind tour from social media jokes, through stories of humanitarian crises, and back to the issues at hand, such that the group finished the course inspired and raring to use their new tools. Maria Delgadillo from CIMMYT’s web team said “we all got on so well together and learnt so much in such a short space of time. It was especially useful for me from a web CIMMYT 4 Informa usability perspective.” Antonia Okono, GCP Communications Manager, echoed this sentiment: “We learnt some invaluable skills in a fun atmosphere,” she said.
The feedback from Casier was equally positive. In a congratulatory email he praised the work of the CIMMYT staff he encountered, with a special mention for the administrative and accommodation department, and for the drivers, technicians, and housekeeping personnel. He wrote that of all the CGIAR centers he has experienced, CIMMYT ranks among the top, not least because of the number of smiles he received from staff.