News from the NTEN Connect Blog

Personal Branding for Organizational Goodness

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 09/15/2008 - 11:33am

Flickr Photo: VisualAgeFlickr Photo: VisualAgeOne of the tensions that surfaces when nonprofits start to integrate social media into their communications strategy is that social media is, by nature, personal and organizational communications, well, aren't. 

Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and blogs are all about helping individual actors share, and by so doing, meet other individuals.  The central question of Twitter is, "What are you doing?"  Facebook has Groups, but the Groups are designed to be expressions of individual enthusiasms, and aren't really geared toward organization-speak.

Another way of putting this: Organizations don't make friends.  People make friends.  

In the friend-crazy world of social media, you've really got to think about how the people who work for and empower your organization can build your organization into their social media brand.  How will you make sure that when Staffer A blogs, tweets, or friends someone else as part of her work with you, that her posts, tweets, and friends are representative of your organization and your brand, while still being personal?

It's a tough line to walk.  I do it all the time.  On the one hand, I want to make sure NTEN's values are imbued in all my social media contributions.  On the other hand, sometimes I'm just looking for a good cornbread recipe.  Are those two things at odds?  I don't think so, but I actually do a lot of self-editing in my head.

One resource I've found helpful over the last week is a handy guide from Chris Brogan, "Personal Branding for the Business Professional."  I think the guide should be an exercise organizations go through with their staff who use social media on the org's behalf.

I also just found a post from one of my favorite women in tech, Deborah Schultz.  Looks like we're on the same brainwave lately.  She writes:

No matter how you slice it - everything is personal.  Not personal as in taking things personally [tho there is plenty of that taking place], but personal as in this is 'personal to me'.  Social web tools are just that social and personal. They are a reflection of their creator - without a personal voice and tone there is no "there there". And they are changing the dynamics of how we interact, relate and do business.

The challenge for a business or political campaign is how do you infuse the personal without over-sharing and how do you find the balance of what is appropriate? 

Neither Chris's guide nor Deborah's post actually contains answers.  Nope.  Instead, they have pointers.  That's the fun of all this: no one has the answers, but we're all required to try.

UPDATE: I just found this post from Dave Crain which offers a complimentary perspective. I especially loved his "dichotomies of Personal Branding"

Are You a NetWit Too?

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 09/15/2008 - 8:35am

Flickr Photo: JamesPDXFlickr Photo: JamesPDXAdmittedly, Portland is not the Silicon Valley, but that doesn't mean we can't flex our tech muscles up here in the Silicon Forest!  After all, we're home to Linus, IBM, Intel, and a slew of startups.  We've also got over 6,000 nonprofits.  So I'm really excited Blackbaud is headed our way next month with a free social media for marketers event: NetWits, to be held at the Hilton on October 2.

It doesn't hurt my enthusiasm that they asked me to speak at the event, but I'd be happy about it anyway. 

Allison, Chad, and the rest of the crew will kick things off on Oct. 1st by presenting at our Portland 501TechClub meeting. So, join us on the 1st for tech and beer (you KNOW how I feel about that combination), then on the 2nd for tech and breakfast!

Discussions from NTEN Affinity Groups

Submitted by Anna on Fri, 09/12/2008 - 11:49am

Flickr Photo: mybluemuse aka PJ TaylorFlickr Photo: mybluemuse aka PJ TaylorNTEN Discuss has been full of recommendations and interesting bits of information over the past few weeks. Read on for a summary -- and join the discussions on the NTEN Affinity Groups.

Blog Guidelines

Holly Wright was put in charge of creating blogging guidelines for her organization, Bread for the World. She asked the NTEN Discuss list for any helpful pointers they might have:

America's Next Top Republican Presidential Candidate

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 09/05/2008 - 12:09pm

Flickr Photo: gin_ableFlickr Photo: gin_ableI had a hard time watching all of the RNC Convention this week, and am just catching up now, watching all the speeches online.  I could say that I was so busy with work I couldn't keep up, but I'll confess that it's mostly due to the fact that 90210 and ANTM premiered this week.

Anywhoodle, I did manage to keep up with a lot of the convention as it happened, and there's now a nice archive of convention activity in the social media world:

  • Tweetscan: following all tweets with "RNC2008" in them
  • YouTube: videos tagged "rnc2008"
  • Technorati: blog posts tagged "rnc2008"
  • Flickr: images tagged "rnc2008"
  • FriendFeed: what all my friends are saying about the RNC
BTW - You know Brenda's being all nicey-nice now, but Kelly should totally watch her back.

Google AdWords for Smarties

Submitted by Brett on Thu, 09/04/2008 - 11:04am

We at NTEN love us some Google Grants. After a little trial and error, our complimentary AdWords account now provides nearly 5% of our total site traffic, almost all of it new to our community. Okay, a lot of trial and error. And some grumbling. And maybe a little cursing. If only we scheduled our webinars to meet our internal learning needs!

Our upcoming webinar series on Google Adwords, to be presented by members of the Google Grants team, promises to take a lot of the mystery out of a system that only appears simple.

> Learn more and register today!

A Musical Interlude

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 09/04/2008 - 8:55am

Flickr Photo: phil hFlickr Photo: phil hWhat music inspires you to make the world a better place?

That's the question that Echoing Green is asking. They're holding a contest called "Bold Songs": share your social change playlist via iTunes,, or just as a text comment in their blog post, and you could win an iPod.

I used iTunes to create my playlist. They didn't have ALL my picks, but here's a short rundown:

NTEN is Listening -- and Learning

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 4:20pm

Flickr Photo: Simon CrowleyFlickr Photo: Simon CrowleyWelcome back from vacation! How did I know you were on vacation? Well, you're weren't blogging, tweeting, or uploading pictures to Flickr. That can only mean you were wearing white for the last time this year -- and maybe doing some grilling, right?

We Are Media is back from vacation too, and we're talking about listening this week. Beth Kanter, who is curating We Are Media with us, would like us to share our listening stories.

2008 Top Small Workplaces Conference

Submitted by Annaliese on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 8:42am

Winning Workplaces, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to help small and medium organizations "create great workplaces," is presenting a conference next month -- and NTEN members are invited.

Technology staffing -- along with IT staffing investment benchmarks and strategies for the nonprofit sector -- is one of NTEN's core issues. Our origninal research on the subject is probably what caught the attention of Winning Workplaces: the conference will address issues of employment retention, strategy, and investments unique to smaller organizations.

Because you're a member of NTEN, you're not only invited to attend the October 14th conference in Chicago, you'll also get a $100 discount on registration:

Blackbaud/Kintera Integration Begins

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 8:32am

This Spring, Blackbaud announced that it planned to acquire Kintera. Since then, the "i's" have been dotted, the "t's" have been crossed, and the real work of integrating the two products has begun in earnest.

Lots of Kintera Sphere users have questions about what the acquisition will mean in terms of functionality. Blackbaud's CTO, Shaun Sullivan put together a screencast that demos some of the integrations they're working towards, leveraging the APIs in both systems. You can see a demo of Kintera Sphere and Raiser's Edge sharing data, as well as a Sphere/Infinity integration.

Austin 501 Tech Club: From Tweet-up to Ham-up, It's All About Getting the Word Out!

Submitted by Annaliese on Tue, 09/02/2008 - 2:03pm

Flickr: Si1veryFlickr: Si1veryEarlier this summer, our 501 Tech Club friends in Austin, TX helped organize a Tweet-up blood drive with the Austin Social Media Club with great success: new folks made their way to donate blood after hearing about it through Twitter.

They're at it again this month -- September is Hunger Action Month -- helping to organize education and donation opportunities for the Austin community in the first ever Ham-Up Tweet-up.