FaceBook "Social Ads": Creepy or Cutting Edge?

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 11/09/2007 - 10:26am
Ever since Facebook announced its new Social Ads program, I've been stewing on it. For me, it's at once both fascinating and horrifying. I kept trying to organize my thoughts about it well enough to put a nice little bow around them, but it just isn't happening. So instead, I'll just rattle off some of my various impressions. Then you tell me: Creepy or Cutting Edge?

How Can Nonprofits Use the Social Web During the Giving Season?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 11/08/2007 - 1:07pm

The folks over at NetSquared have been wondering: How can nonprofits use the social web during this giving season? I can think of dozens of examples. But I think that there's a larger opportunity here than simply starting a widget fundraising campaign or the like.

The big opportunity is this: amplify your authenticity.

In day-to-day fundraising, it's all about building relationships. Unless there is a big news headline, people give to the causes and organizations they have relationships with. And the relationships that work best are the authentic ones, those that are honest and real.

Community Tweets in the SoCal Fires

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 9:33am

Flickr Photo From: thedpqThe fires in Southern California are a tremendous tragedy. I've heard estimates that up to 500,000 people have been asked to evacuate their homes.

As this is one of the most tech-saturated areas of the country, though, it's interesting to see how many individuals and organizations are turning to the web to organize, share, and emote.

I asked the NTEN community to tell me what they were watching yesterday. Here are a few of the things you told me:

10 Questions: The Changing Face of Democracy?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 10/18/2007 - 10:47am

Word on the street is that the coolest thing to hit democracy since the women's vote is 10 Questions. (Sidebar: The best part of "Mary Poppins" is that suffrage-loving mother. She steals every scene she's in. Forget Julie Andrews. If you haven't seen it lately, it's definitely worth renting!)

If you remember the CNN YouTube debates, then you get the idea behind 10 Questions. Anyone and everyone can record a question. The trick here is, now the viewing public can vote for OR against your questions. The top 10 questions will be given to the candidates, who will respond with videos of their own. It's a great site with a great premise, and a very nice interface. As long as you're here, why not check out the top rated question, presented by the amazing -- and longtime NTEN member -- Ruby Sinreich:

So, what are you going to ask your community about?

Learning to Love MySpace?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 10/04/2007 - 2:21pm

I'm a total snob when it comes to MySpace. My house is pretty much always spotless, and that's the way I like my interface design, too: clean.

So I get the chills when I check out MySpace. Too cluttered! Nonetheless, it's a tool nonprofits cannot ignore. Folks like IFAW and many others have used MySpace to engage and activate a whole new constituency.

If you're looking to start a MySpace campaign, or if you have one already and want to improve it, check out Heather Mansfield's post on optimizing your MySpace page.

Monks, Democracy, and Facebook

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 09/28/2007 - 10:40am

Today, people around the world are wearing red to show their solidarity with the people of Burma. How do I know? I didn't get it from NPR, the news, or even email. I heard it on Facebook.

There's a lot of activity related to Burma on Facebook right now. There are 379 groups, and 141 events, in a myriad of countries and languages. I belong to one of the groups and have been following their work to see how they are using Facebook to create some real social change.

In this kind of work, with so many organizations and people involved from so many places, there's little chance to pin any particular outcome on any particular actor. But, if we consider social change to be engaging the previously un-engaged -- getting people who didn't know Burma from Bali to learn and take some action -- then I think we can do a nice little investigation.

Facebook and Twitter Are Changing the World

Submitted by Holly on Fri, 08/24/2007 - 9:35am

I got a phone call from an old colleague yesterday. Well, he's not old, but our relationship is. So maybe that makes us both old, but that's beside the point. The point is, he sounded just like me a year ago: a little lost on why social networking sites and services like Facebook and Twitter matter.

Since I'm a recent Twitter convert (read: addict) and Facebook has long been part of my daily routine, I went through the laundry list of the benefits of these tools:

  • Discovery - you find things you would never find otherwise
  • Personal Connections - you meet people you would never meet otherwise
  • Marketing - great platforms for getting the word out
  • Relationship building - you actually get to see a more human side of folks, and that's nice.

He remained unconvinced. I spent the rest of my night presumably meeting up with old friends, but really just stewing about why I couldn't convince him. What is the killer argument in favor of these tools?

Are You a Web 2.0 Curmudgeon?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 08/02/2007 - 8:17am
Just got into the office and found this lovely bit on Marshall K's blog. Marshall is a Web 2.0 believer. John Dvorak of PC Magazine, is clearly not. The debate on Marshall's blog is a great read, no matter which side of the fence you are on. Especially the part about the dramatic chipmunk.

21 Days of Twitter Day 4: Is Barak Obama on Twitter? Should we Care?

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 07/30/2007 - 3:40pm

It's day 4 of my 21 days with Twitter. Today, I started using it via the Facebook app, since I hang out there so much, rather than Twitteriffic. It's not as cool looking, but works great. It's also helping to cement my relationship with Facebook, so that's good, too.

I didn't report on days 2 or 3 with Twitter simply because there really wasn't anything to report. I got more random "checking my email" kinds of updates, but nothing worth writing home about (though I suppose we should update that phrase to "nothing worth blogging about"). Today, however, John Edwards Twittered. I mean, he Tweeted. Or did he Twoot? Whatever you call it, what he did was pretty cool. His message:

johnedwards Tell Gonzales, the man who brought us Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo & illegal spying: It's time to go! Sign the petition: http://tinyurl.com/2u945k

21 Days of Twitter Day 1: John Edwards Hearts Me!

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 07/24/2007 - 4:57pm

The magnificent Beth Kanter told me (well, she told a room full of us at one of her presentations) that it takes 21 days to create a habit (you know, outside of the wrong kinds of habits). Since my New Year's Resolution in 2007 was to be less snarky, I've embarked upon a grand experiment: I'm going to try all those crazy Web 2.0 tools I currently mock. I'll use each for 21 (work) days and see if I learn anything useful. Along the way, I'll document anything cool, useful, or fun that happens.

I'm starting with Twitter. Twitter is the lazy man's blog. It's an application that lets you quickly and easily publish what you're up to -- the blog you're reading, the report you're writing, the cat you're feeding. You invite your friends to "follow" your actions, and you can choose to follow theirs. The result? A constantly updated stream of what everyone in your network is up to. And folks, that's a lot of chatter.

A Beginner's Guide to Facebook

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 06/27/2007 - 10:25am

NTEN recently started a group on the FaceBook platform, so I've been doing a lot more thinking about how to integrate it into our overall programs. I haven't come up with any concrete answers yet, but I've had a good time exploring! Robin Good, one of my favorite blog reads, had an excellent post yesterday about FaceBook and why it's the platform du jour of the social networking scene. A great read, and a great example of how open technology makes good business sense too:

"The sudden sharp interest is directly indexed to the opening up of the Facebook Platform, which allows developers from around the world to create their own unique Facebook applications. This essentially opens up the entire world of online content for easy aggregation into the existing social networking functionality, so that users can create a profile and personal network of friends whilst taking advantage of all of their favorite online tools and services."

You are a media mogul...and you didn't even know it!

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 04/30/2007 - 9:50am
SplashCast LogoThe folks at SplasCast Media have released a new feature today - MyPodcastNetwork. It's a nice little widget that allows you to aggregate feeds from all the podcasts you like, and make them available in one place. Marshall Kirkpatrick, who's been a fantastic NTEN community member created the very first Network on the service, and it's full of nptech content. Thanks Marshall! You can check out the announcement yourself, and see how it works here:

Making the Right Tech Decisions

Submitted by Ali on Wed, 04/04/2007 - 1:04pm
Does more technology mean more mission? Charlie Brown from Ashoka’s Changemakers says that making the right technology decisions lets organizations expand their mission and make a greater impact on the world.

You can meet Charlie hanging around NTC events for the next few days and hear more from him in his NTC session “What Technology Can Do for Your Mission” tomorrow at 10:30. And read on to learn why he does what he does, and what his thoughts are on the latest trends in his field.

Let Them MAKE Cake

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 02/13/2007 - 4:15pm

Jason Z over at Democracy in Action has a great post today about RSS and how it works. (If you're loking for more info, we just did a great webinar with Alex Samuels of Social Signal.) Jason says in his post:

It's come to the point where nonprofit staff who aren't using RSS aren't really doing all of their job.

Jason - I agree wholeheartedly.

But what I think goes unsaid in his post is this: organizations that aren't using RSS are operating on the old model. The old model works like this. I will call this the "Let them Eat Cake" model:

You Are Power Brokers

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 02/08/2007 - 7:37am

Information is power. No one should know that better than the New York Times. After all, for the last umpteen hundred years, the have been THE destination for information in New York (and so it follows, for the world). Curious then, that current publisher Arthur Sulzburger would say this:

"Once upon a time, people had to read the paper to find out what was going on in theater. Today there are hundreds of forums and sites with that information," he says. "But the paper can integrate material from bloggers and external writers. We need to be part of that community and to have dialogue with the online world."

Essentially, what he is saying (as quoted in this article) is that in the age of self publishing everything (the Information Age), you can no longer be an information destination. You need to be an information BROKER.