social media

The Trust Placebo

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 08/07/2008 - 10:17pm

Flickr Photo: GreencolanderI'm going to ask you a question and I want you to answer without thinking.

Let's say you had $100 you had to give to someone else. It doesn't matter who you give it to, just that you give it away to a single person. Who would you give it to?

Is the first person you thought of a family member? A close friend? It probably is.

So, why wouldn't you give it to the first person in need you encounter on your way to get a latte in the morning?

The answer is trust.

You have a relationship that indicates to you that your $100 gift will have some meaning to that person, and that it will be used in a way that is satisfying to both the recipient AND you.

We know trust is a key ingredient missing in our sector these days. Paul Light of NYU's Wagner School of Public Service, conducts a regular survey about public trust. The summary of his latest study shows that trust is still declining: fewer and fewer individuals think that nonprofits are doing a good job, and more and more individuals think nonprofits are doing a bad job.

Who Are Your Social Media Game Changers?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 08/07/2008 - 5:31am

If you read this blog, you can't help but know we're developing a social media training curriculum. and we're using social media to do it! Beth Kanter has been curating our We Are Media project.

The main idea behind the project is that the answers are already out there -- all we need to do is find them and put them together in a more cohesive way. One of the biggest sources of answers are the fine folks at We Media, a project of iFOCOS.

They're putting two things we love together: social media and awards! Until September 15, you can nominate someone for the We Media Game Changers Awards.

What do You Want to Learn About Web 2.0

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 08/05/2008 - 4:52pm
NetSquared, a project of TechSoup, is in the process of developing curriculum to help nonprofits use social media effectively. But before they can create the curriculum, they need to know what you need to know! They put together a brief survey that will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. It would be wonderful if you would share your thoughts. Click Here to take the survey.

What's the Return on Your Social Media Investment?

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 08/05/2008 - 2:11pm

Flickr Photo: Felix IdanLast week, I got some evaluation results back from a social media training I did last month in DC. My favorite comments was:

Holly talks too fast.

That came up at least a half a dozen times. Point taken: in the future, no coffee before my session. But my second favorite comment was this:

Holly said we have to demonstrate the value of social media tools to our bosses. But how do you show that blogging leads to donations, or volunteers?

A Beginner's Guide: How to Blog for Your Organization

These days everyone is blogging, from high school kids and mommies, to large corporations and industry leaders. Nonprofit organizations are no exception, and delivering news and stories through a blogging platform is an interactive and efficient way of connecting with your audience. This webinar will provide you with the basics to get started in blogging.  Learn more »

Are You a Marketer or a Community Manager?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 07/24/2008 - 5:09pm

Flickr Photo: jayskWe're in the middle of a significant shift in how we communicate, and it is changing the world around us, quickly.

Traditional "Big M" media isn't our only source of information any more. Now, we can get news and information from myriad "little m" media outlets -- like blogs, internet radio, and video sites. What's more, we can share and discuss that news with each other like never before.

Summarized in a paragraph, it looks like a tidy transition, but it's not. Change is never that easy. And a shift as profound as this one will cause chaos in places we can't anticipate. There will be unintended consequences, and it will be uncomfortable.

In our sector, I think this discomfort has been particularly acute for marketers. Not only are nonprofit marketers trying to stay on top of a slew of new communications tools, there is a shift in how our community talks about marketing. The theme, echoed on Madison Avenue and in the cubicle next to you, is this:

Marketing is dirty.

Web Traffic Spikes: When You Need Attention NOW

Submitted by Brett on Wed, 07/23/2008 - 12:42pm

Jonathon D. Colman, The Nature Conservancy

The rise of "web 2.0" has forever changed the game of online marketing. Sure, with enough time and money on your side, you could always draw customers to your site with impersonal ads, affiliate promotions, and expensive broadcast media. But if you're like me (and I am) then you're not made of money and your budget doesn't have room for surprises.

With social media, you can take direct, personal action to find new niches and leads within the most popular, dynamic sites on the web. The services are all free, getting set up is easy, and -- as you'll see -- your results are completely measurable.

Oh, and the people will come -- so many, in fact, that you might just crash your web site with all of the attention you receive. So while your IT staff may not be so happy with you, your ED will be quite pleased.

We Are Media: Who's Telling Your Story?

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 07/22/2008 - 10:50am

Flickr Photo: luiginterI used to give a workshop about storytelling in online mediums. Back then, it focused on email and websites -- that's all there really was. In true nerd fashion, my metaphor for the workshop was Star Wars.

But I digress. The main point of the workshop was to get folks to articulate an emotional need they could address with their stories. Stakeholders will act on our behalf only if they feel an emotional investment in the outcome. They have to want us to succeed.

This week in We Are Media, we're focusing on storytelling. The number of outlets for nonprofit stories has exploded: email, websites, blogs, video, photos, twitter and more are all part of our communications universe now.But the fundamentals remain the same: How do you tell a good story, despite the medium?


Submitted by Holly on Tue, 07/22/2008 - 8:47am

There's a great post today from Michael Gilbert: Online Social Networks Are Not Mailing Lists.

I love it because a) it's true and b) he ties it to the larger issue, RESPECT. He argues that thinking about how to use social networks as communications channels is disrespectful. It undermines the community your stakeholders want. This line sums it up:

The genuine respect that is the key to success takes this form: First use your resources to build community and only secondarily use community to build your resources.

Lose Control, But Not of Your Values

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 07/21/2008 - 10:19am

Flickr Photo: Jeremey BrooksIf you asked me for the sound bite version of my social media advice for nonprofits, it would be this: Lose control.

From where I sit, it seems clear that social media amplifies the ability of our stakeholders to do what they've always done: talk about us and our causes. We can't stop them.

But we can embrace it and figure out how to ride the coming tide.

Last Thursday, I participated in a session at the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Leadership Program. Even though I was participating remotely -- they could see video of me through and we had two way audio through ReadyTalk -- I really felt like I was in the room, and had the chance to do something I don't do nearly well enough -- listen.

The amazing Nicole Garst laid the groundwork for managing technology in your organization, especially all this newfangled social media stuff. By the time I entered, the participants had spent an entire lunch session discussing social media. They were ready to vent.

I heard a lot of interesting things from the room:

Overcoming Resistance: We Are Media Module 3

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 07/15/2008 - 10:20am

Flickr Photo: martinenoThis week in We Are Media, we're addressing a topic I'm guessing many of you have had some experience with: resistance.

When I speak on social media around the country, no matter what I'm talking about, or who's in the room, I know that when Q&A time comes, we'll spend a lot of time talking about how to address resistance to social media. I usually give a lot of general advice about educating leadership and demonstrating value. This is more or less correct, I think. But if we're going to develop a curriculum about social media, we need to get more serious.

We have to define resistance.

Teaching is Learning

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 07/14/2008 - 8:43am

Flickr Photo: kjoyner666Flickr Photo: kjoyner666I spent the latter half of last week in lovely Arlington Virginia at a communications and marketing training for the Kellogg Action Lab. Although I do love to talk, my favorite part of this sort of opportunity is the Q&A period, or after the presentation when folks stop by to talk further.

It's always exciting to discover that something I've said has inspired someone to think about things in a new way. But the best part is how much I get to learn from the participants. It's a real gift.

The Kellogg Action Lab was no exception. I focused on social media strategies for distributing your message, and I got as good as I gave. Here are just a few of the new ideas I walked away with:

This IS Novel: Twebinars as Work in Progress

Submitted by Annaliese on Tue, 07/08/2008 - 12:51pm

Flickr Photo: bitzceltFlickr Photo: bitzceltI just had a conversation with one of the organizers of the Twebinar, a summer series of webinars about social media hosted by Chris Brogan and Radian6. David Alston, from Radian6, picked up the phone (you remember those, don't you?) to respond to some of the questions I had emailed him about the Twebinar format.

I had expressed some confusion about the series, based on the first session I attended, the descriptions they provided, and the discrepancy I saw between the two. David was generous enough with his time to respond to some of these concerns.

Here's what I learned:

What's Your Social Media Plan?

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 07/08/2008 - 10:54am

Flickr Photo: fr@nsI'm not normally an Oprah's Book Club kind of girl, but I happened to be trapped in a Starbucks with no reading materials for 90 minutes one day, so I bought "The Art of Racing in the Rain." Although everything jaded and cynical in me was annoyed by the sappy homilies, one bit really stuck with me: Your car follows where your eyes lead.

When it comes to our use of social media as a sector, I have to wonder, where are we looking? Where are we trying to drive? I hear a lot of general answers: we want to raise more money; we want to spread our message further. But I don't hear the specifics needed if we're going to do those things meaningfully. Having a Facebook group and a blog will not, on their own, raise more money for your organization.

BE the Media? We ARE Media!

Submitted by Holly on Mon, 07/07/2008 - 4:02pm

One of the interesting side affects of the new web-based world we live in is that people expect everything to be free. Have you noticed that? I totally expect to have to pay for mobile phone service, but I want Internet access for free. I know I have to buy the book if I go into Powell's, but think I should be able to read it online for free.

Because the Internet really has democratized access to information, we all expect more information, more transparency, more openness, more collaboration. While I know that not everything can be free, I generally think this trend towards sharing is great.

So I was surprised when a group of lawyers representing a forthcoming book told us they didn't want us using Be the Media for the name our latest project.

How Many Jellybeans Are in Your Jar?

Submitted by Holly on Thu, 07/03/2008 - 3:47pm

Flickr Photo: husband unitIt's the day before a major holiday, so things are a wee bit quiet around here. Well, except for the iPod blaring Elton John. But quiet other than that.

I've finally had some time today to dive into the conversation that you, dear NTEN community, are starting on our Be the Media (name about to change) project.

If I didn't already believe in the wisdom of crowds, I certainly believe in the wisdom of THIS crowd. So many of you have contributed to the first module: Why Should Nonprofits Embrace Social Media (Or Not)?

How do You Explain Web 2.0? A New NTEN Project

Submitted by Holly on Tue, 07/01/2008 - 4:32pm

Flickr Photo: Daniel F PigattoFlickr Photo: Daniel F PigattoWe've started a new project to help aggregate the many amazing social media resources out there and develop a social media training curriculum that anyone in the sector can use. The best part is, we're making it happen in true Web 2.0 style. This is content truly created by and for our sector.

The amazing Beth Kanter is working on this project with us, and we've started work on the very first module for the curriculum: Why Should Nonprofits Embrace Social Media?

How did you pitch a blog, flickr, or twitter to your boss? Is there a metaphor you use to describe social media? Share your experiences with us on the wiki. Everything you share contributes to a richer curriculum we can all use in the future.

Blogs, Blogs, Everywhere, and Not a Thing to Write

Submitted by Holly on Wed, 06/25/2008 - 10:25am

Flickr Photo: kirstenvIf there are any "Laws of Blogging," then posting consistently is one of them. One of the keys to retaining and even increasing your readership is to post regularly. My own personal experience with the NTEN blog is that more IS better. The more we post, the more traffic we have, period. I'm sure there's going to be some point when this will no longer hold true, but for now, that's our reality.

Which means, of course, that I am now trapped. I've worked really hard over the last few months to become a (near) daily blogger. In fact, you're reading this while I'm on vacation because I made sure to have a few posts in the bank before I left. But being a daily blogger is a commitment rivaled only by kids and marriage. (OK, that's an exaggeration, but it is a lot of work.)

So I thought I would share some of my challenges, as well as a few of the things that help me out along the way. Mostly, though, I want you to write this post. Share with us. What are the strategies that you use to make your blogging work? What are the difficulties you encounter?

Here are my challenges:

501 Tech Clubs in Action: Video from Austin

Submitted by Annaliese on Wed, 06/18/2008 - 3:48pm

Our 501 Tech Club in Austin, nicely organized by Dale Thompson from Austin Free-Net and David Neff from the American Cancer Society, sent in an "i-report" from their last meetup. Check out their speaker, Ben Finklea, giving a great presentation on analyzing and optimizing your Web site for your various audiences:


Ask the Expert: Ramya Raghavan on YouTube for Nonprofits

YouTube is most likely the first place you go when you're searching for video on the web. Does your nonprofit have a voice on YouTube? Are you already participating in YouTube's Nonprofit Program? Are you curious about how to use YouTube for your cause more effectively?  Learn more »