Whenever I’m called in to provide the leaders of both public and private sectors training and guidance on using digital tools, I sometimes get a little bit of resistance. And that resistance almost always focuses on a single complaint:I just don’t have time for this. People in leadership positions are already juggling a million different roles and tasks, and I’m asking them to take on another that doesn’t, at first glance, feel like it has immediate return on time investment. In the nonprofit world especially, movement leaders experience intensive levels of stress, and social media doesn’t always seem to make sense in the scramble of trying to save the world.
I’ll admit it: I hate business books. Outside of the fact that most of my work focuses on making the world a better place, which often runs rather contrary to the profit-focused schemes of the business world, it’s the–deep breath–buzzwordsthat really do me in. There’s only so much “seamless leveraging of synergistic core competencies while maintaining brand integrity and mindshare in the value system of the new economy” that I can take before the urge to set the book on fire becomes too great, and I risk violating deeply-held principles I have about book-burning.
BlogHer, that fabulous and conveniently named network and conference of women who are bloggers, hosts a yearly day long career development day called Pathfinder Day. This year, on August 2nd, I’m leading the Change Agent track with Cheryl Contee. We promise, one way or another, your life will be changed if you come spend a day with us. Hee.
Normally the registration is $79 ($79!! What a bargain!), but BlogHer knows that that’s steep for many women who could really use this time to figure out their next steps in their online careers. So, they’ve given us each 2 passes to give away– if you’re interested, leave a comment on this post below, and I’ll pick 2 women at random. You don’t have to leave your life story or anything, but if you’re not someone I normally travel with in my circles, it’d be great to learn a little about why you’d like to attend, and why a free pass would be extra useful for you.
Otherwise, if you can swing it, and you’re ready, join us on August 2nd.
I know that when a good chunk of the population hears the word “karaoke,” they either cringe with horror at having to sit through off-key renditions of pop songs, or they go cold with panic at the idea of they themselves singing in front of a crowd. But peel back the layers of social freakout, and you, too, will find that what you’ve learned from rocking out a karaoke venue can be applied to organizing people and making the world a better place.
There is no such thing as a pure meritocracy.
Every few months, it seems like, when the Internet gets its big knickers on and does something righteous, invariably, someone somewhere gets up on a stage and declares that anyone, if the idea is good enough, can be successful on the Internet. Whether that’s a business plan, a political campaign or a cultural meme: you, too, can make it big. It’s our American rugged individualism, intertwined with what looks like an open digital frontier, all packaged up into an utopian bliss for the new century.
What’s true is that more people than ever have access to information, tools and networks that make things happen. And while the news often covers the darker sides of connective technologies like the Internet and mobile devices becoming mainstream, there’s plenty of good to celebrate. Look at just this past week in Internet do-gooding: A video showing a school bus monitor being gut-wrenchingly harassed by 13-year-old boys until she cried sparked a fundraising campaign for her, one that’s now reached over $650,000.
Where things go awry in the analysis of these kinds of situations is two-fold: one, that there is a secret to making something “go viral” (short answer: there isn’t), and two, anyone can create explosive story at any time if the story has merit. If you’re good enough and smart enough, doggone it, people will like you. And you will win the Internet.
I had a perfect storm of a project recently, and decided to write it up as a case study in how to manage a short-term social media campaign. I’ll discuss tools, tactics and metrics — hope you find it useful!
At the beginning of December, Aspen Baker, the executive director of Exhale, wrote me an email. “I’m looking for a social media coordinator and web person for a short-term project,” she said. “Interested?” I’ve always been a fan of Aspen’s work at Exhale — they’re a nonprofit organization which provides the first and only nonjudgmental national, multilingual after-abortion talkline. One of the things I love most about Exhale, which I learned largely through their campaign, is their advocacy of “pro-voice” in dealing with abortion. Every woman’s voice deserves to be heard; women (in numerous political contexts) don’t need to be talked at, shamed, have numbers and percentages thrown at them as much as they need to be listened to, and told that they are loved. Read more →
Today over at Gizmodo, blogger Joel Johnson posted what was intended to be encouragement and a challenge for his cohorts of the world to start following people who are different than them on Twitter: “Why I Stalk a Sexy Black Woman on Twitter (And Why You Should, Too).”
Conceptually, encouraging dominant cultures to divesify is fabulous –I subscribe to the DNA model of ecosystems and social spaces, so I support it wholeheartedly. As I’ve said in my book and recent talks: Read more →
A week and a half ago, I received an email asking me if I’d be willing to do an Ignite talk for the March 4 NYC event, part of Global Ignite Week. If you’re not familiar with Ignite, here’s the deal: You have 5 minutes to give your talk; you create a PowerPoint presentation to go with the talk, but here’s the kicker: You must do 20 slides, and the slides will advance automatically every 15 seconds. Talk about creative restraint inspiration! Not only is it an amazing challenge and a great place to flex your speaker muscles, but the Ignite platform also reaches far and wide into multiple communities, and can be a huge opportunity to reach lots of audiences with your message. Was I up for it? Sure.
Then the panic set in. Oh my God, what I have I signed myself up for?
Some more thoughts on my previous post, and a couple of things to clear up. Two misconceptions arose from my post because I chose not to lay out a lot exposition on some of my own beliefs on how the world works. Let me rectify that now. Read more →
UPDATE, 1/19: Follow-up post is here.
A post from Internet analyst/author/smart-person Clay Shirky titled “A Rant About Women” has got quite the discussion going around the Intertubes. Read (or at least skim) it before continuing; let me also take this introductory opportunity to do the obligatory feminist thing and thank the dude for taking time out of his busy schedule to wrestle with the giant questions of why don’t women do as well as men at X. Here it comes… thank you. OK, so I’m being a wee bit sarcastic, but seriously: it really is nice to see these conversations happen outside of the usual suspected fora of listservs, blogs, etc, all for and by the ladies.
Much of the resulting discussion has been a bit heavy-handed on both sides– “OMG, he’s totally right!” “OMG, he’s totally wrong!” Some great points have already been well covered by others, especially Jezebel blogger Anna’s point that women aren’t allowed culturally to be the aggressive jerks that successful men are. This was also the place where I had the most visceral reaction — the conclusion that we need to teach women to be more like men: more assertive and aggressive, demanding of what they want and need. This approach to solving the “where are teh womenz” problem misses the mark in a way that 70s & 80s power feminism also missed the mark for me. The “we’re just as good as men” statements and subsequent actions set the wrong frame. It assumes: Read more →