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.
In the social media workshops and trainings I facilitate, one of the most frequent questions I get is: What kinds of things really get a lot of attention on social media? Or, the dreaded: How can I make my posts “go viral?” These questions are especially difficult for folks working in advocacy fields, where updates and news aren’t always rosy pictures, or captivating soundbites. They see a funny video go by, and they sigh, “But how can we do that?”
First, you’ll have to start chanting one of the mantras that I put forth in my classes: Social media tools are not communications tools. They are relationship management tools.
There’s a lot of chatter about Sheryl Sandberg‘s new book and effort, Lean In, going around the Interwebs this weekend. The premise of Sandberg’s work seems to be that women currently don’t have all that they need to be ultimately successful in their professional lives: we don’t speak up enough, we have biological clocks and workplaces that don’t deal well with those, and a variety of other gender barriers. Sandberg wants to build women up to places where they can overcome those barriers, and build a social movement along the way. The book won’t come out til March 10th, and review copies have been hard to come by. (I haven’t tried, for the record, that’s just the word in the backchannels where I hang out.) Thus, it’s difficult to make deep commentary, so my thoughts here are based primarily on the article in the New York Times, a few other other blog posts online, and private conversations with colleagues over email.
When I decided to transform my decade-old freelance consulting practice into a full-service agency with my longtime collaborator, Sonal Bains, making the jump was beyond daunting. My entire professional identity had become attached to my practice, and yet I felt I couldn’t move on with what I wanted to do for the next ten years without making serious changes. But what, exactly, should those changes be? And how should the decisions get made? Here are a few of the big considerations to look at when going all-in on your business.
Trouble’s brewing in Germany. No, it’s not the euro crisis; it’s the good kind of trouble: Feminism is finding new life in networked voices online. Last week, a German blogger named Maike Hank put out a simple, defiant call to end harassment and daily sexism with her post, “This Is Not Normal.” It resonated deeply with many on Twitter, and people like Nicole von Horst started sharing their own stories: “The doctor that patted my ass, as I lay in the hospital after an attempted suicide.” That’s when Anne Wizorek, founder of the blogkleinerdrei and digital media consultant (and, disclaimer, a very good friend of mine), recognized what was happening, and suggested a hashtag to capture the stories: #aufschrei (#outcry). And then all hell broke loose when an article came out in the magazine Stern stating that Rainer Brüderle, Germany’s minister for economics and technology, had allegedly sexually harassed a journalist.
At my latest digital-tools-for-social-good workshop in New York yesterday, everyone wanted to know the ins and outs of metrics and measurement. I interviewed social media metrics Beth Kanter recently, and that interview provides a great intro to the concepts of measurement. (I highly recommend her book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit.) But, I also realized it might be useful to walk through setting up some simple measurements with a free/low-cost tool that I love,Rowfeeder.
In the myriad of things to be thankful for on this fine American holiday: family, friends, home, the ongoing generosity of volunteers continuing to push through to provide mutual aid in the ongoing devastation of Hurricane Sandy. But, I also wanted to take a moment to share some of the mobile goodies that make my life just a little bit easier, make me smile a little more and make things in the DZ operation run just a little smoother. Enjoy your turkey/tofurkey!
Nerds in the aftermath of Sandy sprang into action: We’ve seen some innovative technology solutions address many aspects of the fallout of the storm. It got me poking around at what’s working and what isn’t, and starting to look at communications solutions we can start to put in place before the next storm, disaster, revolution or what-have-you.
It’s worse that you think in New York. Much, much worse.
On Saturday, when I got to the Rockaways, a peninsula community in Queens near JFK Airport, my stomach dropped. I had heard about the flooding, and seen the fires in Breezy Point on TV. But nothing prepared me for the immense loss of property that we saw up and down the peninsula.
I’m taking a break from my usual beat here to share my experience with Hurricane Sandy, and how thankful I am for the powerful love and support my online community offered me through my harrowing ordeal.