Archive for July, 2008

EPA Blogger Neighbor Aaron, brings more than Green to the Greenversation

This week’s Blogger Neighborhood profile intrigues you more and more as you read. Not only does Aaron do fascinating work for the EPA, but he also lives a life full of passion – for the environment, for adventure and for his family.

I mean, not sure about you, but I haven’t met too many other people who have been both an elephant trainer and a first-mate on a whale watching boat…and that’s just the beginning. Enjoy!

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Blog Name: Greenversations

Blog Topic: Greenversations is the official blog of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, writing about personal experiences related to their work. Science Wednesday on the blog features EPA research and development efforts, highlighting environmental and human health research. The overall goal is to engage the public to help accomplish EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment.

About the Author: Aaron Ferster is the lead science writer-editor for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development. As a member of the science communications team, Aaron’s primary focus is communicating EPA research and development to the general public, translating often highly technical environmental and human health science into language and media that is accessible, accurate and engaging to non-scientific audiences.

Before coming to EPA, Aaron spent ten years working as an exhibit writer and developer at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoological Park, in Washington, D.C. He also worked as a first-mate on a whale watch boat, an assistant camera man for National Geographic film crew, and an elephant trainer. He lives in suburban Maryland with his wife, two daughters (one hearing, one deaf), a dog, and a turtle. He and his wife are currently working on a book together about their experiences raising a deaf daughter.

What first Prompted Him to Blog: I’ve been a big fan of blogs for a while. I’m really intrigued by the evolution of the way bloggers and their readers communicate, forming free-flowing, often passionate on-line communities. So when the opportunity to blog at EPA came along, I jumped at the chance. My first chance to post on Greenversations was to help promote “Bike to Work Day.” I’m an avid bike commuter, so it was a perfect fit.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned from blogging? That people are interested in what EPA is doing, and that blogging is a completely appropriate way for us and other government agencies to engage the public in an ongoing dialogue.

If you could live on any street, what would the street be named, and why? Abbey’s Way (Take the other) – tribute to Edward Abbey, one of my favorite writer’s, and a passionate environmentalist.

Who would be your dream real-life neighbor? A full complement of native critters: owls, box turtles, red-tailed hawks, orioles, black snakes, skunks, foxes, white-tailed deer, and perhaps the wandering bear or coyote now and again. We had a pair of barred owls nest in a tree next to our house a couple years ago and the kids loved it.

What latest new bites would you share with your neighbors if they asked you how you were doing? Puppy news – we have an eight-month-old puppy and our neighbors on both sides also have young dogs, so we have lots of puppy news to chat about.

What would you give to a new neighbor as the perfect welcoming gift? Fresh blueberry pie and a gallon of vanilla ice cream.

What is your favorite blog post and why? Michael Chorost, a deaf science writer and author of Rebuilt: how Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human, keeps a blog about his experiences as a cochlear implant recipient. My wife and I are currently embroiled in a fight with my health insurance company over refusal to cover a second cochlear implant for our daughter. Chorost chronicles a similiar fight he had on his blog, and his post has been both educational and inspirational.

Past Blogger Neighbors Include:

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This continuous weekly series highlights different blogs and their respective bloggers in the blogosphere neighborhood. Following the great Mr. Rogers, who tells us to ‘Get to know your neighbor,’ this series introduces us to our blogger neighbors, making for a more unified, collaborative voice for the social sector. Like to nominate someone or be featured yourself? Contact me @ socialbutterfly4change@gmail.com.

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July 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm 1 comment

Unlock Your Inner Batman

Everyday, I venture out into my day with a healthy dose of idealism. I like to believe that people are good, and I work to see the good in people, even when most difficult.

This is why I struggled with the Batman movie: The Dark Knight. I love Batman. I grew up watching the tv series with jumping bananas Batman and Robin.

Batman/Bruce Wayne is an ordinary man. The joker is an ordinary man. Two face is an ordinary man. Gordon is an ordinary man. Yet, Gotham is havocked by crime and despair. The movie paints Gotham (as it should according to plot) as a very bleak and dismal city.

I walked away from the movie with a heavy heart, searching for optimism. These weren’t superheroes who ravaged a city and killed for pleasure. Just men. These weren’t superheroes whose hearts were hardened by bitterness, anger and unfair circumstances, but fellow, ordinary, human beings.

Indeed, the Joker, as Batman and Gordon state, got the best of them by showing that even a great man, Gotham’s White Knight, Harvey Dent, can be hardened.

I walked out of the theater finding it hard not to be hardened as well. All the work we do in social marketing, nonprofits, social change…where’s it all going and what’s it doing? What’s the solution? How do we inspire others not to let their hearts become hardened?

Though I left the movie more torn about life’s deeper issues than I have in a long time, I refused to be give in. Instead, I see it as a new challenge to rise above and as a community, address and solve. For Batman was an ordinary man. So was Gordon. and Alfred. and Mother Teresa. Ghandi. Martin Lurther King, Jr.

Perhaps the reality is, is that we ALL have a little Batman inside of us, just waiting to melt the world.

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July 28, 2008 at 2:17 am 3 comments

Bulletin: Updates in the Social Marketing Field

Word is – developments are on the move…

  • According to Craig Lefebrve’s recent blog post, we should expect to hear more about a social marketing association at the CDC’s 2nd Annual National Conference in August and also at the World Social Marketing Conference in late September. This. is. very. exciting. =) Comments, ideas, suggestions, feedback, (you get the picture)…are encouraged on the social marketing wiki.
  • The NSMC in the U.K. has announced that it’s developed the 1st set of occupational standards to apply to the social marketing field. These will also be formerly introduced during the World Social Marketing Conference in September.
  • As of Friday, July 18th, Prof. Alan Andreasen announced that there are currently 1,758 subscribers to the social marketing listserv.
  • The summer 2008 issue of the Social Marketing Quarterly has been released with some amazing content including a cover story about “Talking with Your Teen About Drugs,” as well articles about an integrated model for social marketers, survey results regarding international social marketing trainings, commentary from Stephan Dann, Nancy Lee, Michael Rothschild and Alan Andreasen regarding the new adopted definition of marketing by the AMA, and an in-depth look at the issue of flu vaccination.
  • For those in Washington D.C., there is a new exhibit being shown at the National Academy of Sciences titled “An Iconography of Contagion,” which is displaying public health posters since WWII.
  • Emerson College recently announced a new tenured-track faculty position in health communication and social marketing, starting for the 2009-2010 school year. Job description posted here.

Stay tuned for the next edition of The Bulletin!

photo credit: jceddys
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July 25, 2008 at 12:46 pm 2 comments

The Bookshelf: 15 Essential Social Marketing Feeds

Going off of Ogilvy PR’s “Essential 15 Pack” of RSS feeds to follow, I’ve developed the “Essential 15 Feeds for Social Marketers.” To follow the feed, just click on the name and the link. Enjoy!

Blogs

  1. Spare Change, authored by social marketing expert Nedra Weinreich (Link corrected*)
  2. On Social Marketing and Social Change, authored by social marketing thought leader Craig Lefebrve
  3. Public Sector Marketing 2.0, authored by Canada’s up and coming social marketing and social media marketing professional Mike Kujawski
  4. Osocio, the number one spot for all things social advertising and social change relataed
  5. Beth’s Blog, authored by nonprofit tech guru Beth Kanter
  6. Health Marketing Musings, authored by CDC’s National Center for Health Marketing Director Jay Bernhardt
  7. Have Fun * Do Good authored by Britt Bravo, informing you on all nonprofit related news items
  8. Ogilvy’s 360 Digital Influence Blog covers social marketing topics occasionally.
  9. Social Marketing Blog, a newly discovered blog just started this month by a man named Jack. So far, there is only one post, but if the rest of his posts are anything like his first, then the social marketing field is in good shape. Welcome Jack!
  10. Getting Attention blog, authored by Nancy E. Schwartz offers insights and tips on nonprofits communications and programs.
  11. Subject to Change, authored by Vanessa Mason, a young and up-and-coming social marketer currently doing AIDS relief work in Mozambique.
  12. Socialbutterfly, authored by yours truly, and highlights the movement of social marketing as well as related social media stories.
  13. What Do You Stand For? authored by Cone Communications Inc. Though this blog is linked to a cause marketing firm, the blog covers a range of social marketing related topics, offering fresh insights and useful resources.
  14. Getting to the Point, authored by Katya Andresen, talks about all-things nonprofit marketing and what she deems in her book – ‘Robin Hood Marketing.’
  15. Pulse and Signal, authored by Andre Blackman, who writes about the intersection between health and technology. DavidRothman.net is another one stop shop for all you need to know regarding the health 2.0 developments.
  16. YOU. That’s right. Your blog, whether current or in the works, can become the essential blog. In the arena of social marketing, we NEED more voices to galvanize the field further. If anyone would like to start a social marketing blog, please feel free to contact me with any questions, brainstorming or for support at socialbutterfly4change@gmail.com. The more of us the better. =)

Note: There are many, many more helpful blogs out there that I currently subscribe to, and I wish I could have named them all. Many of the 15 essential also cross boundaries with others fields beyond social marketing, mainly because, there aren’t that many social marketing based voices within the blogosphere.

For more ideas about which blogs to follow, I suggest you check out my links page, the ChangeBloggers wiki, the NonProfit Blog Exchange and the Kivi Leroux Miller’s Carnival for Non-Profit Consultants.

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July 24, 2008 at 4:49 am 10 comments

Good or Bad: NY Times and LinkedIn?

Read, Write, Web announced that the NY Times is announcing a content partnership with Linkedin that allows:

LinkedIn users to be shown personalized news targeting their industry verticals on the Business and Technology sections of NYTimes.com, where users will then be prompted to share those stories will professional associates.

I agree with RWW that this move is inspiring…especially to us social media marketing types. However, pausing in the excitement to reflect, I am reminded again of my recent trip to the Newseum.

Does providing the public with the information they WANT….take away from providing news the public NEEDS, whether we know we need it or not. As an extreme example, what if all I want to read about are the latest and greatest events in Hollywood. Not to knock Hollywood, but isn’t it important that we also try to reach these individuals with messages about public health, the environment and world events?

Pausing in the grandeur social media environment: are we on the verge of OVER-segmenting our audiences?

With journalistic big dawgs, like the NY Times, takes this step: is there greater good? or is it dangerous?

I understand journalism organizations, especially newspapers, are trying to find a working online model, or any working business model for that matter, but…is this idea of giving people what they want…dangerous?

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July 22, 2008 at 4:31 am 4 comments

Public Service, Journalism and Business: Standing for Freedom

Today, I saw a very amazing man I once interviewed a year ago: John Siegenthaler, Sr., civil rights activist and founder of the First Amendment Center. During that interview, he demonstrated through his own life and experiences how he has, and continues, to stand up for freedom.

I saw him on display actually when I visited the Newseum in Washington D.C. this past Saturday, which might have just edged out the Smithsonian’s American History museum as my favorite museum in Washington.

I will forever consider myself a journalist. Let me explain.

Walter Williams, esteemed Journalist and first dean of the world’s first journalism school, created the Journalist’s Creed. An excerpt:

I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.

Sadly, with international bureaus decreasing, freedoms of speech being revoked, the modern day multi-media corporations….I feel as if journalism is becoming more of a business and less a public service.

What is journalism? Who is a journalist? We can all practice journalism. We can all follow the ideals and ethics a journalist applies to his or her craft. We can all be journalists, and in ways we may not realize, already ARE journalists.

I asked this very question to NBC’s News correspondent Pete Williams today during his interview at the Newseum. It was fascinating, covering topics from FOIA, government and press relations, bias and more. I left remembering why I went to journalism school and why I will always consider myself a journalist. He advised that to support the pillars of journalism, we should continue amazing reporting – showing others good journalism. I agree. But I also think, we can do more.

The other week I was live on Jonny’s Par-tay. One of the viewers asked each of us what particular cause might be our favorite. I said journalism. Journalism – as a profession- is largely under attack at times, largely criticized, largely…in debate. Journalism…is the conversation, the dialogue, the public sphere, the public agenda. You can’t NOT have journalism in a free society. Journalism, at its root, is the idea that you have the freedom to know, to be informed, to educate yourself and others, to learn, to ask, to question, and to speak.

Thus, I will always be a journalist. Like, Mr. siegenthaler, I will always stand up for freedom and for truth. Won’t you join us?

*I got inspired this weekend and worked on my paper more. Lots more where this came from. =)
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July 20, 2008 at 5:40 am 3 comments

Hey! Get to know the Social Media Blogger Neighbor: HeyStephanie.com

Hey, hey, you, you…ok, enough with the Avril Lavigne lyrics. I just couldn’t help it.

Our blogger neighbors are usually nonprofit and social marketing wonder do-gooders who are doing some amazing and needed work. To switch it up some, this week we have Stephanie Gulley over at HeyStephanie.com.

Stephanie writes about social media and how it can make work (ya know, your full-time gig) more efficient and easier to handle.

(Note: Look out for the newly developed members of the ‘hood badge for our esteemed blogger neighbors!)

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Blog/Site Name: HeyStephanie.com

Blog Topics:
social media, web2.0, social networking, online collaboration

About the Author: Stephanie Gulley’s background in fast paced start-ups made her realize that on the job demands change frequently and requires lots of flexibility. To avoid being overwhelmed by multiple projects, Stephanie knew that in order to stay ahead, it’s better to work smarter not just harder. This experience coupled with her passion for social media have contributed to her frequent posts to HeyStephanie, where she offers insight on social media tools that make it possible to work efficiently in a Web 2.0 world.

Currently, Stephanie is a Program Analyst at Brickfish, a social media advertising platform, in San Diego, California. As a Program Analyst, she develops and coordinates social media marketing strategies to drive consumer engagement with brands.

If you could live on any street, what would that street be named and why?

Tao Tree Lane. One of my favorite books is “The Art of War for Women,” by Chin-Ning Chu. I’ve always been a fan of Sun Tzu’s work and Chin-Ning Chu’s interpretation takes the teachings of Sun Tzu and applies it to women in the workforce. Her book opened my eyes to the Taoist philosophy and helps me to better understand the world and my surroundings. With that said, I could live on any street that follows the teaching of Taoism and relax under a forest of trees.

Who would be your dream real-life neighbor?

Oprah Winfrey. Success goes hand in hand with hardship and challenges, and Oprah’s success inspires me to work hard and to overcome obstacles that come my way. If Oprah was my neighbor, I know I could learn a lot from her.

What first prompted you to blog?

I first started blogging in 2002 because I wanted to write my goals down and make it public. I wanted people to know what my goals were so that I could be held accountable and people could ask me how I was progressing. I pretty much wanted to start a conversation about my future goals and get input from others so I could make informed decisions. I was a college student and the first person in my family to obtain an education beyond high school so I wanted to find a community that I could relate to and blogging helped me with that.

If you customized your own license plate, what would it say and why?

Husband#1. I have the best husband in the world and I just want to share it with everyone.

What would you gift to a new neighbor as the perfect welcoming gift?

Freshly baked oatmeal cookies.

What’s your favorite blog post and why?

My favorite blog post at HeyStephanie.com is, “The Unveiling.” Although I’ve been blogging online for the past six years, my previous blogs were always anonymous. I would start them, fall behind, and eventually delete them. The Unveiling post is a mission statement for HeyStephanie.com and reminds me of why I’m blogging. I simply want to share my thoughts on social media with individuals who share the same interest.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned from blogging?

As a blogger you can say whatever you want to say because it’s your blog, but if you want to build a relationship with your readers, you have to listen as well.

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Past Blogger Neighbors Include:

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This continuous weekly series highlights different blogs and their respective bloggers in the blogosphere neighborhood. Following the great Mr. Rogers, who tells us to ‘Get to know your neighbor,’ this series introduces us to our blogger neighbors, making for a more unified, collaborative voice for the social sector. Like to nominate someone or be featured yourself? Contact me @ socialbutterfly4change@gmail.com.

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July 18, 2008 at 3:51 am 3 comments

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