Posts tagged ‘Technology’

Did You Know? 2 Must-See Videos to FLY Together

My dad sent me this great video today. It makes you think. It motivates you, like @garyvee, to get off your butt and get moving. You may think that doing nothing only affects you. Tuning out is a choice. So, that can be your opinion. But, standing, means not helping others to fly.

No matter your political leanings, you must admit this quote is poetic. On NPR, a man talked about getting ready to vote for a president for the first time was being asked who he was voting for and why. He recalled this text message he received from a friend:

“Rosa sat, so Martin could walk. Martin walked, so Obama could run. And, Obama is running so our children can fly.”

What if that could be you? What if your actions could empower others to succeed. Think about the power that ripple effect could have. Whether it’s for Obama or McCain, Vote. Act. Do. No matter what, after the election, we will all need to keep moving, if not faster. Let’s get busy, and let’s FLY together. Just ask these guys:


*Don’t quote me on the stats, as I’m still trying to find this video’s source. But, it is powerful.

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October 31, 2008 at 1:53 am 4 comments

To 2.0 or not 2.0? That is the Government’s Question

**This article I wrote was originally published at ReadWriteWeb on September 10, 2008. And P.S., I still don’t have the internet, but the install is scheduled for Wednesday…hence the blogging delay. Thank you for your understanding!

And we’ve got the answer. Three of them actually: Listen, learn, and let go.

Let’s face it, Web 2.0 is a buzzword. And when it comes to government, change, and innovation, we have to reach beyond buzzwords. Surprising to some, the government isn’t too far beyond.

The other week Mark Drapeau, Government 2.0 columnist for Mashable, suggested that the government is currently in a state of 1.4, at least when it comes to Twitter.* I would agree, however, as my lovely professors back in grad school taught me to say, “it depends.”

Government is doing some amazing social media initiatives to better serve their constituents, and why not – social media is all about increasing the democratization of communications. The government serves its people, and thus, it’s a perfect match.

We government-familiar types know of the greatness that is CDC – from their virtual world explorations in Whyville and SecondLife, to their numerous podcasts, e-cards, MySpace page and blog, and their CDC-TV channel, they are leading the way. But there’s more.

The EPA has its own cause on Facebook for its EnergySTAR program to stop global warming. The U.S. Intelligence Agency has it’s own data-sharing and social network-esque called Intellipedia. TSA uses its blog Evolution of Security as instrumental to its customer service abilities. Not to mention, there are currently 7 head directors and decision makers with their own blog. But, I will admit that some areas in government just need some more coaching.

If you are within government or outside of government, here are three helpful strategies to be the social media maven for your agency: Listen. Learn. And Let go.

These three strategies are listed in no particular order as they all circle one another. Think back when you learned how to ride a bike. You did not let go of the training wheels, until you have learned how to ride the bike. But, you couldn’t learn how to ride the bike, until you listened to the instructions. Same deal.

Listening

The more you learn about the space, the more comfortable you will become. This will involving listening to webinars and speakers on the topic. For starters, the CDC is having a live web dialogue on September 18th with an expert panel to talk about how government health agencies can integrate social media practices into their initiatives. There are currently 217 people signed up!

Listening also involves learning how to search, and how to search effectively. Largely, learning how to navigate the RSS feeder. I know it looks intimidating. I was at first too. But, it’s called Real Simple Syndication for a reason, because it really can be simple. Check out Google Reader or Bloglines or email me, and we can work together.

Learning

While listening, you will learn. It’s inevitable. I have best found that learning is maximized when you live with what Geoff Livingston said best in one of Buzz Bin blog posts, “You cannot underestimate the value of remaining teachable.” Attending speakers, applying your knowledge and participating in the space as an individual all help facilitate learning.

For example, Sec. Mike Leavitt and a group of world leaders came together in 2007 to create the Pandemic Flu Leadership Blog. Through this short-term blog, conversations and discussions were shared leading up to an offline Leadership Forum. Taking the lessons learned from this experience, Sec. Leavitt launched his own blog on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in August 2007.

Letting Go

As your listening and learning combines, eventually, you will feel more comfortable in letting go. And letting go can include baby steps. Like, the case of Sec. Leavitt, you can build upon past activities. Do gather the statistics. Do highlight other case studies.

• Perhaps, instead of creating your own social network, it begins with placing a web badge or banner about your initiative on a social network.
• Perhaps, instead of creating a Twitter account feed, you conduct Twitter searches for your government agency’s name and important keywords.
• Perhaps, instead of creating your own blog, first do a guest entry on an already established blog.
• Perhaps, when pitching new information or publications to traditional news outlets, see if that media organization has a relevant blog column or social media reporter and share your information with him or her.

The ideas are endless, which is why being relevant is core. Let’s not be doing things for the sake of doing them. Let’s connect in meaningful ways. The tools may be new, but the importance of relationship-building and support remain constant. I’m excited to have the opportunity to highlight in this Government 2.0 column ways our government is being innovative as we all listen, learn and let go together.

*Context and attribution corrected.

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September 15, 2008 at 3:03 am 3 comments

What’s Your Social Media Ritual? Sharing My Own 15-Steps

fireworks

At work, we’ve been talking a lot about the information scans we all do on our own…who we refer to, which sites are the best, the most useful feeds, etc. So, now, out of curiosity and from inspiration gained from Chris Brogan’s recent post: “Where I Learn More,” I’m asking: Where do you go to learn?

Brogan’s article is great, as in it, he talks about the role of influence and asks us to reflect on what influences what we learn, think, behave and believe….so close to a social marketing (the real social marketing) question my buttons were popping with techy-excitement.

Here is my average, daily, social media ritual.

Please share me yours, and perhaps we can both expand our horizons a little. =)

  1. Check my work e-mail account. Its true fellow co-workers.
  2. Check my regular Gmail account. I get various e-newsletters and feeds here such as the Ad Council Creative E-newsletter, emails from the Social Marketing listserv, Chris Brogan’s new e-newsletter and others.
  3. Check my blog email account. I get various e-newsletter and feeds here that help me stay up to date on the social media, nonprofit, and social marketing arena. Some of my favorite includes Nedra Weinreich’s Spare Change Blog, Beth Kanter’s blog/wiki, and Ogilvy PR’s 360 Digital Influence blog.
  4. Check my Bloglines feeds, to see what good posts are up and published.
  5. Check out both the nonprofit and the social media categories on Alltop.com
  6. Do a scan of: TechCrunch, Trendspotting, Read Write Web, Osocio, Non-Profit Times, NextGov, BrazenCareerist, Social Times, and others. This can depend on the day and the topic I’m currently investigating.
  7. Check old Twitter feeds I may have missed. Especially key feeds from @GeoffLiving, @Nedra, @chrisbrogan, @scobleizer, @rww, @abfdc, @allllll the others I follow on Twitter. Really, it’s a community working together and sharing. It. is. awesome.
  8. If it’s a Monday, I check out the Carnival for Non-Profit Consultants.
  9. Check in on Linkedin to see if anyone new I know has joined or connected. The homepage on Linkedin is becoming increasingly fun.
  10. Surf around the NonProfit Blog Exchange if Emily has posted some great new posts.
  11. Then, it’s on to the social bookmarks. I check my delicious, both my networks and my subscriptions. Oftentimes, those I am connected to are in a similar field or have similar interests, so thank you everyone on del.icio.us.
  12. Then, I spend a little time on Digg, and may occasionally check in on StumbleUpon. I’m really liking Mixx more and more too, though, there doesn’t seem to be as many people on it.
  13. I check up on the scoop of my work’s internal wiki.
  14. Check meetup.com for upcoming events and opportunities to take online connecting –> offline.
  15. More scooping that I probably, and I apologize, didn’t list. Though, if I remember more, I will place in the comments. There’s always MORE to learn and MORE resources to discover. =)

Important note to make: This is just the listening phase.

About the listening phase. I might do some or all of this ritual depending on the day and the time. The point is though, that my ritual is…I am always listening. Always checking in. Always asking questions. Always working to seek answers.

The FUN part, is taking it all in, reflecting, and creatively organizing the content and information in your head to implement innovative, effective communications. And, when I really want to *get wild,* I reflect further, beyond the field of communications, social media or marketing…but more to what Chris mentions, about influence. About change. About society. About trends. About what it all means.

Photo Credit: Flickr, Elias Pirasteh


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June 29, 2008 at 4:06 am 9 comments

New Blogger Neighbor Andre Blackman @ Pulse and Signal, both online….and off!

Well, you can! Andre and others will be attending HealthCamp MD in Owings, Maryland on Saturday, June 14, 2008. HealthCamp MD is being hosted by Mark Scrimshire at EKIVE. To learn more about the event, check out its wiki here. Sign up now while delegate and sponsorship spots are still available.

I recently got the opportunity to meet Andre through a Social Marketing Meetup he planned in Washington D.C. with Nedra Weinreich of the blog Spare Change. Thus, I nominated him for this week’s Blogger Neighborhood, as he too values both online and offline exchange. Enjoy!

photo credit: the woodstove

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Blog Name: Pulse and Signal

Blog Topics: Health Communication, Health Education, Social Media, Personal Technology, Consumer Behavior

About the Author: Andre Blackman graduated with a degree in Public and Community Health in 2005 but has had a passion for science/technology ever since he could remember. He loves to meet new, interesting people and think about ways to make the world just a little better. He is a firm believer in the power of people coming together for a common good and is interested in using social technologies to improve the health of others through better health communications. I use Twitter a lot (follow me @mindofandre).

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

Changemaker Lane, I want to live on a street that continually reminds me of what I should have done that day as I leave and as I come home.

Who would be your dream real-life neighbor?

I have a few but at the moment, Tiger Woods. He is focused, a family man and he runs an awesome foundation that I hope to emulate.

What first prompted you to blog?

After nearly 2 years of reading blogs and thinking about both health and technology, I decided to take the leap and start writing those thoughts down. Not too long into the blogging, I started making great friends through online communication tools and that continued to fuel my excitement for blogging!

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

URWRLD – in this day and age more than ever people have the opportunities to fulfill their dreams and achieve their personal goals…it’s your world.

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

A REAL list of best places to eat and attractions in the town/city to visit. You know the corporate ones lie sometimes!

What’s your favorite blog post and why?

It would probably be when I wrote “The Importance of Sleep in the Wired Generation.” This was one of the first posts I wrote that got decent attention and even the Sleep Foundation chimed in on the comments section. It was important to me because of what I saw happening to a couple people I knew (including myself!) when trying to keep up with all the social media buzz and Web events. You barely get sleep! And lack of sleep has some detrimental effects.

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

The importance of interacting with others – the more you comment and make genuine relationships with others, the more you get back, probably even more so.

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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June 5, 2008 at 12:47 am 2 comments

Who is SocialButterfly? An Interview for BlogHer as the Interview-ee

Beth Kanter, of the Beth’s Blog, who I featured last month as the second member of SocialButterfly’s Blogger Neighborhood, interviewed me for BlogHer. My first official ‘professional’ interview as the interview-ee!

1. Tell me a little about you.

I am a social marketing believer, blogger, researcher, practitioner and enthusiast. Social marketing for good – not to be confused with social media marketing. Currently, my day job is a graduate student at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism where I will graduate this month. In June, I will start full-time at the social marketing firm I’ve been completing a fellowship at in Washington D.C., working on the client team representing the National Institute on Drug Abuse. As of this moment, I am defending my thesis, graduating and taking a moment to breath, =).

Academics and work aside, my passion is working with and on behalf of nonprofits. My family, myself and a small group of dedicated and committed individuals started a non-profit in Arkansas that benefits multiple sclerosis and works in partnership with the MS Society. In one year, with about eight people, no budget and two main events, we’ve raised over $275k.

2. Tell me about your thesis.

Just the word ‘thesis’ seems to make eyes glaze over, so I’ll try to keep this interesting. What influences you in the actions you take? the opinions or attitudes you hold? What shapes how you feel? Is it CNN broadcasting live, yahoo news feeds, a blog, your next door neighbor, or a guest lecturer? I’m supposing that it’s all the above and more. My research looks at the media landscape and the concept of influence and how this affects the public agenda….and within this mess and shades of gray, how and where the practice of social marketing fits in. I suggest social marketing offers us an opportunity to work collaboratively, erase divisions and provides a platform for those with similar motivations – doing good – to unite across industry fields, and thus, be more effective and successful.
I’m looking forward to hearing feedback and insights when I present the paper at the World Social Marketing Conference in Brighton, England this upcoming September 2008.
3. You’re a digital native (I am guessing ..:-) Millennial or whatever .. so, from your perspective in seeing various campaigns launched by nonprofits that use social media strategies, what are they doing right? What do they need to improve to appeal to folks like you?

Understandably, there are many questions about branching into social media and concerns about it being unregulated. But, I suggest, to just jump in. If not your organization, then you as the marketing/communications/outreach person. You, yourself, need to be familiar with new communication channels. I appreciate the digital native label….but I am constantly finding new applications and new strategies that online technology offers. So new or accustomed, there’s always more to learn.

When you’re open to learning, you’re open to opportunity.

4. Why do you think it is important for nonprofits to embrace social media?

For the same reasons why it is important for you to get to know your neighbors. Or, to teach your child how to change a tire. It just makes sense to know what’s out there and how it can be used.
5. What practical advice would you offer a nonprofit just dipping their toes in the social media waters?

Best practical tip, create a relatively simple, but not hackable password and keep it the same for all the accounts you are going to create. This stays true for the ID/name you create for your accounts. You’re identity still needs to be consistent, and practically, it helps you keep track and manage your online relationships.

Next, do a social media scan of your non-profit and/or cause using Technorati or a Google blog search. There are also social media apps that help you track keywords in the blogosphere. How can you know how to help further a cause, meet needs, etc., if you do not know what people are saying or how people currently perceive your organization/message?

6. Your 5 favorite social media or nonprofit blogs are:

There’s so many good ones out there, that it’s hard to choose. Narrowing it down to best blogs by women helps though…some I love include:
  1. Spare Change by Nedra Weinreich (social marketing)
  2. Have Fun * Do Good by Britt Bravo (nonprofit)
  3. Trendspotting by Dr. Taly Weiss (social media/marketing trends/research)
  4. NonProfit Communications/Carnival for Nonprofit Consultants by Kivi Leroux Miller (nonprofit)
  5. Lorelle on WordPress by Lorelle VanFossen (social media/wordpress help) She gets back to you very quickly with questions/comments too!
…and this one isn’t necessarily nonprofit or social media, but it’s a great break from the routine, work and provides good insight and entertainment: My Cool Job, by Carrie Lowery, where she interviews someone with a cool job multiple times a week and posts the interviews.

Thanks for the interview Beth!

May 5, 2008 at 4:34 am 4 comments

Web 2.0 Wednesday: Building a Field of Dreams

Dream big. When non-profits look at the World of Web 2.0 and begin to learn about all of its possibilities, I think you should dream big. This accomplishes two things:1. Can create excitement and a learning culture when presented to staff. If no ‘expert’ knowledge is really held by any, it can bond staff together in that everyone is experiencing a similar learning curve where all inputs and questions are equal and valuable.

2. Shows that your organization or cause can be limitless and bigger than yourself and your staff. Oftentimes, it brings staff members back to the original purpose of why they are doing what they do by reigniting their passion.

Now, keeping dreaming big in mind, I also empathize with the Non-Profit Tech blogger, Allan Benamer whose post discusses Web 2.0’s barriers to entry in some non-profit worlds. Allan brings up some great points on how a non-profit can approach technology, all technology, and create a culture shift within organizations without the web 2.0 hype.
To share an experience, last summer I was a research consultant for a non-profit organization. This included conducting an e-communications training workshop for all staff, conducting a User-Interface study, gathering relevant case studies, identifying and researching a target audience (Surprise, the millennials), and drafting recommendations for the organizatioan’s e-strategy.

In brief, the whole project was a great success. We purposefully left out a budget section of the recommendations as the chief communications officer and I agreed that a budget section would limit the brainstorming process by placing the focus on what we can and can’t do, rather than bringing the staff together to learn, brainstorm and have fun.

From the experience, the staff as a group, came to the consensus that they were focusing too much on their inputs, than their outputs in all their communications and strategy. It may seem like a simple outcome from the project, but it meant great changes for the organization. It brought everyone back under the original purpose of the organization – to help their clients, show how fun doing good can be and to share that with others. Instead of focusing on text bringing in donations and showing how each dollar would be used (which is important) and looking at what the organization could ‘get’ from their donors….they instead made a change. They started to focus on their outputs and what they are offering as a whole.

Now, the organization is changing for the better by the day. These changes include:

  • Updates and additions to their website and e-communications strategy. Some of which include simple presentation changes but others include great uses of Web 2.0.
  • A refreshed staff who is renewed by their passion and greater purpose of the organization.
  • Increased organization internally.
  • More ways for volunteers to get involved.
  • Greater participation and interest in events by the millennial audience.
  • And more!

All in all, yes, technology is great. Yes, Web 2.0 can be fun and helpful. But also.

Dream big. Remember your purpose. And, focus your energy on your outputs and your inputs will follow. (As a quick analogy, if you focused solely on blog traffic, would you get more traffic? Or, if you focused on offering great content, wouldn’t the traffic follow? Think Field of Dreams.)

January 2, 2008 at 4:55 pm Leave a comment

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Meet Alexandra Rampy, aka SocialButterfly

I am a social marketing believer, blogger, practitioner, researcher and enthusiast. This site highlights the growing movement of social marketing. Learn more about social marketing and how to be your own socialbutterfly--> here.

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