The Wired Nonprofit 2012

This is the Class Blog for the Spring 2012 NYU Master's Class, "The Wired Nonprofit: Social Media Strategy and Practice" team-taught by Marcia Stepanek, Howard Greenstein and Tom Watson for NYU's Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising.

Posts tagged wnpnyu

Apr 24

Reflecting Forward and Backward

We recently had Eli Pariser talk about The Filter Bubble, and the challenge of having technology hide information from us online. This Sunday’s NY Times brought Sherry Terkel, talking about “The Flight from Conversation,” where she laments the ability for always-on connectivity to become a substitute for deep, meaningful, interactive, in-person conversations.

In today’s workplace, young people who have grown up fearing conversation show up on the job wearing earphones. Walking through a college library or the campus of a high-tech start-up, one sees the same thing: we are together, but each of us is in our own bubble, furiously connected to keyboards and tiny touch screens.
 

While I’m very familiar with that scene, I don’t consider the ability to tune out distractions and focus with some music a total conversation stopper. And I won’t deny that I enjoy the “sips,” as she calls them, of conversational interaction on the various social networks. But in co-Teaching with Tom and Marcia, and in co-creating this class with all of you, I have experienced some fantastic conversations.

Doc Searls said “We Are All Authors of Each Other,” in which he states:

Informing is not the same as delivering information. Inform is derived from the verb to form. When you inform me, you form me. You enlarge that which makes me most human: what I know. I am, to some degree, authored by you.

I believe we as a teaching team have helped “form” you, in some way, towards thinking about the use of online and digital technologies to get at that human, two-way communications. I state this because I have read papers from most of you, and have noticed the growth from your initial drafts and your outlined thoughts towards serious strategic thinking.

In some cases, I’m seeing the founding or re-formation of organizations intended to help groups in society to connect, learn, communicate, support and share with each other. The medium in this case actually enables the message. If distance, illness, or social standing blocks communication, the plans you have created routes around those blocks and creates new paths to explore. In other cases, I’m seeing clarity and new communications modes for organizations that need the help to connect, fundraise, and raise awareness. 

Reading your plans makes me excited for a more connection-rich future. 


Apr 17

Getting down to the wire

We’re nearing the end of classes and the time when things are due. So I’m going to go “off plan” and instead of previewing material from the next class, I’ll just share a few articles that may actually help you with your final papers. 

We don’t really emphasize search marketing as part of class. However, as anyone who has looked at a typical site’s analytics will tell you, many, many people find you because of search. So, learning about how social media affects search results is a good idea.

Digiday reports: 

Natural search results are very much intertwined with social media. Social media is teaching people to interpret and filter their inputs based on their social network. People trust each other more than they trust branded content. The opportunity for brands lies in cultivating loyal customers so they then go on to market the brand to their friends.

You can read about “Social’s Hidden Power: Search Rankings" for more. While we’re at it, why not use "Social Media to Test Email Subject Lines?” Seems like a great use of social to see what your audience responds to. 

Additionally, we’ve discussed LinkedIn but it often doesn’t rise to the level of ‘must engage in’ when we discuss strategy in class. Perhaps that’s why it’s called “The Forgotten Social Network" in this article. Not only can you run ads that target top executives - you can also make sure your company updates are targeted to specific people. Maybe cause marketing efforts are targeted to top people in companies? Get creative. 

Enjoy your week off, and don’t forget to attend the panel tomorrow night if you can. 

- Howard Greenstein


Apr 11

Knocking Down the Silos

old silo

Social Media have triggered new collaborations, across organizations and disciplines. We’ve seen that clearly from our work in class over the past 10 or so weeks. A practitioner doesn’t just have to know fundraising or development in a traditional sense (though it is critical to understand the field as a whole), they have to know how to get the crowd involved as well. 

As shown in the paper I published with Professor Watson last year, Wired Workforce, Networked CSR - Employee Involvement in the Age of Social Media , companies aren’t just looking at giving from a philanthropy perspective either. Companies like Pepsi have created entire marketing initiatives to engage their customers on a different level related to community and cause involvement, which also might resonate with people who drink carbonated beverages. Kaiser Permanente isn’t just thinking about health insurance and doctor bills for sick people, they’ve created a blog and Facebook presence to encourage healthly lifestyles and health information sharing. 

Nonprofits like Donors Choose and Changing the Present redefine giving and create huge windows of transparency between donors and recipients that set a bar for organizations everywhere to consider. 

Cause Marketing becomes confusing when you look at products that are also causes, like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (from this month’s Inc. Magazine.)

As you create your final papers and videos, give a thought to Cause Marketing efforts, and think about whether getting a brand or company involved with your efforts is worth thinking about. 

While we have no class session on the 18th, don’t forget about the Evening with Futurist Andrew Zolli


Apr 9

#wnpNYU Links: Games and Case Studies

"Gamification" was the theme of last week’s class and here are some (slightly belated!) links to relevant material. I came across this fabulous story in upstate Times Herald-Record courtesy of blogger Lance Mannion - an onlight flight simulator tool based on a game that will allow researchers to crowdsource the right of Amelia Earhart’s ill-fated 1937 flight.

"Everybody was looking in the same place, and no one had found her," Blair said.

What if, Blair wondered, instead of booking passage on one of those search efforts (typical fare: $50,000), he could instead book passage on a virtual duplicate of Earhart’s plane?

Why couldn’t he duplicate her flight path and make his own investigation?

Blair calls the answer to those questions The Electra Project. With a thoroughness that Earhart herself would have benefitted from, he and a crew of investors and researchers have meticulously re-created the Lockheed Electra L10E “Special,” the bimotor monoplane that was supposed to carry Earhart across the Pacific but instead became her tomb.

Blair is putting the final touches on the program, which runs on a popular flight simulator program called X-Plane.

After two years of intensive research and costs of $50,000, it’s scheduled for public release in June — just before the 75th anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance.

We also heard from Suzanne Seggerman, an award-winning activist and co-founder and former President of Games for Change (G4C), a leading global advocate for social impact games. Suzanne gave a fantastic overview of interactive games that engage users with causes and movements. One key point she made that I think require emphasis: social change games are still relatively new - we’re in the 1950s of the television development. G4C is a real nexus for social change game theory and here’s a video interview they did with author Jane McGonigal about her book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World:

Professor Greenstein took us through the famed case study of Canadian musician Dave Carroll and his United Breaks Guitars campaign. Sometimes things go wrong. Mistakes are made. Failures happen. And that’s part of why this study of social media - still so early in its development - is fascinating. Here’s a piece that Professor Stepanek wrote two years ago for the Stanford Social Innovation Review that really takes on this idea of failure with a couple of very prominent examples. And Prof. Greenstein had a piece in Inc. about TV builder Bob Vila’s lessons learned about digital media that shows the ups and downs that even a well-known voice finds online. And sometimes what’s lacking in the real social network: this past week, activists tried to put pressure on Augusta National to name its first female member, in a year when the IBM CEO - traditionally granted membership - is a women. Yet the Masters tournament went on with only a smattering of op-ed pieces. No real pressure - and as I wrote in Forbes, I think it’s because that network was clearly absent.

- Prof. Watson


Apr 3

Don’t give in to the Dark Side

Do we really know the power of the dark side?

Next week’s class is about the challenges, failures and public relations nightmares that come with being online. Some organizations are duly chastised, and turn their procedures and direction around, as we heard from the Red Cross earlier in the semester. 

Some situations, like the Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood conflict earlier this year, show organizations that are not prepared for a public backlash. They literally pull a play from the ostrich playbook, hoping by hiding their own heads in the sand, no one will look at them. 

And yet, sometimes, the folks that are “looking good” in the public eye have a karmic boomerang. Witness this morning’s article stating that Planned Parenthood refused a $500,000 donation from humorist Tucker Max, since they were afraid it would turn off other donors. Max is famous for writing about his conquests of women, once saying - “Due to the potent combination of my sexual recklessness and the slutty nature of some of the girls I have slept with, I have accumulated enough stories and anecdotes about abortion that they could name a Planned Parenthood clinic after me.”  Humor or disgusting person- you decide based on your own sensitivities. In fact, last year, a major conservative campaign was started around this specific quote. See the Live Action blog or google “Tucker Max Planned Parenthood”. So the fact that Planned Parenthood hasn’t taken his money for just such a donation is potentially an interesting challenge. 

Having been involved with a non-profit that didn’t take money from a controversial figure, I’m aware these kinds of events can come under scrutiny from the government as well as supporter or detractors. 

Coming up in our class next week, we’ll not only discuss the dark side of public relations, but also the Filter Bubble, with the author of that book, Eli Pariser. The basic premise of the Filter Bubble is that the net “hides” things from us. The more we get news from friends via social networks, and the more search engines give us things based on our preferences, the less we see about opposing points of view or other possible outcomes or scenarios, and the more we talk to our own echo chamber. 

On the positive side this morning, we find that Online Gifts have grown 16% this year. The article notes”…some cause related, social media savvy non-profits are now raking in as much as 25% of their small donations on line.” So, keep working on those plans! 

Howard Greenstein


Mar 29

#wnpNYU Thursday Links: Social Capital, Hard at Work

The semester’s final outside speaker is slated to Mari Kuraishi, co-founder of the excellent GlobalGiving social enterprise, with a decade’s experience in how social media (though we didn’t call it that then) can power giving and involvement. I wrote my column for Forbes this week on Mari’s trip to Japan a year after the tsunami and the evolution of GlobalGiving’s model. Here’s the bit with my personal take:

I know the extra mile GlobalGiving travels to both vet and follow-up with its nonprofit partners – largely because GlobalGiving stays in touch through email, video, social media to let me know how things are going. And while the large-scale relief efforts certainly deserve support in times of crisis, my dollars instinctively follow the path of smaller scale enterprises and organizations where I know Kuraishi and her team build real relationships, study the data, and invest philanthropic resources where they’re needed. This is social capital hard at work.

GlobalGiving has reached sustainability after 10 long years of hard work, trial and error, and community-building. Our speaker this week was the insightful George Weiner, CTO of DoSomething, an organization that - get this - has actually been around since 1993. Now to be fair, it’s been more recently jump-started after a period of inactivity by Nancy Lublin and her to-notch team, but I also think that like GlobalGiving, DoSomething.org is a prime example of a non-overnight success in the online social activism space (which I chronicled in my 2008 book CauseWired). Here’s George, giving his justly famous five-word acceptance speech at the Webby Awards:

Another long-term online social venture that has seen rapid growth of late is Change.org, the online activism and petition platform - you may have signed a Trayvon Martin petition, or a Susan G. Komen petition, or a Rush Limbaugh petition…all in the last month or so. Its founder Ben Rattray has been nominated to be included in Time magazine’s Time 100 poll of “leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes.” The skinny:

Rattray told TIME he’d rather Change.org win a Nobel Peace Prize than have a big-ticket IPO. The site is a platform that allows ordinary folks to launch petitions against inequity and gather support from all over the world. With nearly 10 million members, it packs a big punch: witness the incredible success of the Trayvon Martin petition, which attracted nearly 2 million signatures. 

Finally, from the Harvard Business Review blog network, a discussion by Tom Davenport on the importance of “small data” in understanding what’s happening in an organization:

…you don’t need big data, or even big support from senior management, to foment your own revolution in organizational decision-making. With small data to be found everywhere, there is no excuse not to improve your own judgment calls.

Tom Watson


Mar 27

Participating Versus Leading

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink," is a common phrase that may date back to the 12th century (according to the Phrase Finder.) In that same way, you can lead a community, but they won’t always follow you. Leadership in the online world is often much more of a negotiated set of rules, norms and contributions, with consensus building, a dose of public recognition and potential for shame as carrot and stick (to keep with our horse analogy). 

In "Managers Need to Up Their Game with Social Media," on a Harvard Business Review blog, Anthony J. Bradley, group vice president, Gartner Research, and Mark P. McDonald, group vice president and Gartner Fellow, Gartner Executive Programs discuss the challenges of implementing Social Media in large enterprises. They talk about water and horse leading perfectly, saying:

Relinquishing control to create space for collaboration challenges managers who rely on their authority, experience, and positional power to achieve results. And managers who exercise their authority over a collaborative community will defeat the purpose of social media-based collaboration and turn energetic and innovative communities into just another form of corporate task force.

We know this is the case from many of our examples this semester. No one coerced or used positional power to get people to sign petitions about Komen or Kony2012 or Occupy. Instead, as Bradley and McDonald note, online community is about guiding people, showing the water, the potential and showing the solution to thirst. 

They state:

Participation, purpose, and performance represent the goals for guiding management and the requirements for effective managers/sponsors in mass collaboration. However, it takes a particular type of manager and management team to foster the type of mass collaboration that taps into the collective genius of your customers and employees.

And, just like in a great online community, a comment in that post yielded another great post reference. Greg Lowe of Yammer posted about the need to include Middle Managers in the creation of company social networks as a key to success of any build out. We can learn from his advice about focusing on behavior and opportunities and not tools when we “sell” the use of social into organizations we work with. There are legitimate fears, concerns, and barriers to change that we can’t bulldoze to make things “the social way” from the start. Those same concerns come up when we create networks of friends to support causes in the world.

I’d love your feedback on those pieces.

Also, in anticipation of next week, Fast Company has an interview with Jane McGonigal that is a great, 6 minute video to watch. 

— Howard


Mar 23

Why I love LinkedIn

I participate in LinkedIn’s online community, as it has been incredibly useful for networking. I also have the opportunity to view the potential connections I could make through my own contacts extended network. I use LinkedIn to participate in discussions related to development, food, travel, and networking events. I subscribe to various groups and receive weekly digests of popular discussions.

My org would benefit from having a stronger LinkedIn presence because it has an influential Board & Advisory Board that should be involved in group discussions, as well as affluent and influential members of the community that are incredibly passionate about supporting the cause. Also, having a presence on a professional online community with members that are influential offers additional credibility to the org. LinkedIn could provide great opportunities to recruit volunteers, board and advisory board members, potential donors, and committee co-chairs for special events. It is also a great way to promote an initiative, special event or share info related to the cause and the org.

~Sara


Mar 22

Thursday Links: CauseWired Leadership Matters #wnpNYU

Back from spring break, the Wired Nonprofit is deep into creating videos for our organizations, polishing strategic social media plans, and talking about building communities poised to take action. One idea that’s been a constant in class since our first conversations has been the notion of online leadership, the cause campaigns big and small in which individuals inspired others to take action.

Our reading assignment this week is chapter nine from my book CauseWired (Wiley, 2008), which explored that idea - and at the time, mildly debunked a version of the crowdsourcing as an ideal under which all participants are equal:

Not every online participant  is an equal, not every activist succeeds, not every fundraiser raises money, and not every networker gets her friends deeply involved in a cause.

In my reporting then, it was the online field captains of the Obama campaign, the Case Foundation’s Giving Challenge (and those who worked hardest to raise support), and the tireless organizing of online nonprofit guru Beth Kanter for her favorite cause of education in Cambodia that served as examples of how the old verities of fundraising and organizing hold true in the new socially-wired web.

In class discussions, we’ve talked about how networks - both formal and more ad hoc - still rely on leaders or “superfans” to carry the water of the cause and convince their friends and colleagues to take part. Kony 2012 didn’t just happen. There was a strong behind-the-scenes group of volunteer leaders in the Susan G. Komen protest. This week, we heard how leaders within the IAVA’s online network of returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans make that the ideal “self-policing community,” holding the conversations to high standards.

And the idea of leadership remains true even in so-called “leaderless” organizations like Occupy Wall Street and its related chapters. In truth, some people work very hard to keep OWS going - they work as volunteers, they urge involvement, they take part in decision-making, and they organize the wider community, especially online. It’s very effective. In Union Square yesterday, right after call, I snapped a few photos of the rally to support justice for the slain 17-year-old Floridian Trayvon Martin - a rally that featured brief speeches by his parents. When his mother told the crowd, “my son is your son” it was an extremely moving and unifying moment.

Yet the rally happened quickly. It was organized offline and promoted on Twitter. The hashtag - in addition to #trayvonmartin - referred to what the high school student was wearing when he was killed (and deemed suspicious by the neighborwood watch volunteer who shot him), and it also gave evidence of the size of the crowd - both online and off:

#millionhoodies

[Prof. Watson]


Mar 2

@wnpNYU Thursday Post: Video and More Video

It’s video week for the Wired Nonprofit team. On Saturday, we’ll gather for our day-long video lab. And this week in class, we had a fantastic Skype vist from the estimable Ramya Raghavan, who talked about YouTube’s large-scale program for nonprofits. Ramya pointed out that YouTube has a great online guide to nonprofit and cause video, including the YouTube Guide: Playbook for Good [pdf download]. And here’s YouTube’s video on the nonprofit program:

Another great guide comes from Michael Hoffman and his team at See3 Media, which runs the annual DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards. The guide is “designed to get you thinking about online video, and to get you started on the path toward becoming a more web-centric organization.” Here’s a preview:

The Starter Guide to Nonprofit Video Storytelling is a free, downloadable e-book that also gives a great overview on cause-related video creation and helps you to ask the right questions. The e-book is from CauseVox and ListenInPictures and argues that: “Video is a powerful way to tell stories. It captures your attention and evokes emotions unlike any other method. The best way to raise funds online is to tell great stories online.” We agree! Here’s a preview of what you’ll find in the download:

Finally, as we work on strategy papers for our causes, it’s important to look at the audience - and many in class are specifically targeting young people, with good reason. The latest in a series of reports by the Pew Internet & American Life Project looks at the results of growing up connected to data - the so-called millennial generation born after 1980:

Teens and young adults brought up from childhood with a continuous connection to each other and to information will be nimble, quick-acting multitaskers who count on the Internet as their external brain and who approach problems in a different way from their elders, according to a new survey of technology experts.


Feb 29

Peer Indexing Presidential Candidates

PeerIndex is a web technology company that is algorithmically mapping out the social web.  If an individual or an entity has a twitter or facebook account, Peer Index provides a relative measure of someone’s online authority across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, and up to three blog URLs.

The site is easy to use and fun to compare authorities (including yourself!).  A word of caution, the tool is still in Beta and is ironing out how it calibrates “leaders.” Topic communities need to be conversing and large enough for meaningful analysis, and for the PeerIndex algorithm to automatically rank people in that topic.

PeerIndex uses three main indicators, which all rank out of 100 (100 is highest).

Authority score – measure of trust; how much others rely on the person’s recommendations and opinions

Audience score – measure of reach; number of people who are impacted by the person’s actions and receptive to what the person is saying

Activity score – measure of the person’s activity relative to the activity of the topic communities the person is part of.

A score of 40+ indicates the candidate is in the top 10% of the topic community.  A score of 90+ indicates the top 0.1% of the community.

The site is able to compare individuals.  Belwo is a snapshot of all the candidates’ indices.

User

PeerIndex

Authority

Activity

Audience

Barack Obama

85

84

44

99

Ron Paul

59

51

39

87

Mitt Romney

55

46

36

86

Newt Gingrich

92

94

40

95

Rick Santorum

29

27

39

28

According to the above, Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich are leading the pack.  Gingrich ranks most highly in how much others trust him and rely on his opinions, and relevant level of activity in his topic communities.  Obama beats Gingrich in his reach.

Using another tool on PeerIndex, the Topic Fingerprint, Obama is influential across a greater range of topics than Gingrich -  technology & internet; science & environment; health and medicine; leisure and lifestyle; finance, business and economics; and politics, news & society.  Compared to Obama’s six topic areas, Gingrich is only influential in two - finance, business and economics; and politics, news & society.

Katherine Crawford-Gray


Feb 28

Hank for Senate!

Love this campaign! It’s received attention everywhere from the Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-buzz/post/hank-for-senate-cat-campaigns-against-george-allen-tim-kaine-for-va-seat/2012/02/27/gIQAZgx1dR_blog.html (with 640 recs on FB and 102 Tweets of this article) to TechPresident.com http://techpresident.com/news/21838/first-post-stumping.

This 9-year-old street cat, from Springfield, has a Web site, a Facebook page, and Twitter handle with nearly 400 followers!

Check out his official twit pic http://pic.twitter.com/OCqaCnH5 as he launches his campaign earlier this month!

According to Twitalyzer he has the potential to reach over 50K tweeters, has a 3% Impact score (83rd percentile) and has a influence score of 4.5%, which is in the 91st percentile!

Way to go Kitty! Any chance we can get him to Skype with our class?

~ Sara P.


Feb 26

Conflict Calling

Livestreaming, the act of broadcasting a video to the Internet in near real-time, is the latest weapon of choice for increasing numbers of citizen activists worldwide, from supporters of Occupy Wall Street to civilians targeted for assault in Syria’s civil unrest.

Increasingly, cell phones are being used to document events as they happen and to broadcast those events, simultaneously.

Here are just a few thoughts about mobile/video activism as we head into our video week and lab on Saturday:

* Bambuser, a mobile app out of Sweden, has become one of the most popular livestreaming platforms, chiefly because of its ability to stream video over poor mobile connections and because it supports more than 200 different mobile devices, from inexpensive Nokias to the latest iPhone. About 90 to 95 percent of the live video coming out of Syria in recent days and weeks has been streamed via Bambuser. It has so far proven difficult to censor Bambuser. Though the Syrian government blocked 3G and desktop Web access to the service on February 17th, some streams documenting the government’s attacks on civilians as well as the horrific conditions in Syrian hospitals caring for the wounded are still getting through.

* Consider livestreaming one of the most potent forms of cause activism and citizen journalism. Thanks to improvements in Facebook’s newsfeed interfaces, it is now easier to broadcast a live feed to target audiences. One of the more facile livecasters to date is Tim Pool, who became Web-famous for his 21-hour, continuous videostream on Ustream of the tense, second-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street last November 17th, which he engineered via a Samsung Galaxy S II cellphone operating on Sprint’s 4G network. Pool’s continuous livecasting, which he hosted, narrated and produced on the spot, drew more than 20,000 simultaneous viewers and 250,000 unique visitors throughout the course of that day. His feeds also were picked up by Al Jazeera English and other more mainstream news outlets.

* Livestreams are proving to be effective inhibitors. According to Bambuser Founder Mans Adler, in an interview last December with NPR’s Brooke Gladstone, livestreams have evolved over the past five years from content produced by “soccer moms streaming live from soccer games” to live action shots of conflict produced by citizen activists covering civil unrest. With uptake by traditional media channels, livestreams can serve as instant documentation of authoritarian abuses as they occur, and under the right circumstances, help to stop them.  ”Livestreaming provides (activists) with the opportunity to not be afraid of losing their content because when you’re protesting, the police may confiscate your phone,” Adler told NPR. “Doing a livestream isn’t so risky. Once livestreamed, the content is already out there on the web.” Adler cited the case of Tarek Shalaby in Egypt, who was livestreaming a protest outside the Israeli Embassy in Cairo last June and got arrested along with 12 other people. “He kept streaming while the police arrested them and you can hear everything they’re saying,” Adler said. “The police were collaborating with the Egyptian Army, which was the first time anybody had heard that. The livestream was picked up by Al-Jazeera and it was such a huge thing on the news —even before the police had managed to get those 13 people to the police station. The head of the police station was afraid of all the media attacking him and so (the police) ended up letting (the protesters) go.” 

Mans told NPR that Bambuser is receiving a lot of videos now from Russia, Syria, from the Emirates and from Occupy Wall Street movements, still. “It’s sort of like taking the temperature on a political level of what’s going on, on our planet, right here and right now,” he said.

For more about how you can use livestreams to energize your nonprofit cause or document your advocacy campaign, check out Bambuser, here, or this ehow.com video on how to convert your camera cell phone into a wireless Webcam. Here’s another "how-to" on livestreaming from Livestream, the company.

We’re looking forward to sharing more tips on video-activism with you later this week.

(Marcia Stepanek)

[Screen shot, above, from Bambuser feed out of Syria on February 17th showing the Syrian Army’s attack on a pipeline, broadcast just before the government sought to block the service.]


Feb 23

Thursday Links: Numbers and Stories #wnpNYU

The great digital measurement guru K.D. Paine was our guest speaker in class this week via Skype, and she spoke eloquently about interpreting numbers and asking the right questions of data. We’ve been following the online fallout of the Komen-Planned Parenthood flap this semester because it’s such a good example of both best and worst practices in dealing with an online conversation, a super-current case study in the perils of the crowd online and the role of transparency and authenticity. But there are other metrics as well - personal ones for those who feel the cause deeply. So I thought I’d share K.D.’s very personal post on the Komen contretemps with the class to make the point we touched on yesterday: that numbers are fantastic, but they need to serve the story and those who tell it.

Check out the We are all Khaled Said Facebook page, which is really a classic of the genre, used to organize the Egyptian uprising - and now serving as an ad hoc news service for continued Arab Spring information. Here’s the site for the Games for Change 2012 festival we mentioned in class - some fantastic links (and ideas) there for using fun experiences to advance serious causes. We’ve talked about how every cell phone is now a Web-linked video camera primed for telling important stories - here’s a piece on how citizen journalists are changing the media landscape in India by telling the stories of the poor that previously went untold. Fascinating stuff.

Your professors do some writing outside of this blog our and our Ning. Mobile is very much on the mind of Professor Greenstein in his Inc. column, which focuses on how the Girls Scouts used mobile payments to increase the sale of cookies. And Professor Stepanek’s popular CauseGlobal blog has a very timely piece on cause video and ”10 things to think about before you start shooting” a cause video (complete with a shout out to the class). And my new Forbes column Social Ventures launched this week by asking the rhetorical question: Who Are The Social Entrepreneurs?

Finally, some comic relief. We showed this video as class was filing in, but for those who missed it, here’s a preview of the hottest new social media platform out there. 


Feb 21

Why? ‘Cause.

First, great to see some of the posts this past week, and good to see that you’re starting to engage online, listen online, and more. 

As usual, my Tuesday post is a look into the near future, next week to be specific. Our week 6 topic is video for causes, and using stories to convey proof, impact and complexity in ways that sell. It’s tough to improve on Marcia’s Viteracy post from earlier in the week, but I’ll add to it. 

For some practical advice, you can check “How To Make a Cause Marketing Video that Doesn’t Suck,” DoSomething.org’s “How To Make a Video about your Cause,” or “How to Make a Short Film With No Budget and Questionable Talent.” 

Finally, the videos below are mentioned in the syllabus, and are a great intro to video storytelling. Parts 1 and 2 are also easy to find on YouTube. 

Ira Glass on Storytelling Part 3

Ira Glass on Storytelling part 4 

Oh, and because I found this and it’s quite good, a bonus article for this week on Social Media ROI. 

(Howard Greenstein)


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