Posts tagged ‘blogger outreach’

BloggersUnite.org Drives Earth Day Buzz

Can you swallow this math?

According to Copywrite, Ink, there were 88,000 blog posts on Earth Day (April 22) that were added to the already existing 2 million written earlier in the week. What’s even more amazing? …About 10% of all those blog posts, came from bloggers on BloggersUnite.org.

In all transparency, I’m a participating members in both the BloggersUnite and BlogCatalog communities, and we worked on a project together in the past, but dang—they deserve a big pat on the back for accomplishing their exact mission, harnessing the power of the blogosphere.

As mentioned on the BloggersUnite Earth Day event page, Earth Day 2009 was held April 22nd and also marked the beginning The Green Generation Campaign, a two-year campaign that will culminate with the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day in 2010.

More Green Goodness

  • In honor of Earth Day, Colleague Mike Newton-Ward and fellow social marketer wrote a post on applying a social marketing approach to the environment and other green goodies that I highly recommend checking out. Bonus: He provides a slideshare presentation that outlines this even more! (But like a good blogging friend, I’m going to make you go to his post to access it. It’s worth it.)
  • Looking for ways to take action? Check out EPA’s “Pick 5” campaign to identify five ways you can start today to make a difference for our earth. Twitter tag: #p5e

One More Thought

So I say again, great job Tony, Rich and the whole BloggersUnite team–and count this posting just one more for the record book! And I ask you, the SB reader, how have you seen blogging communities drive awareness, change and/or action? I have some of my own ideas, but I’m more into hearing yours. =)

Blogger Outreach Series: Law Issues Part B, Privacy

Continuing in my blogger outreach series, this post will focus on law that addresses privacy in regard to bloggers and blog content.

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Privacy: Currently, privacy is not included in the bill of rights, but as technology increases, it’s developing into quite the controversy. To protect yourself as a blogger and the subjects included in your posts, it is important to understand the law surrounding online privacy issues and the increasing issues involving privacy

There are 2 ways to approach privacy:

  1. Your privacy as a Blogger AND
  2. the privacy of the people involved in your blog’s content

To protect your privacy as a blogger, there are some different approaches with strengths and benefits. These include:

Blog Completely Anonymously

  • Create a Psuedo-name
  • Do not give away identifiers in the blog’s content
  • For COMPLETE anonymous blogging, try Invisiblog, Tor and Anonymizer. These are applications that help you create an anonymous blog where the creators and hosts of the blog won’t even have access to your information, can hide your IP address, and allows for anonymous editing of your blog.
  • Limit Your Audience
  • To avoid being found in search engines or in Google, install a ‘Robots Text File Generator’ into your blog’s architecture.
  • Set-up an alternative email address.
  • Update from a public computer.

Pros/Cons: Privacy protected. But, if you desire more traffic, hits or views, this could limit you. And, you don’t get credit for your hard work and time into up-keeping your blog.

Blog Anonymously, but control who knows who you are

  • Create an alias…but with talking with friends, family, co-workers, or online contacts, feel free to share that it is your blog. But, you don’t have to put your name on the blog. This allows you to control who can identify the blog as yours, and allows you to control to some degree who knows you have a blog.
  • This is the option this blog SocialButterfly has chosen for a variety of reasons. Eventually, I will more than likely reveal my true identify, but in the meantime, I am collecting feedback on what employers, friends, colleagues think of someone wearing a ‘blogger’ hat.

Pros/Cons: Allows you to get feedback on what others think of your blog and protects your privacy to some degree meaning that random unique visitors can’t identify you without first contacting you and YOU deciding to disclose your identity to them based on your interactions with them.

Blog Openly, but control the type of information visible

  • Put a picture of yourself on the home page, along with a concise bio about your background and why you are blogging.
  • Consider the blog as a way to extend your ‘personal brand.’ So, your communications about yourself need to help build and add credibility to your blog.
  • Allows creator to develop long-term personal connections and relationships with readers.

Pros/Cons: This allows you take full advantage of social media at its best. As a small business owner, it allows to you communicate with possible consumers and to extend your business’ message and purpose and connects consumers to you on a more personal level. Cons include that you are personally identifiable on the web. Anyone can find your blog, know its yours, and may judge you on your blog before meeting you or making a personal connection with you. This could also affect potential employers or current employers.

Blog Completely Openly

  • This is an open, anything goes approach to blogging.

Pros/Cons: Your belief in free speech is rightly communicated and your views are open, honest and shared. However, you may have to provide evidence and reasons why you say what you say. Basically, be prepared to back yourself up. Cons could include potential employers shying away from you, or wanting to fire you because of your blog.

Some more points to remember as a blogger are found here including laws on political speech, unionizing, whistleblowing, blogging when you work for the government, and legal off-duty activities. Blogging about work activities when you work for the government is actually protected under the First Amendment according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Lessons from Privacy for people involved in the blog’s content:

  • If you plan on posting images, videos, or audio of subjects you interview or interact with, gain their consent before posting this material – especially if the material contains minors.
  • Get parental consent if the content relates to minors, and blur the minors face or voice if possible since laws pertaining to minors are much more strict.
  • If you shoot film or take photographs, to be safe, make sure it is done on public property unless you have the participants consent. This will avoid trespassing and invasion of privacy issues.

As blogging increases, it is important to note that many people have different feelings about anonymous-related blogging and the laws continue to change as the technology matures. And as a disclaimer, I reiterate, I am not a lawyer.

For more information on electronic privacy issues, see EPIC, the electronic privacy information center.

**If you are an expert in this area, please contact me as I’d be curious on your thoughts and feedback on this post. Thanks! **

Blogger Outreach Series 2: Law Issues Part A, Defamation and Negligence

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Continuing in my blogger outreach series, this post will focus on law that addresses issues bloggers need to know, understand and be conscience about when deciding how to go about starting a blog, conduct blogger outreach or a blog marketing plan.

As the democratization of journalism increases, many bloggers can be considered journalists. One issue with the current Shield Law being debated in the Senate is that some would like there to be a definition on who/what is a journalist. Indeed, bloggers are recognized by the Supreme Court as having the same protections as media individuals and organizations since they engage in similar activities. (Since the Shield Law is currently developing, it is important to note that Shield Laws do not necessarily always protect bloggers). As of now, no such definition exists and the implications of such a definition, could be, well…interesting….and perhaps, dangerous.

But enough about that, as I admit, I’m no politician and I haven’t been following the case the whole three years it’s been going on. My point –> it is important for a blogger to understand some of the issues the law addresses .

As a disclaimer, I am not a lawyer, but these are concepts that must be considered in the broader media industry. There are many, but this post will focus on defamation and negligence, while part b will cover copyright and privacy.

1. Defamation

A person or organization can file suit for ‘defamation of character.’ For content to be considered defamation, a private plaintiff must prove:

  • falsity (this includes insinuation or implication)
  • about or concerning the plaintiff filing the suit
  • exposes the person to hatred, contempt, aversion or introduces an evil or bad opinion about the plaintiff

In addition, the law is written differently when the plaintiff is a public official or a public figure. A public official or figure must prove: actual malice. A public official is defined as someone who has been elected, appointed, presented to a position. A public figure is someone who is either known to the public already or someone who were drawn into the issue. Actual malice means that the false statement was published “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” To determine actual malice, courts will look at the process and extent of pursuing the truth.

Other way defamation occurs comes from misidentification.

Defamation Lessons:

  • Be conscience of legal terminology. (i.e. accused vs. alleged)
  • Take extra measures when any content involves a minor or a private citizen.
  • Double-check names or contact the person to fact check names mentioned in posts.
  • Before publishing an address, phone number or email, be sure it is the correct contact information for the individual/organization.
  • Be wary of depended on internet sources and search engines. This includes wikipedia. =)
  • If you do realize a mistake, correct it, and write a retraction. A retraction acknowledges the mistake and re-iterates its correction.
  • If you are faced with this issue, truth can act as a defense.
  • Satire, parody and hyperbole are not considered defamation.
  • Opinion is not considered defamation. But, whether you and the plaintiff agree that the statement in question can be classified as ‘opinion’ is another story.
  • Corporations are not public figures. They are judged like private figures.
  • There is such a concept as defamation insurance, even for bloggers.
  • Each state has a different statute of limitations for how long someone can sue after a posting has been made.
  • See here for more extensive details about issues of defamation and libel as it applies to bloggers.

2. Negligence

Negligence means that the author acted recklessly beyond that of a reasonably, responsible person would have. Private figures – friends, coworkers, people at the bus station – only have to prove negligence to win their case; whereas, public officials and public figures must prove actual malice.

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If you are filed a law suit for what you blogged, the Electronic Frontier Foundation advises you to seek an attorney who is knowledgeable about Anti-SLAPP laws. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, and the Anti-SLAPP laws are enforced to help people who get sued for making legitimate, protected speech about public issues.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation offers a link to the The First Amendment Project, which has a helpful FAQ on Anti-SLAPP laws. Please note, that Anti-SLAPP laws currently don’t exist in every state and tend to vary.

Stay tuned for my continuing series on Blogger Outreach, issues to address when developing blogging outreach plans.

Next week: Law Issues Part B, Copyright and Privacy

Helpful Source: 12 Laws Every Blogger Should Know provided by Aviva Directory

Blogger Outreach Series 1: Regulation, in reference to government blogging

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On my Twitter feed, I recently asked the question:

What are people’s experience with their clients and organizations about incorporating blogs and/or blogger outreach to their interactive marketing plans?

I ask this because as social media knowledge expands, more organizations are looking at the concept of blogging, including government agencies. Thus, this next series of posts will revolve around questions organizations must ask themselves when wrestling with the ‘blogging dilemma.’ Or, to change the outlook and attitude, the blogging opportunity.

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Question 1: To blog, or not to blog, that is the question.

The first response I usually receive when discussing blogging is a question relating to regulation. Thus, to start-off this series, this post will focus on regulation. Not all organizations desire to blog. In fact, many fear blogging because of a popular notion that it is an unregulated mode of communications…a public relations disaster waiting to unfold. These fears inspire numerous questions.

1. What if someone leaves a bad comment?
2. What if the blogosphere doesn’t approve or doesn’t view us as transparent?
3. How will we manage this logistical mess?
4. How do we even evaluate if we make any progress?
5. What can a blog even achieve?
6. What is a blog?
7. What will a blog cost us?
8. How do we control a blog?

and the list continues. These questions cover a lot of topics. In my experience, this concept of regulation most often appears with government clients. Here is a common statement:

We can’t do blogging. It’s unregulated and you have no idea what people will say or how they’ll say it. We are a government agency, and we can’t take that sort of risk.”

This fear is understandable. For those not infiltrated in the blog arena, it appears messy – and at times, honestly, it is. However, the blogosphere doesn’t have to be completely viewed as ‘unregulated.’

Here are two examples on how organizations have approached blogging:

1. Regulate Blog Access. One organization I’m working with loves the idea of blogs, so much…(possibly a bit too much in my opinion…but hey, it’s also going to be a trial and error basis)…that their site will have 5-8 blogs. Logistically, this will be interesting. But in theory, the idea is to regulate who has blog access. The site will be set-up as an online community, so only members will see all the topical blogs. Whereas, the public will only see the one main blog. This way we can regulate what non-members have access to.

2. Trial and Error. One consulting client I worked with loved the idea of a blog, but wasn’t sold on having the blog content being created and written by the organization. They wanted to use a blog as an outreach to their non-profit’s community as another tool of engagement. So, they started the blog, regulate it, but let their community members write the content by having the blog’s perspective be: Share Your Story. So, those wrestling with the non-profit’s illness shared their stories, could build online community and support one another.

  • Event blogging
  • Live Blogging
  • Topical Blogging

Now, if you are working with a federal or state agency, the notion of blogging ruffles some feathers. Here is a critical case to make: blogging has been done. and can be done. Here eare some helpful sites to note:

1. Public Officials’ Blogs. Just do a quick environmental scan of the presidential candidates’ websites! This site even offers a full listing of current blogs held by public officials across the United States.

2. Increasing Government Agencies’ Blogs. Now the list may be small, especially when considering just how many agencies exist, but it’s a starting point.

3. Government Blog Resource. A great outline of what blogs are, issues to consider, blog statistics, viewpoints, etc…a great resource!

4. Research Study.The Blogging Revolution: Government in the Age of Web 2.0,” a report by the IBM Center for the Business of Government which lists congressional, state, and local blogs.

(pic from www.masternewmedia.org)

Blog Pitching: 5 Big Tips on What Not To Do

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Steve Field, over at The D-Ring, a blog about the military combined with social media, posted a great comical entry about his frustrations in receiving press releases as a blogger on behalf of various groups’ blogger outreach strategies.

Some tips Mr. Field mentions and are pretty practical:

1. Make the address personal.

The heading ‘To whom it may concern’ may be a bit un-inviting to the blogger whose name is obviously apparent on the homepage or in the about section.

2. Following the first tip, have you read the blog?

Show you have an interest or at least have a general idea about what the blog is about and its purpose.

3. Don’t assume bloggers know about what you are talking about.

If pitching a new product, service, campaign, idea, your latest invention….describe it.

4. Don’t be a link begger.

Offer something in content or service that is useful to the blogger or the blogging community.

5. Don’t contact a vegetarian blog about the latest McDonald’s big juicy burger.

Be targeted and relevant. Just like in traditional pitching, many of the same rules can apply.

Let’s see if we can extend the list (thxs Beth Kanter for the extending the list idea)!

What tips do you have regarding how people/groups contact bloggers? either what to-do or what not-to-do….

NIDA and AIDS.gov Join Together in Blogger Outreach Effort for World AIDS Day 2008

“HIV/AIDS has now become a pandemic that has literally put the world at risk, affecting diverse populations in different ways”. –Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA Director

Bloggers Unite

HIV/AIDS has been a global epidemic for more than 27 years. Most of today’s youth have never known a world without it. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published national HIV incidence (new infections) that showed much higher numbers that previous estimates.

On December 1st, individuals and organizations will recognize World AIDS Day. This year’s theme is leadership – from all sectors, including government, but also leaders among individuals and families, communities, non-profits and other organizations.

Today, on December 1, many of us are joining together through our online activity in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Joining us are two government agencies: the National Institute on Drug Abuse and AIDS.gov.

Together, they both offer numerous free resources for the public that address the HIV/AIDS issue. This is why they are joining together, along with Bloggers Unite, to harness the power of the blogosphere for good and join in community.

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Personally, I find this effort important beyond the issue of HIV/AIDS, though I definitely do not want to undermine the issue by my saying that. World AIDS Day 2008 is also important because this (to the best of my knowledge) is the first official blogger outreach activity conducted by not just one government agency, but two. Working together.

Both the National Institute on Drug Abuse and AIDS.gov are joining together with Bloggers Unite to recognize World AIDS Day 2008 through a blogger outreach call to action to raise awareness not only of the issue, but also of the great, free, public resources both agencies offer. The online Webisode below, provided by NIDA, is just one of these many resources. For more information, please visit the Bloggers Unite Participation pa

Other resources include:

NIDA’s Learn the Link Campaign
Drug abuse by any route can put a person at risk for getting HIV. This is because drug and alcohol intoxication affect judgment and can lead to unsafe sexual practices, which put people at risk for getting HIV or transmitting it to someone else. NIDA has developed the following resources to help educate, share and increase awareness of the AIDS issue.
AIDS.gov
The Federal government has developed a wealth of HIV/AIDS testing, prevention, treatment and research information. In addition, the following are some of the many resources you can use to help response to HIV/AIDS.

What are your thoughts about the increasing rise of government agencies in the social media playground? Thoughts, concerns or comments. I know you’re not shy. 😉

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Full disclosure: I am leading this effort at IQ Solutions for our client The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), along with AIDS.gov and Bloggers Unite.