Posts tagged ‘blogging’

Still Here–Just In More Places

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting here quite as often. Part of the reason for this is that I’ve been writing for a few different places over the past few months. I highlight some of the posts below:

  • Have Questions, Not Answers for 2011
    [On Care2’s frogloop Blog] In the nonprofit arena, the word “marketing” can have a bad rap. But you can help change that–and with good reason.  Marketing, in particular, social marketing can make all the difference in your organization’s work come 2011.                                               Read More.
  • In Review, the mHealth Attendee Gaining in Notoriety
    [On Pulse + Signal] This week’s mHealth Summit in Washington D.C rolled out the red carpet for some of the world’s top innovators including Ted Turner, Bill Gates, U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra and over 2,000 participants from 30 countries. It was a learning hub and feeding ground for those in government, NGOs, research, technology, policy and business. But there’s one attendee I spotted throughout the conference that gained in notoriety and demand—behavior change.
    Read More.

Hopefully, I’ll be back here posting more regularly again soon. However, I’m now starting to understand why, when I tell people that I blog, they ask me: How do you find the time? Well, as you can see, that’s been a bit of a struggle lately. Never fear though–something it always in the works. Until next time, Alex.

flickr credit: Leonard John Matthews

Guest Posting: Beth Kanter and An Experiment in Action

Photo of Beth Kanter, non-profit and technology guruThose of us who follow Beth Kanter’s blog about non-profits and technology may have noticed a great experiment (whether she meant it to be or not) on guest posting. As Beth and her family made the move to California, Beth invited non-profit, social change and do-good members of the blogosphere to guest post on her blog with their best posts from the past.

People like Amy Sample Ward, Britt Bravo, Geoff Livingston, Nancy Schwartz, Stacey Monk and others. And yesterday, my own post from last October on the “Cool Factor About Mobile” was also cross-posted on Beth’s blog. To me, this experiment has blossomed with success. It’s added color to our blogosphere, raised voices and increased the camaraderie of the folks in this space.

So, thank you Beth Kanter, not only for the opportunity to share in your space, but also for trying out this guest posting experiment. Look forward to your shared insights and revelations this series has generated (*Tip: If you haven’t checked out Beth’s blog yet, I highly encourage it.)

What do you think? What are your thoughts about guest posting? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s “Guest Posting Part Duex” as another guest post experiment is revealed.

flickr credit: LeeLeFever 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

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. =)

For Twitter Success, Just Add Meaning.

With Dr. Mark Drapeau’s ReadWriteWeb Goverati article yesterday, it seems that the beast is awakening and out of this slumber is arising more Twitter accounts, and thus more friends to meet and conversations to maintain.

As a new Twitter member, one may be wondering a series of questions that I hope this post offers a “quick guide” to successful Twitter use and community, with the key ingredient reiterated at the end.

“What is Twitter?”

Twitter is a micro-blogging social media tool that asks the question, “What are you doing?” Individuals, who have logged in and registered for the free service, answer the question within 140 characters or within multiple updates and then ‘update’ their status. Twitter works by individuals agreeing to ‘follow’ a certain Twitter account. Once following this account, the person then gets the account’s updates. It is a great medium that lends itself to both one-to-one communications, as well as one-to-many communications. In the past six months, Twitter has gone from 600k accounts, to 2.9 million accounts.

“How can I/We use Twitter?”

The list below outlines 13 different functions that both individuals and organizations can use Twitter’s platform to accomplish:

1.    Inquiry Response
2.    Reputation Management
3.    Promotion
4.    Event Planning
5.    Brand Equity
6.    Marketing
7.    Fundraising
8.    Reminders
9.    Emergency and Disaster Response
10.    Provide information, news and tips
11.    Research
12.    Conversation Tracking through Hashtags (i.e. #WAD08, #healthcomm)
13.    Social Networking

“Now what?”

  1. Find YOUR Voice. We all have different perspectives and a variety of experiences, and as I @cdorobek reiterate, we make each other better. Whether your Twitter handle is your real name or a nickname, it doesn’t matter, what matters…is getting started and getting involved.
  2. Add Value. Twitter’s capabilities are great. But for them to stick and for you to get the most out of it, you must find value not just in the technology, but in the conversations and those you connect with. Thus, respond, connect and engage.
  3. Create Meaning. This one stretches beyond Twitter, but into social media strategy in general. So, you create a blog, a wiki, a thingy-maggig, people aren’t going to use it unless it adds meaning to their lives.

“How do I connect?”

  1. For Government folks, check out GovTwit. And, have you signed up for Government 2.0 Camp yet? Are registered on Govloop?
  2. For Health folks, check out this top 100 health Twitter-ers list. (Also, be sure to check out next week’s DC Social Media Club event about Health 2.0 or there’s DC HealthCamp in late February, the Health 2.0 Conference).
  3. For others, check out Twitter packs, Twitter Search and the JustTweetIt directory.

“Where can I learn more?”

  1. Ogilvy’s Twitter Blog Posts Series
  2. Twit Tip Blog by Problogger, (@problogger)
  3. Government Micro-Blogging Information
  4. Twitter Support
  5. Twitter Wiki

In sum, just add meaning. This may seem easier said than done, so I want to help. What are your other Twitter questions? I can already think of a few (tools, metrics, etc.) Feel free to comment, and I will offer more in the comments. Finally, I too am on Twitter: @socialbttrfly. Feel free to follow, and I look forward to creating meaning together.

Nominated Neighbor: Beth Dunn – social media enthusiast, non-profit practioner, and sock-knitter expert

Continuing my weekly “Blogger Neighborhood Series” and in honor of the great Mr. Rogers, who called us to “Get to know our neighbor,” Beth Dunn over at Small Dots shares her wit, personality and journey as the third neighbor in our series. Dunn was nominated by previously featured blog neighbor, Beth Kanter.

Blog Name: Small Dots

Blog Topic: Social media and other useful technology tools for nonprofits and the people who love them

About the Author: I am the Director of Communications and Technology for the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College, I pursued graduate studies in geology at Syracuse University. When I was 28, I bought a nightclub, euphemistically known as a “live-musicvenue,” in upstate New York and operated that for several years before returning to Cape Cod in 2002. I then worked for several years as a freelance editor for Random House Publishing, Sterling Publishing, and several scientific academic journals, and served as the Director of Communications for the Harwich Junior Theater before joining the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod in 2006.

I’ve been in communications since 1997, nonprofit communications since 2004, and I’ve been blogging since about 2003. I started blogging on a personal blog, and quickly branched out into writing weekly columns for several humor blogs (all of which are now sadly defunct). I’m a darn good public speaker, an enthusiastic baseball fan (but not for the team you would expect), and an ex-professional chef. I am also an expert sock-knitter. Yes, expert.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned from blogging? Be yourself. You can be no other.

If you could lived on any street, which street would you live on and why? Perry Lane. It’s the dirt road on which my great-grandfather’ s house still sits — an 1840 farmhouse on Cape Cod, only a few miles from where I live now. My grandfather had to sell it a few years ago, and none of us had the scratch to buy it from him at the time. I’d love to buy it back from the (very nice) folks who bought it, and then settle there. I mean, those ghosts are MY ghosts.

Who would be your dream real-life neighbor? Annie LaMott. She’s one of my favorite writers; she writes great fiction AND great non-fiction on the subject of writing, and I think we would make terrific neighbors. We have a lot in common, including a certain level of neuroticism, and a peculiar sense of humor.

Why do you blog? I’m a compulsive blogger, and I have been since I first started in 2003. I love to write, and I love how blogging keeps my writing skills sharp. I love the community of people that I have met through writing a blog and reading blogs. Blogging makes me global.

What’s your favorite blog post and why? The one where I compared CEOs (those who are averse to social media) to the Tiv tribe in Africa: Lost in Translation – Social Media and Hamlet. I was remembering that old Intro to Anthropology essay that we all had to read, about the young anthropologist who believes that Hamlet is universal and transcends cultural differences, and she faces hysterical obstacles in her quest to translate it to the indigenous population she is working with in Africa. I like it because it’s typical of the way I think, drawing strange metaphors and parallels from seemingly unrelated disciplines. It’s what we liberal arts college graduates are best at, I think.

Look out next week to see who else has been nominated in the neighborhood!


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 @

Happy Birthday SocialButterfly…and Me!

Today marks SocialButterfly’s 1-year birthday.

This past year was full of surprises, new adventures, and has been such a great whirlwind that I feel much like the kitten in the picture – trying to catch my breathe and “paws.” My anthem for 2008 was “Too Blessed to be Stressed,” and many times, I found myself needing to be reminded of just that.

This past year, I:

  • Moved 4 times, one being from the middle of the Missouri River in Columbia, Missouri to the row houses of Capitol Hill.
  • Have been deliriously happy as a new bride-to-be. After a two-year, long distance relationship, my honey and I are now sharing the same city and enjoying building a new life together. Bless our hearts, we looked at 33 different places in DC before we decided upon our current apartment. Needless to say, I felt like we had earned our real estate licenses!
  • I graduated grad school, finished a fellowship, wrote and presented my thesis paper across the pond, and began a full-time gig doing what I love – social marketing and social media marketing.
  • Worked with a total of about 8 part-time volunteers, including my parents, one of my best friends, and a few people from our community in Arkansas, through a grassroots effort, created and built a fund raiser for Multiple Sclerosis and raised over $70,000 in one night – making my total efforts in four years of MS fund raising a total of $325k+.
  • Made many new friends and colleagues that continue to inspire me through Changebloggers, motivate me through connections on Twitter and online community, support me in my development and run the race with me….so to all you readers and friends, I hope I have done the same for you in return. If not, give me a little kick in the pants, and I’ll get going.

For 2009, who knows what will be next….but I promise you, we’ll be sure to keep it interesting. As a fellow reminder to both myself and my readers, keep perspective, and as a friend of mine once told me, “Keep the main thing, the main thing.”

Not only is it the blog’s birthday this week, but it’s also mine…in case the title through you for a loop. =)

flickr credit: loveberries
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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.


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


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.


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

Nominated Neighbor: Len Edgerly shares his love for social media, art and his motto to: TLFC

Please forgive my delay in posting. I had to defend my thesis, travel from DC to KC to Columbia and get all my paperwork together in the past 5 days! However, Len is a great sport and was nominated by our previous neighbor Beth Dunn, over at Small Dots. Read below to learn more about the newest addition to the blogger neighborhood!

Blog Name:

Blog Topics: Arts, technology, politics, travels.

About the Author: Len Edgerly lives in Denver and Cambridge, Mass., and is retired from careers in journalism and the natural gas industry. He podcasts every Wednesday, alternating between the Audio Pod Chronicles and the Video Pod Chronicles, both available at iTunes and from links on his blog. He is a board member of the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs. He enjoys giving presentations to arts groups and introduce them in non-technical terms to the wonders of the Internet and why they should be playing around with things like Twitter, podcasting and Qik. He is a Kindle enthusiast, an avid photographer, and an Obama volunteer.

If you could live on any street, what would that street be named and why? Easy Street, and I already live there, it seems. I’m very fortunate since age 45 to have been able to work hard at what I love, without having to worry about finances.Flickr Farm1

Who would be your dream real-life neighbor? The poet W.S. Merwin.

If you customized your own license plate, what would it say and why? In fact, I do have a customized license plate. It reads TLFC. My wife, exasperated with all my spiritual striving in Zen and elsewhere once asked me, “Why don’t you ever just take life as it #$%*& comes?” This struck me as an inspired formulation for a good life, something we could agree on, thus the plate. Please don’t tell the state of Colorado Motor Vehicles Department, though. On the form applying for the plate I said the letters stood for “Take Life as it Fully Comes.” Either way, I like it.

What would you gift to a new neighbor as the perfect welcoming gift? A fresh bag of coffee beans.

What’s your favorite blog post and why? “La Belle Grammaire,” one of the posts I labored long and hard to write in French three years ago when my wife and I spent two months at L’Institut de francais, near Cannes.

What’s one lesson you’ve learned from blogging? Twitter is hell on my blogging habit. [You can follow Len @LenEdgerly.]


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 @

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.)