Posts tagged ‘twitter’

Where You Place Your Time and Attention Changes You

There’s a new Twitter in town. With new functionality, a new look and feel and lots of new chatter about the future of Twitter and online communications. Maybe you were a part of the live press conference? Or maybe you stopped everything you were doing to follow along?

This is fine. But I can’t help but offer up a thought…  What if we paid as much attention to:

Following Twitter’s news has a place in our life–but there are so many different aspects to life outside of the Internet and technology. I feel it’s okay to follow the hype–but let’s not get caught up in it. I say this as much as a reminder to myself, as I do to my fellow bloggers and readers. Where we place our time and attention, influences our thoughts. And our thoughts can become our actions.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

So I ask you: What are your thoughts?

Twitter Promotes Social Good

There’s been a development with Twitter (surprise). But this time, it’s for social good. A little link found itself on the Twitter homepage, and with it, Twitter has entered a more formal “Twitter for Social Good” status. See the screen shot below.

If you click on that little link, you are directed to “” with a personal note from @ev and @biz, the founders of Twitter. They share that in this space, they will highlight social movements that deserve our attention. Currently, the site features Haiti efforts and efforts for World Malaria Day. A stream called the “Ecosystem of Hope” also provides tweets provided by nonprofits. On individual cause pages, Twitter provides a variety of action-oriented ways to get involved:

  • Highlights tweets from related organizations working towards the cause,
  • Highlights tweets from around the world about the cause,
  • Provides sponsors names,
  • Provides actionable retweets for fund-raising efforts using,
  • Offers real-time fund-raising results,
  • Promote mobile fund-raising efforts,
  • Suggested Twitter accounts to follow,
  • Tips on how to best use Twitter to support a specific cause,
  • and more.

It’ll be interesting to see how this space evolves–how Twitter will choose what to highlight and how nonprofits react. In a way, it reminds me of BlogCatalog’s “BloggersUnite” initiative. For those wanting to be featured, Twitter refers you to its case studies to learn best practices. To be officially considered for what Twitter is calling its “Twitter for Good” program, they provide a contact form.

What are your thoughts–how should Twitter use its leverage for good?

The Social Round-Up

I’ve called these round-ups by different names, but the concept is the same–share some of the recent links, resources and info I’ve been reading about social change, social marketing and social media. Now that I’ve finally switched my RSS reader from Bloglines to Google Reader, I find myself there a lot more–even more so than Twitter (gasp). Thus, let’s get on with the show.


Social Change

  • Industry Forecast: Philanthropy and Social Investing: Blueprint 2010–The great Lucy Bernholz, through her company Blueprint Research & Design and in partnership with Stanford’s Social Innovation Review, recently released “the first ever independent annual industry analysis for philanthropy and social investing.” According to readers, the forecast is full of insights and revelations regarding the business of giving.
  • What the World Needs Now–This is a bit of a softer piece, but Mitch Joel of Six Pixels Apart does a great job of inspiring by listing eight areas we should be focusing on and thinking about as we work to change our world for the better. Note: The first item he mentions is that the world needs a “mindshift” — and then points to the happenings in behavioral economics for added insight.
  • 5 Ideas Worth Spreading from TED–Nathaniel Whittemore of’s Social Entrepreneurship Blog is the envy of us all as he got to attend the TED 2010 Conference. If you want to do social change, look at what some of the top thinkers of our time are doing, why they are doing it and how it may influence your own work. From this list, the one that stood out to me was the idea that we need to change our relationship with food. Another, was how Nathaniel describes the moment when Bill Gates spent 18 full minutes publicly sharing his views on climate change.

Social Marketing

  • Design Thinking and Behavior Change: The term “design thinking” is everywhere–is anyone else noticing this? So, it comes to no surprise that design thinking meets behavior change thanks to social marketeer Craig Lefebvre who recently put together this helpful 17-slide presentation. Skimming through it alone will get the juices flowing about how disciplines can criss-cross, leading to effective change.
  • Authenticity in Corporate Social Responsibility–I know, you’re thinking “CSR is not social marketing.” And you’re right–Social marketing is bigger. However, I include it here because I see CSR as a rising opportunity for social marketing, and Geoff touches on the reason why–authenticity. More companies want to be more intentional and take CSR from something to throw money at to a sustainable, organization-centric value that has impact. Yes, I know “it depends,” but we’ve been keeping the treasures of social marketing in the realms of “just health” for too long. Why couldn’t we take the framework of social marketing and the lessons we’ve learned and apply it to CSR? We can. If it helps, don’t call it CSR. Instead, think of it as more people wanting to do business better.

Social Media and Communications

  • 5 Terms that Signify the Future of Mobile Marketing–Ogilvy PR’s Rohit Bhargava shares the five concepts that he thinks will move mobile forward in 2010.
  • Buzz vs. Facebook vs. MySpace vs Twitter–Jeremiah Owyang does it again and offers a strong breakdown of these four platforms. It’s the perfect chart that you can pass along to colleagues who want quick yet extensive information on how these platforms relate.
  • Can E-Readers and Tablets Save the News?–Not only does this article feature a Missouri J-School Professor (woot-woot!), but the article is deeper than the title suggests. At the heart of it, it talks about online content and digital publishing. Being an e-book reader myself and seeing the expanding number of communication platforms (hello Google Buzz), this article is worth the time to take in and meditate on the value of content and the future role of content vetting and control (via consumers, publishers or media producers).

What about you? What good info have you read lately? Please provide the link in the comments so we can all check it out. Also–if you’re in love with your Google Reader like me, here’s my public profile. Let’s connect.

flickr credit: Benimoto

Change Between the Pages

The #read4change book club met twice in 2009 to discuss Tom Watson’s CauseWired in November, and Actions Speak Loudest in December. This January, we decided to take a break to take some lessons learned, tweak and plan for the rest of 2010. We hope you’ll join us in gathering and sharing community amongst some good books and great thinkers.

What to Expect

Once a month–using the Twitter account @read4change and the hashtag #read4change–do gooders, social changers, nonprofiteers and the like gather around the last Wednesday of the month and read a social change-themed book–chosen by the community. The hope is to have authors or experts join us in the conversation as a unique opportunity to have meaningful conversations in a meaningful way.

Everyday–Be on the lookout for #read4change challenges where we identify ways where you or I’s reading can have a direct impact into a positive change. It might not be everyday, but we’ll do our best. If you or your organization has an action you want highlighted, just shoot me an email or direct message.

Bonus–Any funds raised through our online bookshelf (run through Amazon’s Associates program) will be donated to a charity of the group’s choice at the end of the year.

All Stars–Shoot me an email if you want to be a #read4change All Star list. This means you plan to partake in at least 3 of our 11 chats this year, and you will also be also given some link-love.

2010 Themes

  • February–Approach to Change VOTE
  • March–Going Green VOTE
  • April–Social Entrepreneurship VOTE
  • May–Stories of Change
  • June–Economics
  • July–The Big Screen (Movies)
  • August–Inspiration and Motivation
  • September–Today’s Woman
  • October–Global Issues
  • November–Back to Basics
  • December–Enjoy the Holidays (no book)

How to Get Involved

Look forward to a great year. Open to ideas. Feel free to suggest a book or topic in the comments!

Nuggets of Social Change–Round 2

Perhaps it’s the time of year, but has anyone else noticed that more people are churning out more good content? Many different items I come across deserve its own post, however, then it’s on to the next good nugget I find. Thus, I’m going to do these round-ups every once and awhile as I don’t want you to miss out on all the good information.

  • Have a cause or issue that you’re passionate about? If so, you will love this article by Michael Silberman on the Huffington Post. In it, Michael shares lessons learned when it comes to digital organizing from the 350 days movement–what he terms the “most widespread day of political action in history.” I personally like how Michael emphasizes the importance of mission over technology, and how he creatively shows the importance of creative storytelling by effectively telling the 350 days story to us.
  • Are you or your clients curious about the latest and great in customer relationship management models? Web Strategist Jeremiah Owyang recently wrote up an in-depth post that gives an overview of 31 different CRM companies that are worth a look through.
  • Recently, I touched upon how online contests and competitions were growing in popularity–seems it’s still growing. Pepsi recently announced that they were going to fore go Superbowl ads, and instead, create a micro-site slash giving competition called the “Pepsi Refresh Project.” Beth Kanter shared her thoughts about Pepsi’s move following the Chase Bank fund-raising issue as well.
  • Twitter is the Oxford Dictionary’s 2009 Word of the Year. However, another contender could have been the word innovation. Look at Time Magazine’s list of the “Top 50 Inventions of 2009”. Or, check out Popular Mechanics list of “The Best 50 Inventions in the Past 50 Years.” (Guess Santa isn’t the only one making his list and checking it twice this time of year.)
  • Social marketeers: Are you looking to connect with colleagues? Try one of these three upcoming social marketing conferences summed up nicely by Craig Lefebvre. A conference of sorts that I also look forward to debuting is BIBA, presented by Peter Corbett’s iStrategy Labs. BIBA looks to gather big minds with big ideas to make big actions.
  • Because it’s worth mentioning again, did you get a chance to read Philip Kotler’s and Nancy Lee’s article in Stanford’s Innovation Review about Corporate Social Marketing?

A Social Shout-out

Not only are good news items coming up, but I’ve also expanded my RSS reader with some blogs I encourage you to get to know:

Social Herder: If you don’t know Will Robinson, you might want to. Will writes on all things social entrepreneurship, non-profits and general do-goodery. You can catch Will at his blog, on Twitter, or at his current gig with Ogilvy PR.

Justice for All: If you are interested in a mash-up of human rights, social enterprise, democracy and law, then you’ll appreciate the enthusiasm of Northwestern senior Akhila Koliset. Not only do I share an interest in advocating human rights with Akhila, but I continue to be inspired by her passion and the voice with which she writes. You can tell she loves to be inspired as much as she is inspiring–just check out her reading list!

What We Give: You’ve probably heard of this one, but if not, you should. Larry Blumenthal is the director of social media strategy at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and adds much value back to the marketplace through both his blog and on his Twitter stream where he talks about how social media is changing philanthropy.

What about you? Any newly discovered blogs or colleagues you’d like to give a social shout-out to?

PS: Often, these “nuggets” are shared sooner through my Twitter account. If you’re on Twitter, let’s connect @socialbttrfly.

5 Ways to Prep for the CDC Conference

*This post was originally published on the blog of iQ Solutions, a health communications and health IT company. Disclosure, iQ Solutions is also the place of SB’s current employment.

Buzz has been building for a while now as delegates, organizers and presenters make their final preparations for next week’s National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media. Hosted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Marketing and the Office in Enterprise Communications, the conference is packed with discussion about health marketing, health disparities, new frontiers in technology, and collaboration.

iQ Solutions’ own VP of Health Communications, Jennifer Isenberg Blacker, will also be presenting on behalf of the National Institute on Drug Abuse about the use of new technologies to engage youth. Senior VP of Communications and Social Marketing, Kim Callinan, and myself will also be there to cheer her on and gain insights from other presenters, as well as share in community with other health evangelists.

As the iQ team preps for our journey down to Atlanta, I’ve identified five ways to prepare for this year’s CDC Conference:

1. Network. Nedra Weinreich has set up a community on NING, a social network that lets you create your own social community. Already boasting 60+ members, this public platform enables us to network before, during, and after the conference, and is how I learned that the CDC program book was available for download.

2. Follow the conversation. Whether you are signed up for Twitter or not, you can still follow the conversations that are happening there. Using the tool Twitter Search, type in the hashtag “#NCHCMM09” to see what people are saying about the conference. I will also be live-tweeting certain presentations and added insights through IQ Solutions’ new Twitter handle, @iQSolutions.

3. Create your own conference dashboard. If you want to be a real superstar like Chris Brogan or Christopher Penn, you can even create your own conference dashboard using iGoogle, Netvibes, or PageFlakes. The dashboard, Brogan explains, is a one-stop online location “to see the elements you might want to know about at a conference…and you can get a fast scan of a lot of data that might prove useful during the event.” Example information may include adding some Twitter search strings to your dashboard, integrating a local map, local clock, local weather information, and much more. See an example below.

4. Meet-Up and Tweet-Up. They say at conferences that some of the best insights and conversations are those you have with colleagues in the hallways or over a great meal. Don’t miss out on these nuggets of opportunity for sharing. Already, CDC’s Justin Williams has organized a Tweet-up for Wednesday, August 12th from 7:30-10:30pm at STATS. This is one more opportunity to gather and meet with colleagues. Already attending are Craig Lefebvre, Andre Blackman, Susannah Fox and myself. Join us.

5. Study. It’s always good to know what you’re getting yourself into. Thus, I recommend checking out the conference’s Web site, seeing who’s who, as well as downloading and reading through the program book. Studying may be overkill, but as I mentioned earlier, this conference is packed with powerful presentations-so much so, that if you’re like me, you’re going to have to prioritize what you can attend. It’s not possible to see every single presenter, even though you’ll want to! (This is another good reason Tip #2 and Tip #3 come in handy-you can catch what you may be missing during concurrent presentations.)

Your Turn: What other tips might you offer to prep for this year’s conference?

Twitter Follow-and-Fundraise Follow-Up with @ChildFund

Say that title 7-times fast…Recently, I published a post based on my observations about recent “Twitter Follow-and-Fundraise” initiatives and offered “7 Tips” to successfully recruit and retain followers.  My purpose in this article was to bring social change communicators together about this increasing communications tactic to share lessons learned and gain valuable insights to apply to future initiatives.

This post grabbed the attention of friend and respected colleague Geoff Livingston, including his colleagues at ChildFund International who, at the time, were in the midst of such a campaign. Graciously, through conversations via email and Twitter, Geoff and I agreed that it’d be great to have ChildFund International share its experience and thoughts as they develop @ChildFund on Twitter, and establish their rejuvenated brand online. Therefore, I invite you to hear from David Hylton (pictured below), the voice behind @ChildFund’s Twitter, in the following interview. Geoff contributed some insights as well.

Alex: What are past Twitter-Follow initiatives that changemakers might look-up to gain insights about how to conduct their own strategy?

Geoff:  The one we looked at for @ChildFund was the UNEP tree for a follow campaign. We thought that it was a great strategy to incentivize followers. With that campaign, we (UNEP) had set an ambitious end goal of 10,000 followers, which in retrospect, we think was not realistic given the re-branding of UNEP, our lack of a community manager, and that we were national.

Further, we wanted to give folks something to 1) strive for and 2) to report back to them on so they can see the program in action. So, with UNEP, it was to get us 10k followers. For @ChildFund, we wanted to raise our visibility because as part of our strategy, we had a new name, and we wanted people to know about us and that if they followed us, we would show them specifically what we’re doing with the gifts donated by a donor, especially for Twitter followers.  It’s a commitment.

Alex:  Using @ChildFund’s latest Twitter strategy as an example, what were your initial objectives and how did the use of Twitter help you meet them?

David:  Our primary goal is to 1) launch the ChildFund brand on the Internet and 2) drive awareness of our activity among new stakeholders. We think we’re successfully doing that. Keep in mind that in addition to the opt-in follower,s tens of thousands of people are seeing the ChildFund International brand online.

3) In addition, the changeblogger space has noted that we are online. This was also a critical aspect of our effort.  We see other nonprofit bloggers as vital community members that we want to develop relationships with, and we hope we can help some of them in their efforts, too. So from that standpoint, it’s been a successful effort.

4) Lastly, but not the least, we want to develop an international community of people online that care about the well-being (I know it’s not much different, but as part of our new brand, we must be positive) of children. This is the beginning, and really, people are giving us an opportunity to start a conversation with them, but have not yet necessarily committed to that community.  We hope to be worthwhile additions to their Twitter experience and to evolve that experience into something more meaningful and rewarding.

Alex:  How did @ChildFund go about promoting its Twitter-follow initiative?

David:  We hired CRT/Tananka to develop the strategy, and then used Geoff Livingston to be an initial voice for us. Given a very limited budget, we thought getting someone who was established with an existing community, and some experience dealing with bloggers was the best way to go. And Geoff did a lot with a very limited amount of time and resources available to him.

Alex:  We know it’s only been a few days, but what are some initial results of the @ChildFund campaign on Twitter? Overall?

David:  We’ll probably have helped out six or seven African communities and their children by week’s end. By the end of the campaign we expect it will be in the neighborhood of ten communities. That in itself is great. We want to be up front that the items will be mailed at the end of the campaign. And once the items are received, we’re going to post about how the items impact the recipients lives. We want you to see how the money is used and how just a little goes a long way. More importantly, is the new community members we are developing, all the awareness of the new mission and brand name and ChildFund’s work with children. Plus, people will get to see our work in action AND participate even further as other elements of our social media effort continues, including the hire of our community manager. This was exactly the right start to something we see as an ongoing activity.

Alex:  In my initial post, I listed “7 Tips” for changemakers to consider if they want to create their own Twitter-follow strategy for their organization. I recognize different organizations have different needs, roadblocks, etc., but what additional tips might you recommend others consider?

David:  The seventh follow-up tip is critical. We’re not just trying to get a number count for Twitter followers, we’re trying to build something – a relationship. In that regard, we have a long-term plan in mind.

The other thing we’d add is to put a real voice behind the Twitter account. Who wants to follow someone and the only communication they receive is asks for donations and links? Even organizations have people working for them. Make sure a real person is working there and that they can interact with their followers freely.

And for those who are following and supporting us as sponsors or donors and decide they want to engage further with others, we’ve created a section on the ChildFund Web site that provides that opportunity.

Alex:  Twitter is Twitter. How can changemakers increase awareness of their efforts outside of Twitter?

David:  One of the things you’ll notice is that we’ll start referring to our blog, or our Facebook page, or videos to report back to the community. Real stakeholders who care about us will want more information and have deeper dialogue. That’s where the real social media effort begins, and we look forward to having those conversations with our core stakeholders. And from there, they can get even further involved if they  choose to.

The key is if “they  choose to.” By providing opportunities to opt in and permission to engage further via links to other media, a true relationship is forged. And that’s how you get beyond 140 characters.

Alex:  Thank you David and ChildFund for your willingness to share with us fellow changemakers. I wish you the best in your endeavours and will be sure to stay posted as I can see just from a quick scan of the new Web site (ps-I highly recommend checking it out based on design alone) that you have many more great initiatives, stories and real change programs in the works. Props to Geoff as well for coordinating and recommending such a great idea!

Twitter Follow-and-Fundraise: 7 Tips to Make it Worth the Bait

fishing reel off the boat at sunsetFollow @NameYourNonProfit and you could feed 5 villages, save 1000 Trees and create wind energy. Sounds great right? It seems that online, in the social change arena, this seems to be the new infomercial. I’m all for it–if it brings success. And even further–is it affecting real change? Therefore, let’s break it down.

From my own observations of these initiatives, here’s what I have to offer to your organization if you’re working on a “follow-and-fundraise” plan:

  1. Wait. Join Twitter first and gain a solid, respectable following according to your organization’s side and market share of the issue at hand. This way, when you make your “call to follow,” it won’t be an empty room you are inviting people to.
  2. Set realistic and attainable benchmarks. This will motivate potential Twitter followers to support your cause and spread the word to their own networks. 500,000 new followers, when you are only at 300, might seem a bit daunting and dis-enfranchise people early in the game.
  3. Mirror realistic rewards. Similarly, if you want to gain 500,000 followers to merely plant one tree is a bit disheartening. Yes, planting one tree any time is a good thing. However, that’s a lot of work and a lot of people to recruit for one tree. Make the effort worth it.
  4. Extend the initiative. So you are working to generate a following and spread the word about a particular event/issue. Don’t stop at that. Extend your overall strategy to incorporate or integrate Twitter into the overall strategy. Or, extend Twitter to off-line events by hosting live-events. Either way, make the message and the action live beyond the technology.
  5. Keep momentum. Okay, I’m following you today. But who says I’ll keep following you tomorrow? Or even a month from now? Provide fresh, timely and relevant content that will not only speak to me, but draw me into your mission.
  6. Make it fun. Give me a reason to encourage my friends to follow you as well. In fact, provide me with the words to say. Detail it out–It could be a Twitter meme even. For a made up example, imagine @lovewater wants to recruit followers to build X amount of wells. Here’s an idea: Share the call to action. Tell three people you love them and water, and you want them to join the pool party @lovewater. (I was going to say hot tub–but hey, this isn’t the Bachelorette!)
  7. Follow-up. If I follow you, give a shout out. Or, keep me updated with how your progress is coming. Have you achieved your goals? What were the results? How can I help or get involved more? Think of the person hitting the “follow” button as the bite. What are you going to do to reel in the fish?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to participate in these campaigns. After all, it’s at low cost to me, the end-consumer. My main point is that I just want these initiatives to be better and the experience to be greater–and overall, I’m wondering why, if it is a low cost, does it seem to not always work?

  • What other tips would you suggest, and what are your own observations for these calls to action?
  • If your organization has implored this strategy, what were the results, lessons learned or key take aways that we can all learn from?

flickr photo credit: crjr2003

Michael Jackson & Iran: Music to Your Ears

I’m no expert on the Iran situation. But, I do know when a video has that extra powerful “umph.” Talk about responding to current events (Michael Jackson), harnessing in on emotion, and making a statement through visual storytelling.

Have you seen this video of the events in Iran set to the music of Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us” yet? What are your thoughts?


(One more tip: Jocelyn Harmon, in her latest post, also talks about how the Sierra Club recently leveraged ‘timeliness’ in one of its new initiatives as well.)

Twitter Bios: Experts Versus Beer

What you say in your Twitter bio makes a difference. You get 160 characters to describe yourself, share an outlook on life or to define your work. If you’re curious what others say, you are not alone.

Through some fancy Google search queries, the folks at Twitter Truth were able to discover that the following words were mentioned in Twitter bios:

“Twitter” =14,300x 

SEO’ = 4,980x

Beer’ = 20,300x

‘Expert’ = 4,060x

‘Democrat’ = 311x

‘Republican’ = 872x

‘Liberal’ = 1,130x

‘Conservative’ = 2,280x

‘News’ = 49,100x

‘PR’ = 8,420x

‘New Media’ = 8,190x

Now, if you are a job seeker, over 1,000 people were identified as having the word “recruiter” in their bio. Now that might make ya go hmm…and in case you’re wondering who they are, I was hoping you’d ask: 1,000+ Recruiters on Twitter.

Expert Versus Beer

What I found interesting, was that over 4,000 tweeps use the word “expert” in their bio while over 20,000 tweeps use the word beer. So, the question I ask you is, would you rather hang with the expert or with the beer? 😉 That’s what I thought.

Some Twitter Bio Tips:

1. Be real.

2. Be you.

3. Tell us what you do, or

4. Tell us what you love.

5. Be funny, but not obnoxious.

More Resources:

5 Tips to Optimize Your Twitter Profile

Joel Heffner Offers 6 More Great Tips I’d Agree With

Why Your Twitter Bio is Important

Chad Norman’s Personal (Compelling) Case Study of Optimizing Bios

What others Twitter bio tips might you suggest?