November 30, 2010

How Free Speech TV learned to love social media

Panelists
Giselle Diaz Campagna makes a point during the “Mobilizing Your Social Network” panel at BlogWorld Expo.

 
JD LasicaOne of the pleasures of working with nonprofits is seeing the evolution along the social media continuum — generally, from early skeptic to dabbler or explorer to enthusiast to evangelist.

The latest convert who’s become a full-on, passionate evangelist advocating that nonprofits embrace social media is Giselle Diaz Campagna, development director of Free Speech TV. In September Socialbrite contracted with Free Speech TV to help the Denver-based nonprofit get a social media game plan together for the One Nation March on Washington on Oct. 2 and to prepare for coverage of the Nov. 2 midterm elections. We created a Quick Starter Kit, a 54-page Social Media Plan, a Planning and Assessment document and a Social Media Training presentation on how to galvanize people to support your cause.

And while we generally don’t write about our consulting work on the Socialbrite blog, Giselle had some insights about what her team learned over the past two months that are worth sharing here.

What Free Speech TV learned about using social media

FSTVIt’s important to note that Free Speech TV already had a social media presence on Facebook and on Twitter. What was missing was a way to integrate these efforts with its main site and its channels on the DISH Network and DirecTV as well as a strategy for turning outside stakeholders into allies and evangelists. I can’t go into the specifics of our recommendations, but the steps that Free Speech TV took in a very short time frame produced results well beyond their expectations and showed, once again, that you don’t need to have hundreds of thousands of fans or followers to make a big impact with social media.

“The planning we put into it paid off in a big way,” Giselle told me by phone yesterday. “Even with limited resources and limited time, we managed to leverage the people we knew — our partner organizations and supporters — to create buzz and a good old-fashioned wave of attention.”

“We view our audience as allies, and it changes our relationship with them.”
— Giselle Diaz Campagna

Giselle and her Denver-based team did one-to-one outreach with nonprofit partners “in a very grassrootsy way” to make sure they embedded the Free Speech TV live-stream widget on their sites and that they were promoting the One Nation (10-2-10) march. Free Speech TV was the only media outlet to provide nonstop coverage of the march for six hours on its satellite channels, its website and on partner sites like The Nation magazine and Mother Jones. To further encourage collaboration, FSTV brought in guest speakers from partner organizations to provide commentary — generally speaking into an FSTV mike — and FSTV in turn produced short clips with the interviewees to embed on their own sites. FSTV staffers worked frenetic hours leading up to the event, part of Giselle’s new practice of assigning everyone a “social media task for the day.”

“It was a total home run,” she says, with viewership and online engagement an order of magnitude higher than usual. “It blew my mind.”

A strategy based on inclusiveness

The overall approach that Free Speech TV took with its social media outreach during One Nation and the midterms can be summed up in one word: inclusiveness.

Recounts Giselle: “What I learned was that when you’re telling a message to your constituency, the minute you start introducing other voices who are interacting with your brand, immediately the message starts proliferating. When you start helping other people deliver your message, immediately you don’t sound like the typical Facebook marketer.

“It’s all about taking a step behind your name and disappearing. Because ultimately the network has to be theirs, it has to be them talking about you. When you’re willing to surrender your cause to your allies, that’s when you proliferate. You need to surrender it and still keep QA in the background” to make sure nothing is going awry.

Free Speech TV followed our advice and assigned only two people admin roles on Facebook while instructing its staff and interns to “go in and share, share, share” using their own personal accounts and identifies, Giselle says. That worked perfectly, creating the specter of a vibrant community.

“It’s all about taking a step behind your name and disappearing. Because ultimately the network has to be theirs.”
— Giselle Diaz Campagna

FSTV’s social media efforts leading up to the Nov. 2 midterms produced an even bigger bonanza than its One Nation effort, Giselle says. she collaborated with programming partners in New York (Democracy Now! and GRITtv), Washington, D.C. (Thom Hartmann and Marc Steiner) and their FSTV Denver headquarters, relaying questions to the anchors that were pulled from user posts on the partners’ Twitter and Facebook pages.

Also during the satellite programming, FSTV ran crawls asking viewers to send their Twitter/Facebook questions to be discussed live. Their intent, Giselle says, was this: “If you’re watching our TV coverage, we want you to open your laptop and take part in the conversation.” (Love that.) Once the hosts began reading users’ questions on the air, the questions began to pour in via Facebook and Twitter. While the word synergy has lost all meaning, it’s certainly true that FSTV’s integrated efforts paid off. “That kind of integration is where we’re heading,” Giselle says.

Free Speech TV’s use of social media has gained the nonprofit new viewers, and they’re now creating a strategy to channel that attention and energy into “constituency and funding so that we can use them as conduits and broadcasters,” she says.

Bottom line? “We could have a leg up on mainstream channels who look at their viewers as consumers,” Giselle says. “We view our audience as allies, and it changes our relationship with them.”

Related

Mother Jones’ move into social media (Socialbrite)

November 30, 2010

How to add a Facebook Like Box to your site or blog

John HaydonThe Facebook Like Box is one of the most powerful social plug-ins that a nonprofit — or any organization — can use.

Here’s what it looks like (at right).

Facebook Like BoxCreating one is simple, so you should spend the 10 minutes it takes to customize one for your organization’s needs. In the 2-minute video above, I show you how.

The benefits? The Facebook developers site says this :

The Like Box is a social plugin that enables Facebook Page owners to attract and gain Likes from their own website. The Like Box enables users to:

• See how many users already like this page, and which of their friends like it too

• Read recent posts from the page

• Like the page with one click, without needing to visit the page

Unlike the Like button, the Like Box is meant to be a standing element on your website or blog.

Do you use one? Is it doing the job?

Cross-posted to JohnHaydon.com.

November 29, 2010

Nonprofits: Is your website mobile-ready?

Socialbrite before-after
How Socialbrite looks on a mobile device with­out WPtouch Pro, left, and with it.

Plug-in optimizes WordPress sites for mobile devices

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, NGOs, businesses, citizen publications.

JD LasicaThe other day my colleague Christopher S. Rollyson asked, Why haven’t we optimized our website for mobile users?

That’s when I first heard of WP-Touch and WPtouch Pro — WordPress plug-ins that make your site really nice-looking on a handheld device. With use of smartphones exploding, this is now a must-have in today’s marketplace. Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker predicts that within the next five years “more users will connect to the Internet over mobile devices than desktop PCs.”

So let’s get geeky for a minute here and do mobile visitors to your site a huge favor. Because you definitely don’t want your site to appear like the BEFORE image at the top of this post.

You might be tempted to create an app for your website. But if it’s largely an editorial site or blog, the big drawback here is that very few people are likely to install an app just to read a single website. What you really want is for your site to be mobile-enabled across a wide range of devices — with no download required on the user’s part. Here’s how to do that.

WPtouch Pro: Buy a license for one to five sites

I quickly discovered that WPtouch Pro from Canada-based BraveNewCode was my answer. If you run a nonprofit or personal site using WordPress and you haven’t mobile-enabled your website or blog, you really need to spend the few bucks and 5 minutes it takes to make it happen.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Go to the BraveNewCode site and buy a license. Need it for just one site? $39 Canadian ($38.16 US). Need it for two to five sites? $69 CAN ($67.52 US). It was $10 cheaper when I bought the 5-pack about two months ago.

2. Download and install the plug-in the same way you install all your WordPress plug-ins. Activate it.

For most online publishers, that’s it! Now go to your favorite browser on your mobile device — say, Safari or Firefox — and you’ll see your website reincarnated and mobile-ready. Your latest blog posts will look something like the image at the top right.

Your site will be mobile-ready for 90% of marketplace

What devices does this support? iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Palm Pre/Pixi and BlackBerry Storm. Or, as the BraveNewCode folks put it: “Over 90% (and growing!) of the mobile-web surfing world will see your incredible mobile website with WPtouch.”

One coding caveat: If you use WP Super Cache, you’ll need to go to your plug-in’s settings and click the checkbox to enable “Mobile device support.” If you use W3 Total Cache, you may see some caching issue. Originally none of our posts from the past 10 days were appearing, but now it’s working fine.

Another bonus: WPtouch Pro will display not just your most recent blog posts. Users can call up other pages or sections of your site, and they can email friends with a link to the post, tweet it out, add a social bookmark, add and read comments and scale images (although in my experience I haven’t been able to enlarge the text, though it’s sufficiently readable).

If you’d like to see a video of how this all works, take a look at the YouTube video WPtouch WordPress Plugin Demo for the Lifestream Blog. My understanding is that the free version of WPtouch is still available but is no longer supported, and you won’t get the free updates that come with the paid 2.0 version.

How to grab screenshots off your iPhone

By the way, some of you may be wondering: How do you take a screenshot on the iPhone without using a special screenshot app? Simple. Apple changed this process during the summer, so here’s how it now works:

1. Call up the page you want to capture.

2. Simultaneously hold down the “Home” button at middle bottom of the iPhone’s front AND the “Sleep” button on top right of the iPhone. Press them for just a second or two. The iPhone screen will flash white for a moment as the image is added to the phone’s Photos.

3. Navigate over to Photos or Camera Roll on the phone and email or text (MMS) the picture to yourself. It comes as a .png or .jpg attachment. (Or, go wild and use it as your wallpaper.)

Does all this make sense? Have you mobile-enabled your blog or website? Continue reading

November 24, 2010

Plant the seeds of hope wherever you can

Storytellers for Good: Mama Hope from Storytellers For Good on Vimeo.

JD LasicaNow that Thanksgiving is upon us, I want to leave you not with a request for a campaign donation for a worthy cause, but with a thought:

What can you do to help change the world? Because the potential to change the world resides within each of us.

Two quick stories about mothers:

In the video above, Storytellers for Good (which we’ll profile here next week) traveled to Kenya to tell the poignant story of Nyla Rodgers, founder of Mama Hope, a nonprofit community development organization that helps develop self-sufficient communities in Africa. Watch it and be moved as the filmmaker connects one woman’s journey to a universal truth.

A second mother that springs to mind at Thanksgiving is Mama Lucy of EpicChange.org and EpicThanks. A year ago we wrote about Tweetsgiving and how Mama Lucy’s efforts brought the Shepherd’s Junior School to a town in Tanzania with the help of Stacey Monk, her team and people like you. (Stacey’s To Mama With Love campaign appeared at the top of Mashable’s list of 9 Creative Social Good Campaigns Worth Recognizing.)

Some 400 young students attend the school, and now it’s ranked #2 out of 123 schools in the region.

But the story doesn’t end there. My colleague Janet Fouts writes:

Now there’s a new issue with the school. Primary education ends at grade 7 in Tanzania and next year the kids will finish their final year at Mama Lucy’s and if they test well the government will place them in available spots in new schools. Many public secondary schools are severely lacking in Tanzania and to take these kids from a great program and drop them into a school lacking in teachers and teaching materials could cut their promise short. The school needs to add classrooms so the children can continue their educations in the quality and supportive environment they need to reach their potential.

You can help out by donating to Epic Change and following them on TwitterFacebook and at their blog.

Or, you can help out Mama Hope. Or some other effort that could use a connection. As the Epic Thanks page puts it:

“TweetsGiving was never about twitter or social media. It’s about the gratitude in our hearts, and the transformative power our thankfulness can have when we share it with one another. It’s about cultivating a deep sense of for those remarkable souls who create hope in our world. That’s why this year, TweetsGiving becomes Epic Thanks.” Look for the #epicthanks hashtag.

The thanks shouldn’t end this week. Janet rightly asks: Why isn’t every day the season for giving? Find whatever is inside yourself today to make the world a better place.

November 23, 2010

Readability: Making the Web more read-friendly

readable

 

Second of two parts. See part 1: Instapaper: Manage your time smarter on the Web

Guest post by Scott Hanselman
ComputerZen.com

Sometimes I want to read something right now, but the site I’m looking at is just too busy. Recently I wanted to read this article on overclocking my motherboard. However, the site looked like Las Vegas.

Besides Instapaper, which we discussed in part 1, I have another bookmarklet from a service called Readability.

There it is …

And as Rob Conery likes to say, pressing it “is like closing the car windows while driving on the freeway.”

Gigabyte-improved

I find that the simple introduction of these two tools, Instapaper for Reading Later and Readability for Reading Now, not only allows me to consume and collect MORE information than before, but I’m slightly less stressed out while I’m doing it.

Goodbye 43 tabs. Continue reading

November 23, 2010

Instapaper: Manage your time smarter on the Web

Instapaper on the Kindle
Reading to go: Instapaper on the Kindle.

 

Create a productive workflow that lets you save important articles to read later

First of two parts. See part 2: Readability: Making the Web more read-friendly

Guest post by Scott Hanselman
ComputerZen.com

Here’s how most folks use the Web. You get a link in email, Twitter, Facebook, IM, whatever and you open it in a new tab.

Instapaper

Then, at some point in your copious free time, and possibly while reading other more pressing things, you’ll read these 43 tabs, right? Even better, some of the articles are 8 pages long so you’ll load up pages 1-4 and 6 and you don’t even know why.

Then, maybe your browser crashes or your system reboots or something locks up or you get confused as to why you wanted to read that in the first place.

This is not cool and I refuse to use the web in this way anymore. Here’s what I do.

Consider this new workflow. You’ll either Read It Now (which we’ll describe in part 2) or Read It Later (see below).

Instapaper lets you read important stuff later

Whenever you find something long that you know you want to read but you just don’t have time now, don’t open a tab. Save it to Instapaper, a free service. I’ve got a bookmarklet for Instapaper in my bookmark bar on all my computers in all my browsers. This is important, hence the bold.

read later

If it’s not set up on all your machines in any browser where you might find content, you’ll fall back to old habits and not use it. Take the 10 minutes and do it. The bookmarklet even works from within Google Reader. Anywhere you find stuff you want to read later. You can even have your Instapaper queue sent over to your Kindle if it makes you happy. Continue reading