October 28, 2011

6 reasons to use Flickr for your next media campaign

Flickr network
Image by Nano Taboada on Flickr

Don’t overlook the visual component of social media marketing

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, social enterprises, social media managers, marketing professionals, businesses, brands, Web publishers, photographers.

Guest post by Karissa Van Hooser
Marketing associate, Walker Sands Communications

It seems as though everyone is looking for creative ways to engage their audiences through social media. When social media experts develop a campaign, however, many turn to the usual outlets, Twitter and Facebook, with good reason. These social media outlets reach a large, engaged audience.

Flickr, on the other hand, is an often overlooked but effective social network where the emphasis is on visuals: photos and short video clips. Here are a few reasons why you should add Flickr to your next social media campaign.

People are visual
1You’re able to tell a story in a way you can’t through other mediums. Let’s face it: people like to look at pictures. Plus, the change of scenery is nice. Most people, when browsing online, typically stare at text; mix it up to create more ways to engage with and inform your audience.

You can share your photo stream
2The Flickr community is not the only place where people can see the photos you post to the site. Flickr makes it easy to share photos across all social media platforms.

It’s good for searches
3The tags you assign to your photos are used in search. This allows people with your interests to more easily find you, and enables your audience to grow beyond people who already know about your brand.

Higher picture quality
4Picture quality is much higher on Flickr than any other social media platform. On Flickr, you will have fewer grainy images, and your presentations will be much sharper.

Creative Commons
5Flickr provides a safe platform for pictures. They offer creative commons, which means you pick the stringency of your copyright. This feature can give you peace of mind that others aren’t using (or misusing) photos without your permission. This is something you don’t always get with other social media platforms.

You can start discussions
6Flickr allows you to create groups and comments, just like all other social platforms. Although the focus is on photographs and videos, people are still interacting with each other – and could be interacting around images and videos of your brand or client.

Now, go get a Flickr account and let the fun begin!

Karissa Van Hooser is an interactive marketing associate at Walker Sands Communications, a marketing, design, SEO and public relations firm. Reach Karissa at [email protected] or visit the Walker Sands blog, FootPrints.
February 28, 2011

The networked activist: How ‘The Story of Stuff’ went viral

The Story of Stuff from JD Lasica on Vimeo.


Filmmaker Annie Leonard offers advice on becoming a network-centric organization

JD LasicaAt the TechSoup Global Contributors Summit in San Jose on March 15, Annie Leonard, an independent filmmaker in Berkeley, Calif., gave one of the standout talks, discussing how The Story of Stuff — the film and the project — came to be.

Annie recounted that she had once worked for a traditional environmental organization that was typical of many mission-driven nonprofits: hierarchical, top down, holding its expertise close to the chest, wanting to “own” its cause. A remarkable thing happened that transformed the way she now creates and distributes projects: “The Story of Stuff,” which has received more than 12 million views in all its incarnations on YouTube.

Because her message resonated so deeply with me and the packed audience, I took her aside a few minutes later and recorded this 7-minute video interview that provides the backstory of how “The Story of Stuff” went viral and lessons that nonprofits, businesses and other organizations can take away.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo

The networked approach to getting stuff done

Over time, Annie says, she became “obsessed with all the environmental, social and health costs” of the way in which consumer goods are produced, and so she developed an hourlong presentation that she gave at schools, churches and community groups for four years. She took her passion and decided to turn her slide show into a film (an approach that reminded me of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”). With the help of Free Range Studios, a creative services firm, and backing from the Tides Foundation, they created a 21-minute documentary short that put it online for free in December 2007.

“(The film) has just exploded the conversation on how we make, use and throw away stuff and, most importantly, how we could do it a lot better.”
— Annie Leonard

“Our goal was to have 50,000 people see this film,” she says. “And to our total amazement we got that in one day. It’s now been over three years and we have over 12 million views in over 200 countries and territories around the world. It’s just exploded the conversation on how we make, use and throw away stuff and, most importantly, how we could do it a lot better.”

The film shows the damaging consequences of consumerism on the environment, developing nation, personal well-being and happiness. The Story of Stuff Project was created to extend the film’s impact by creating a network of people who are discussing the issue in the hope of creating a more sustainable world. The film has inspired ballets, puppet shows, entries in parades, high school and religious curricula and sustainability programs. It has been shown on several national television programs and translated into dozens of languages. One tactic they used that paid off handsomely: a Creative Commons NonCommercial No Derivatives license that allowed almost anyone to reuse it. “We wanted this to be a community-held resource,” she says.

“If you really want to make long-lasting change in the world, you’ve got to utilize the network-centric model because the problems are too big for any one person or organization to address.”

After years of going it alone, Annie came to a realization: “I need to turn the volume up on this work. I need to inspire and engage millions of people so that the issues I care about are not just my personal pet project. So I turned to a more network-centered model and it has been so valuable. A network-centered model has been very different from an organization-centric model. Networks focus on collaborations and connections, on being inviting and engaging so that we’ll take anyone who wants to help on any terms they want.

“With the previous environmental organization I worked with, really the only way people could help was to write a check, and that’s really not [effective]. With a network-centered model, people have a lot more skills and talents and energies to contribute. Network-centered models are more about building those connections than building a big infrastructure. They’re more resilient, they’re more flexible, powerful and long-lasting.”

It’s a lesson many organizations and activists would do well to internalize. Adds Annie: “The real lesson is that if you want to get something done, you really have to work in networks rather than trying to go it alone.” Continue reading

August 12, 2010

Top 10 sites for free or low-cost photos

stock photo thumbnail images

Quality, affordable choices for your nonprofit include Fotolia, morgueFile, Bigstock

Target audience: Nonprofits, social change organizations, educators, foundations, businesses, individuals. This is part of Creating Media, our ongoing series designed to help nonprofits and other organizations learn how to use and make media.

By Kim Bale
Socialbrite staff

We live in a visual age. Top-tier sites like Mashable and TechCrunch discovered long ago that blog posts accompanied by an image attract many more readers than posts without a photo. So nonprofits and cause organizations should always be on the lookout for rights-cleared photos that can be used on your website, blog, in your whitepapers or reports, in your multimedia slide show — anywhere you make media.

Searching for the perfect image to accompany a project or blog post can prove time-consuming and exhausting even before you factor in the costs, rights and licensing issues. While the emergence of royalty-free stock photography websites has alleviated the stress of licensing concerns, the millions upon millions of images available can often be overwhelming, given the difficulty of choosing which site to use and whether to purchase a single image, join a service or opt for free photos. (Royalty free means you need to pay only once to use the file multiple times.)

Relax! We’ve compiled this list of royalty-free websites to help you make an easy, informed choice. You may want to begin with our Free Photos Directory, a pretty fantastic standing resource at Socialbrite. Sometimes, though, a small fee will deliver big rewards. Regardless of the nature of the project — or the budget — these stock photo sites are sure to deliver. Some are free, others cost just a few dollars.

Which photo services do you like? Let us know in the comments below.

Free stock photo sites

Freerange Stock: A free community service

1Freerange Stock is a completely free stock photo community, supported by advertising revenue and showcasing photographs from talented photographers. Community members can browse the site, download photos for personal and commercial use and sign up to contribute their own work for a share of ad revenue. Create a free account and you can take advantage of their photo tutorials section, browse thousands of royalty-free images and download high-quality photos immediately. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Email their support team and they’ll search for the image in their offline archives!


morgueFile: Comb through free 200,000 images

2The morgueFile is home to a very user-friendly stock photography database of more than 200,000 images spanning a wide variety of subjects. Anyone can visit the site, browse and instantly download photos and participate in community bulletin boards, all for free. The morgueFile license lets you download and adapt photos for personal or commercial use without attribution, and all contributors to morgueFile agree to this license. Register with morgueFile to upload your own work and take advantage of their Portfolio and Organize features.


Stock Exchange: A free service from Getty Images

3Sign up for a free account at stock.xchng and begin browsing more than 350,000 free photos provided by more than 30,000 photographers. These numbers are constantly growing, making SXC one of the leading sites for free stock photography. Community members take part in frequent discussions to tackle site problems and collectively improve the website. Owned by Getty Images, SXC is tied to prominent names in photography and strives to remain ahead of the pack for royalty-free images.


Flickr/Creative Commons: Share the creativity

4This is where we always start: Arguably one of the most valuable resources for a nonprofit, Flickr: Creative Commons boasts more than 100 million Creative Commons licensed images. These images are divided into different CC licenses (explained here) — we recommend nonprofits use the Attribution, Attribution-NoDerivs or Attribution-ShareAlike license. Once you’ve picked your images, you can optionally return the favor by adding a Creative Commons license to your own works.


Stockvault.net: No registration needed

5Easily search more than 18,000 high-quality stock photos at Stockvault.net. The website’s design is appealing and its image library is easily searchable, bringing you one step closer to finding the perfect photo for your project. No registration is necessary to download these free images and to use their section of helpful Adobe Photoshop tutorials, though creating a free account will unlock special features like organizational lightboxes, photo comments and emailing options.

Low-cost stock photo sites

Angry protest - Fotolia


Fotolia: Nearly 2 million professionals

6Joining Fotolia’s community of more than 1.9 million professionals affords access to more than 9 million images and illustrations for sale as single downloads or part of a subscription package. Registration is free, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for in Fotolia’s free downloads, you can buy single images for as little as 75 cents each or 14 cents each with a subscription. Customize your purchase by selecting from image sizes and resolutions suitable for the Web or larger print projects, or take advantage of Fotolia’s selection of high-def videos and other works. Socialbrite’s John Haydon uses Fotolia on his blog. Continue reading

July 7, 2010

Why Wikipedia insists on open video

Why Wikipedia supports open video from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaFrom time to time, Socialbrite explores the use of open source tools by change-makers and social benefit organizations — see below for our past coverage of open video and how open standards can benefit nonprofit tech.

The second annual Open Video conference returns to New York University on Oct. 1-2. If you can make it, it’s a must event for evangelists of open content. At last year’s event, I got to meet Erik Möller, deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation and an early advisor to Ourmedia.org, who helped (via email from Berlin) steer us toward the right set of Creative Commons licenses.

In this video interview, Möller tells me why Wikipedia decided early on to support open standards for all video used on the online encyclopedia. “We’ve always had a commitment to open standards,” he said. The Wikimedia brain trust made a decision early on not to support Flash, MPEG-4 or any other proprietary format on Wikipedia when the formats are controlled by a single vendor or handful of vendors. “If [users] all have to get permission from one entity, we would never accept that kind of market power” in other mediums, like TV or radio.

Without question, it was the correct decision — and a vastly important one.

As a result, today Wikipedia has more than 30 million text articles — all available under a Creative Commons ShareAlike license — but only 3,000 videos. Erik hopes that changes. He encourages contributors to collaborate and publish “rich educational materials” through video, photo slide shows, animation and rich media on subjects like genetics or natural selection. “The potential is enormous,” he said.

Watch, download or embed the 6-minute video in Theora Ogg on Tinyvid.tv (and let us know if you can’t view it in your browser)

Watch, download or embed the 6-minute video on Vimeo

Watch or embed video on YouTube Continue reading

July 16, 2009

Socialbrite developer releases CC plug-in

JD LasicaLast month, when Socialbrite launched, we announced that our developer — Buenos Aires tech guru Esteban Glas — had crafted a Creative Commons plug-in that woud allow users of WordPress blogs to use different CC licenses for each post on the site.

On Wednesday Esteban released WP-License Plugin Reloaded to the WordPress community, and already others have discovered it in the WordPress plug-in directory and have begun to use it. Here’s Esteban’s announcement on his blog:

Part of the work I’ve been doing with JD Lasica for his Socialbrite project (yes, there is an irony in the fact that a careless, sarcastic SoB teamed up with a caring, polite and nice guy such as JD) included creating a Creative Commons plugin. I’m quite proud to say that I’ve released the plugin for the public in version 0.1.1.

It is based on the amazing Job by Nathan R. Yergler and his WP-Licencse Plugin.

What WP-license Reloaded does is allowing per-post licensing. This is particularly helpful for multiple author blogs and sites.

Continue reading

June 29, 2009

NPtech + causes + open source + social media

JD LasicaAs part of our silo-busting effort at Socialbrite, we’ll be showcasing cool technologies that haven’t received enough attention in the nonprofit and social change worlds. So here’s a one-minute video, announcing the launch of Socialbrite, that I created last night on Animoto:

Introducing Socialbrite.org. Nonprofit tech + Causes + Open source + Social media.

We’re using it at the top of our Media Center.

Check out Animoto: They’re doing amazing things with a very small staff. You can try out a few remixes for free, and choose from music and images on their site; after that, it’s 3 bucks a video or $30 a year.

Continue reading