June 11, 2009

Join the conversation 4Change!

Amy Sample WardHere’s a new monthly Twitter-based conversation about how social media is helping to create change: #4Change. You can see it via the hashtag #4Change. (See our glossary for info about hashtags.) I’ll be chatting this Thursday for the June #$Change chat and hope you’ll join me!


  • Date: Thursday, June 11
  • Where: Twitter (search for #4Change)
  • When: 5 – 7 pm US Eastern Time
  • Topic: How can challenges/competitions be used to discover, support, and accelerate social change projects and solutions?

Why are we doing this and why would you want to join? Great questions:

Social media is becoming a key driver of social change, allowing for the dissemination of new ideas, the formation of new communities and coalitions and the realization of new efficiencies and reach by existing social change groups. Throughout the world activists, organizers and non-profit professionals are exploring how best to use these tools, and sharing the results using the tools themselves. However these conversations are less international and therefore less effective than they could be.

We have so much to learn from each other. From new forms of political campaigning in the United States, experiments in e-government and civic participation in England, from the fight against internet censorship in Australia and New Zealand and from start-ups in Canada and France. And beyond.

We need a platform for lightweight, easily-organized and openly accessible conversations involving people from numerous countries. Twitter, I believe, provides us with such a platform.  –#4Change

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June 5, 2009

How to use Seesmic Desktop

John HaydonYou’ve started using Twitter to find new supporters. But now you’re having a tough time managing the “stream.”

Fortunately, there are many applications (both desktop and web-based) to help you organize your followers and conversations on Twitter.

One such tool is Seesmic.

Below are three videos I created for folks who want to learn how to use Seesmic.

Video 1


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June 1, 2009

8 nonprofit executives who use Twitter

Fred Krupp is the CEO of the Environmental Defense Fund

Beth KanterRecently, BusinessWeek published a slideshow of CEO’s who use Twitter, noting the dramatic rise of CEO’s who use Twitter to clue customers in on new services, help them with questions about their products, and generally get a little bit personal with customers, business associates, and the public.

There are some other benefits to having your nonprofit’s CEO be on Twitter, these might include:

  • Source of news
  • Brand Building
  • Focus Group/Research
  • Networking Tool
  • Monitoring
  • Drive Traffic to web site
  • Humanizing your communications

Of course, if your CEO is going to Twitter, they have to be keep a consistent schedule and be authentic.    There’s been a bit of debate about celebrity Twitter users who have “ghost” twitterers or simply people helping them tweet.

I did a brief scan to see if there any nonprofit chief executives who Twitter. Here’s a few whom I found:

1. @carlPope is the executive director of the Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots environnmental group.  His tweets are about his organization’s work and retweeting others messages.  Take for example

RT @maryannehitt http://twitpic.com/5n4sq – Re-posting great Seattle rally photo by Sierra Club’s Dan Ritzman #nocoal #epacaa

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May 28, 2009

A compendium of useful Twitter tools

Click to see larger image
Flickr Photo by @briansolis and @jess3

Beth KanterLast October, Brian Solis created the definitive list of Twitter Tools, a handy list of Twitter helper applications by key categories. Given Twitter’s explosive growth and crossing the chasm to more mainstream adoption, the palette of Twitter tools has most definitely expanded as Brian notes in his post to more than 1,000 apps.  I noticed this a few months ago, when a few of us analytics geeks fooled around with creating a Twitter Monitoring and Analytic Tools Taxonomy.

That’s why I’m was so excited to see that Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas have collaborated on an “alpha” version of the “Twitterverse” of Twitter tools covering a broader taxonomy of uses — from relationship management to workflow support and beyond.

You may remember that they also created the much replicated and shared  Conversation Prism — a map to help communications, service, marketing, and community professionals more effectively navigate the many social media tools. They are asking for feedback on what is missing, suggestions for categories, and other ways to improve the tool.

I would love to see a clickable version. Better yet, I’d like to see a wikispace that included descriptions, links to tutorials, and tips.

I’ve used the Conversation Prism diagram in almost every presentation or training I’ve done since Brian created it (with a credit to the creator and a mini advertisement to read Brian’s blog). The reaction I often get from folks in the room is a feeling of being overwhelmed. So, what I’d also like to see is the 101 version of the Twitterverse perhaps for the next iteration of the WeAreMedia Tool Box.

Thanks, Brian and Jesse, for a terrifically useful map to the Twitterverse.

This post originally appeared on Beth’s Blog.

May 28, 2009

How celebrities can be a force for good


JD LasicaRecently the TV critic of the St. Petersburg Times asked for my thoughts about the migration of celebrities to Twitter over the past few months. Will it inevitably dumb down the service? Bring it into the mainstream? Make us want to move on to the Next Big Thing?

Britney Spears on TwitterAshton Kutcher is closing in on 2 million followers, Britney Spears is at 1.6 million, Oprah at 1.2 million, Shaq and Demi Moore at 1 million and Perez Hilton at 860 followers for some reason.

The columnist, Eric Deggans, did a solid writeup (I’m quoted): Celebrities who Tweet: Tips to keep them from ruining Twitter for us all.

Here’s the friendly advice I’m offering to celebrities joining the Twitterverse:

First, understand that you’re not leading this parade. But we’re happy to have you in it. You have the advantage of having tens or hundreds of thousands of fans follow you on Twitter, even if you don’t know the difference between a tweet and a twit. But listen, observe, follow back, participate. It’s the golden rule of social media.

Second, how should you use your special powers? To do good.

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May 19, 2009

Twitter literacy: Getting value out of social media

Beth KanterHoward Rheingold has an interesting post titled “Twitter Literacy (I refuse to Make Up a Twittery Name for It). Stephen Downes went ahead and said the word, Twitteracy. Rheingold points to some research data from Nielsen that more than 60 percent of new Twitter users fail to return the following month. Rheingold suggests that is an example of social media literacy:

Twitter is one of a growing breed of part-technological, part-social communication media that require some skills to use productively. Sure, Twitter is banal and trivial, full of self-promotion and outright spam. So is the Internet. The difference between seeing Twitter as a waste of time or as a powerful new community amplifier depends entirely on how you look at it — on knowing how to look at it.

He goes to lay out some reasons why he finds Twitter valuable, a nice counterpoint to Jakob Nielsen’s critique in BusinessWeek where he suggests that Twitter gives you ADD and can damage productivity. Clearly, if you use Twitter efficiently and in the right way it can provide value.

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