June 15, 2011

Challenges to the environmental network

kiwanjaEarlier this month a group of environmental experts, activists and scientists gathered in Aspen, Colorado, for the 2011 Aspen Environment Forum. Solving – and communicating – the challenges facing the planet was top of the agenda, and I was invited to sit on a panel that focused on the use of social media.

There was increasing interest in social media given events this year in the Middle East. According to the forum website, “Recent social movements in North Africa and the Middle East have shown the power of social media and mobile devices to accelerate change at the grassroots level. What lessons does that experience hold for the environmental movement? Can Facebook and Twitter somehow catalyze an environmental revolution as well – and is it happening already?”

You can watch the one-hour discussion above. The panel was made up of:

Ken Banks, Founder of kiwanja.net/FrontlineSMS and a partner in Socialbrite

William Powers, prize-winning writer and author of the New York Times best-seller “Hamlets BlackBerry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age”

Courtney Hight, Co-Director of Energy Action Coalition and Power Shift

Charles Porch, who heads up Facebook’s efforts to help non-profits use the platform

Ned Breslin, CEO of Water for the People

The 2011 Aspen Environment Forum is presented by the Aspen Institute in partnership with National Geographic and provides a critical framework for committed voices to address a significant milestone: a global population of 7 billion and how to reconcile Earth’s finite resources with its ability to sustain our expanding human needs. I hope you’ll pitch in your thoughts.

February 16, 2010

How to get supporters to retweet content

happy child shouting or singing with joy

John HaydonOne of the central benefits of social media is the ability to share content with just one or two mouse clicks. Your supporters are already sharing interesting content on Facebook. They’re retweeting it. They’re favoriting videos on YouTube as well.

All with one mouse click.

But even though sharing has gotten easier, actually getting people to share can feel like pulling teeth. And when when you see other non-profits getting thousands of views on YouTube with what seems like no effort, it’s downright frustrating.

So how do you get people to share your content?

5 tips on sharing

1. Accept that social media is not email

Having an email list of 80,000 people is a far cry from having an active, thriving community of fans. The same goes for the 5,000 fans you have on Facebook, especially if they fanned your Page only for a chance at winning a free iPod (yawn). It’s all about vitality. So stop thinking so much about accumulating numbers. Instead, start thinking about nurturing the 1% who are already raving fans. Continue reading

July 13, 2009

Building for mobile at the margins

kiwanjaFortunately for us, many of the day-to-day technologies that drive large chunks of our online lives quietly tick away in the background, only reminding us of our total dependence on them when something breaks or goes wrong. We take the complex ecosystem which drives much of this for granted.

A couple of months ago, I was invited to speak at a conference at Georgia Tech and give my perspective on building social mobile tools that work in the opposite, resource-challenged environments, a reality for the majority of people in the world today. My 10-minute talk is available above, courtesy of Georgia Tech, along with a PDF of the slides.

The motivation behind the Computing at the Margins Symposium grew out of a research agenda at the university aimed at “understanding the technology needs of under-served communities, both domestically and abroad, and driving the creation of innovative technology to serve and empower these communities.”

Figuring out how we build useful, appropriate mobile tools for grassroots NGOs is crucial if we’re not to create a digital divide within the digital divide. Additional posts and video on my thinking behind this “Social Mobile Long Tail” are available here.

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

June 22, 2009

YouTube calls for video volunteers to help nonprofits

Amy Sample WardVolunteerism in the 21st century can take a different form than traditional charity work, like YouTube’s Video Volunteers.

The mission of YouTube’s Video Volunteers platform is to connect nonprofit organizations with skilled video makers who can help them broadcast their causes through video, reaching new audiences online and driving action around issues and projects that matter to them. In partnership with allforgood.org, the new platform that connects volunteers with volunteer opportunities, “Video Volunteers” pools video-related volunteer postings and connects YouTubers with these opportunities.

Continue reading