Web 2.0 Blog – Discovering Innovation Opportunities using Social Media

Archive for March 2008

This is meant as a 101 intro to new media uses by nonprofits who have not yet ventured beyond their own website.
Increase Visibility
Motivate Sponsors
Engage your Members
1. Make a badge.
A small icon which can be put on on members’ online social networking pages (myspace, facebook etc) and also on your corporate sponsors’ websites.Badges can increase visibility in search engines, enhance your sponsors’ reputations in the community, and your members will feel good about showing their support online.
2. Make your events known and remembered.
Use Meetup.org, upcoming.yahoo.com, evite.com and other similar sites to remind members of events and make events known to the community. Social networking sites such as facebook.com can also be used to post events.
3. Tell your story.
Ask those you helped to write, record or videotape how your organization helped them. This easy to insert or link to your site from a free blog site or youtube.com or dogooder.tv.
4. Provide easy ways for your organizations to collaborate.
PBWiki.com and WikiSpaces.com can be used to share documents on projects and FreeConferenceCall.com can be used to host a free call (though it will not be a local number but people could call in from their cell phones usually without incurring long distance charges).
5. Fundraise from Online Social Networks.
The “Causes” application on facebook makes it easy to collect online donations.
6. Newsletters.
ConstantContact.com is a newsletter tool which can help track whether people are reading or clicking on the newsletter articles. It is a paid service but affordable for mid sized non-profits. Newsletters can be used to demonstrate to both sponsors and members that they are a part of something interesting and active.
7. Blog.
Blog about your events and activities on a free blog site and invite your members to comment on the blogs. The difference between blogs and newsletters is that blogs can go more in depth than newsletters normally would and blogs invite comment which help to keep your members engaged.
8. Participate in Discussions.
Participate or start discussions about causes you care about and encourage your members to jump in. This could be on a social networking site such as facebook or other appropriate discussion venue. Look for places with large audiences. Some of your members will find this a fun and fulfilling way to participate. (I mention facebook a lot because it has 30 million plus users per day).
9. Announce ongoing progress.
If you have activities which have frequent updates from one or more teams of participants, use twitter.com to create a space for your organization and give small frequent progress reports for everyone who wants to to follow. This can build excitement and teamwork.
10. Share Photos of Events.
Create an account on Flickr.com for your organization and post pictures of meetings, events and activities. These can be cross linked from facebook, your newsletter, blog and organization’s website. The same applies for video and YouTube but of course video takes more time to edit and select.

We are attempting to raise read-write or new media kids. Kids that can create content as well as consume it. For now this means, no TV or movies, an emphasis on reading and a healthy diet. (no sugared foods..even Cheerios have a lot of sugar and he even gets flax oil on his bread rather than jam — he has a milk allergy).

My wife is vegetarian so we eat vegetarian at home and the other day we had veggie burgers, to which the 2 year old immediately said upon seeing them “Hamburgers!.” He has seen hamburgers mentioned in only one or two books and around the house we always call them veggie burgers. He now insists they are hamburgers despite our corrections and the fact he heard “veggie” burger before ever reading a book with a “hamburger”. He was also very excited about having a burger and its the kind of “trademark” excite kids have when they get a “real” pooh bear or other media replica. We had a similar example the other day when he made “pretend” toast for us, then decide to spread “pretend” butter on the toast. Not only has he never had butter on toast, but he has never seen it, as we prefer jam.

So he already prefers the reality which he finds in nicely printed books (albeit read to him by us) than the real reality of our lives. Looks like despite any restrictions we might put on, we are in for an interesting ride as he discovers the world.

Of course I am sure a lot of parents out there are shaking their heads saying “Newbies!”

Traditional media measures impressions, the number of times a viewer saw your message for a certain time. What does that mean? How does that translate into a PSA serving it’s purpose of informing the public and resulting in positive changes in behavior.

Recently we started measuring the impact to a website which is featured in the PSA. Also calls to a dedicated phone line featured in the PSA can also be used to some measures to correlate the PSA to those specific actions. A visit to a website and a phone call certainly shows definite interest but this is information gathering behavior in most cases. Was the PSA adopted by audience members in a deeper way which changed their behavior and had a lasting effect?

So how could we PSAs link more tightly to measurable behavior to have a hint about long term effects and deeper changes than just measuring information gathering?

We would need a media which allowed for a behavior to be captured and for it to be clear that the behavior has a relationship to the PSA. Behaviors which we would want to measure include:

  1. Asking for additional information, (not just once but whether is done repeatedly and in depth)
  2. Telling a friend about the information and measuring whether the friend responded.
  3. Giving input about the message such as comments or relevant past experiences.
  4. Checking for updates or news concerning the message.
  5. Creating personal goals to adopt or spread the message.
  6. Providing visual or written examples of how the message has been adopted.
  7. Discussing, adopting or spreading the message.
  8. Continuing these behaviors over time.

All of these are behaviors which can be measured using new media or Web 2.0 techniques through an iPSA or interactive PSA. The set of behaviors above and others correspond to what is termed engagement in new media parlance. Engagement constitutes a deeper connection between the audience and the message and message provider. Engagement behaviors while not a direct measurement of the everyday behaviors which the PSA is intended to effect, do measure behaviors which demonstrate significantly more effort than traditional information gathering behavior.

For example if we wanted to spread the message of exercise, we could create a widget which allowed audience members to:

  1. Get more information about exercise, drill down in depth and return for additional information later.
  2. Send the information about exercise to others
  3. Express preferences for types of exercise or examples of how it helped them in the past or outcomes which they hope to change through exercise.
  4. Create an easy to find location where they can check on updates or sign up for updates to be sent to them.
  5. Create personal exercise goals.
  6. Announce whether they have met exercise goals and provide photos or video of their progress.
  7. Provide discussion boards for audience to discuss their exercise efforts.
  8. Maintain a location for these activities and measure the return of the audience or the active audience members.

We can measure all of these behaviors and know for certain they are directly related to the original message because the behaviors were only possible by encountering and acting directly on the message content.

The interactive PSA or iPSA allows more measures of behavior change which the traditional PSA on its own, cannot offer. The iPSA or new media component of a PSA campaign will be a critical component of any successful PSA in the near future because it allows for the audience to become engaged and for the ais more measurable.

E-Democracy.org Bar Camp

We cosponsored and attended a Bar Camp on E-Democracy this weekend. The unconference style meeting was fun and provocative. The issues in political messaging are very similar to the issues in public interest messaging especially from the design and development point of view.

I was very interested in the vast amount of information sunlightfoundation.com has made available through several websites. Opencongress.org, Congresspedia.org and OpenSecrets.org are just a few. Check out sunlightfoundation.com/resources.

Tom Steinberg the Mysociey.org were also very interesting in their work in the UK bringing individual voices to government issues.

Other interesting projects talked about were E-Democracy.Org, PolicyCommons.org, AmericaSpeaks.org, Democracybeginsathome.org, LinkTank.com, Debatepedia.org, DeepDebate.org (guys let me know if I forgot anybody).

Our discussion on interactive messaging at E-democracy camp identified a list of important aspects of an interactive campaign can be generally applied to interactive messaging.


  • Set clear goals both in terms of numberS and depth of response.
  • Design viral methods to spread the interactive message.
  • Integrate with the overall communication process. (press, website, ads)
  • Design separate communicable methods to update influencers.
  • Understand what is important to the audience.

Interactive Content

  • Relevant to the individual.
  • Flexible based on feedback.
  • Continued over time. Don’t just disappear.
  • Show the impact of the interaction.
  • Respond to feedback in a human voice.
  • Use conversational and everyday speach.
  • Allow updating to keep the content fresh.
  • Allow updating to keep the content fresh.
  • Be sure to address negatives in feedback immediately.
  • Followup individually with highly interested audience members to offer them additional tools roles, or information.


  • Identify bloggers and websites which address aspects of your message.
  • Customized to address leaders and follows concerns.
  • Show that you are listening.
  • Identify self organized groups whose message matches yours and talk with them.
  • Crosslink the communities and forums which have your message.
  • Plan for lades to participate in getting feedback.
  • Spreading should be through trusted contacts.
  • Be open to teed back through indirect channels.


  • Geographical and demographic measurements.
  • Deeper measurements than just email list county and hits.


  • Keep engaged with audience members who showed interest.