Stan Schroeder on the Mashable blog has dubbed 2009 the year of social media. And if his statistics don't convince you Twitter is worth the fuss, maybe Hugh Jackman can. The Australian actor made news last week after he asked his followers on the popular microblogging site to help him choose a charity to donate $100,000 to. The catch? You had to make your case in 140 characters or less. (Jackman ended up splitting the $100,000 between two organizations, Charity:Water and Operation of Hope.
On her own blog, Beth Kanter urges nonprofit organizations that are struggling to develop a social media policy to first have a discussion about their social media strategy. Writes Kanter:
There needs to be discussion. Not only about the potential concerns and how to respond, but how the organization or its internal culture can embrace social media....
A policy in of itself does not guarantee effective social media use, and if the policies magnify dysfunctional internal communications issues or silo culture, a policy may even get in the way of the organization owning social media.
As part of effective social media strategy development, the internal conversation must take place. But the policy can only be effective if the organization's culture can become agile enough to allow the rapid response to stakeholders and accommodate experimentation. The conversation is the first step. And it probably won't happen unless the organization's leadership facilitates the conversation and using social media to have that internal conversation is also a great way to improve understanding.
Excellent advice, as always.
On the NetSquared site, Amy Sample Ward has posted the twenty-four finalists in the Change the Web challenge, a competition designed to encourage the building of innovative online tools that help people find and share opportunities to take action for social change. The top three winners will be announced at the NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco on April 28.
The response on Twitter and in the nonprofit blogosphere to an article in the Washington Post on Wednesday ("To Nonprofits Seeking Cash, Facebook App Isn’t So Green") that painted a rather grim picture of the popular Facebook Causes application was immediate and almost universally negative. According to Allison Fine, the Post article repeated many of the same criticisms of the Causes app featured in an earlier WaPo article and included a number of inaccuracies. For a different take on the controversy, read this post by We Media blogger Brian Reich.
This post was originally featured in PhilanTopic, the Foundation Center's blog of opinion and commentary on the nonprofit sector.