Tag Archives: social media

Register now – Beth Kanter workshops in Aotearoa, May 2013

Photo of author and master trainer Beth Kanter, wearing red stetson

As the sun rose on the New Year it was pretty obvious the upheaval caused by social media will continue unabated. People still flock online to connect with others in lots of different ways.

Looking ahead it is hard to know what will rise, what will fall. Will the effects of Facebook’s share float permeate even further? Could Bebo make a comeback alongside MySpace? Will Pinterest keep rising?

Whatever happens to individual sites and services, we can be sure that social networking is here to stay.

A deep understanding of how online networking works, along with awareness of the sweeping demographic and cultural changes bubbling underneath the surface, can really help organisations thrive when communicating through social media. On the other hand, without a grasp of the big picture, using social media is something of a lottery.

Having an impact also takes knowing what works well. What truly engages people? To count “Likes” or “Retweets” is a start. Bigger questions about whether it’s worth it need a robust approach to measurement. And time to reflect too.

To grapple with these types of challenges I’ve invited someone I consider a true leader in social media use to run two workshops for community organisations and NGOs in Aotearoa New Zealand. In May 2013 author, trainer and blogger Beth Kanter is coming to share her tried and tested frameworks, and knowledge of the practical application of social media practices from around the globe.

Ever since I met Beth at a workshop she ran at the Connecting Up conference in Brisbane in 2008 I’ve developed a very deep respect for her work. She generously shares her experience, is open to different cultures and always keeps a light touch.

I struggle to keep up with Beth’s prolific sharing on her blog, but I found her (short) book “The Networked Nonprofit” (2010), co-authored with Alison Fine, very helpful. I’m now half way through “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using data to change the world” (2012), co-authored with KD Paine.

My view on the benefits of digging more deeply into social media is shared by my workshop co-hosts. I’m delighted Mangere East Family Service Centre and Volunteering Auckland are coming on board to each co-host one of the workshops. Support from The Tindall Foundation and Connecting Up is a big help too.

If 2013 is the year you want to extend your organisation’s social media use, come along to one of the workshops:

  • “Improving social networking practice with measurement” workshop
    A full day workshop and peer learning network, intermediate level, Saturday 11 May, Mangere, South Auckland. More information and registration page
  • “Be networked, use measurement and make sense of your data” workshop
    A half day workshop, introductory level, 1pm Monday 13 May, Auckland. Registrations open next week

Don’t expect Beth to tell you which social networks are best for your organisation. Nor to predict what is the up and coming one to get into. However, you will walk away with insights that will help you deepen your practice using social media.

What to tell a ‘friend’ when they’re not one

Small sculpture on four clay figures embracing each other in a circle, in friendshipIt’s something of an understatement to say the word friend is overloaded with intended and unintended meaning. With the term carelessly appropriated by Facebook and others, I feel the strong word is being diluted.

Yet, when it comes to telling someone she or he is no longer a friend buttons are invariably pushed. What it means to make friends may be irrevocably morphing, but taboos surround even talk of unmaking them.

If I was actually thinking about unfriending someone I’d want to know how to do this in, ahem, a considerate way.

Illinois romance writer Arlyn Presser might be someone to consult on this. She systematically purged de-cluttered her Facebook account, but only after contacting and asking to visit all 325 of her ‘friends’. (See “Facebook and Twitter: the art of unfriending or unfollowing people” from The Guardian.)

In this instance, it’s an awkward friendship of another sort that I’m thinking about.

I’ve recently come across two community organisations that seem to have accidentally set themselves up on Facebook using a Profile, rather than using a Page or Group.

As a friend, any of their friends can readily see what I share (unless I customise my privacy settings). I know the organisations’ won’t intentionally misuse any updates, strongly worded opinions or trivia, but I don’t know about all the friends the oragnisation is linked to.

Other reasons why an organisation with a Profile may like to switch to a Page or Group include:

  • being able to access tools to ensure your Facebook presence is well run, including setting up multiple admins and access to statistics
  • if you don’t do something, your Profile maybe deleted. It’s against the rules for an organisation to use Profiles.

Facebook take some of the pain out of switching. You can use an automated process to shift over your bio, and transfer friends to Likers (see Facebook’s Profile to business Page migration page). Everything you’ve typed in and uploaded can be downloaded, then manually uploaded (if you so wish). Instructions on how to covert are outlined in a short blog post by Beth Kanter.

But which way to go: a Page or Group. Each has pros and cons, which are ably set out by misty on the Social Source Commmons blog.

A dilemma remains: how do I tell my ‘friends’ they should sort out their presence on Facebook? Perhaps I’ll heed Oscar Wilde’s dictum: “True friends stab you in the front.”

Photo credit: drhenkenstein

Book review: “The Networked Nonprofit”

Book cover from Most of the organisations I’m working with are pretty pushed for time. There are always new issues and opportunities to grapple with.

So when it comes to the entry of social media into the mainstream people have barely enough time to experiment with how social media could practically help them achieve their immediate goals, let alone understand the underlying, often fundamental changes social media is bringing in its wake.

There is no shortage of people grappling with this, and writing freely too. But the analysis often lacks context, it’s little more than hype (of the gee-whiz look what’s new and shiny) and arguments can be poisoned by hidden assumptions.

The timing is good for Beth Kanter and Alison Fine to capture their considerable experience and thinking about online technologies in a new book released in June 2010. As the subtitle states “The Networked Nonprofit” is about connecting with social media to drive [social] change. The book is aimed aimed fairly and squarely at people involved in good causes.

There is a challenge at the heart of the book for those working for social change to grapple with the inherent openness of the Internet, and the rise of a generation that’s lived online, virtually from birth. Rather than fighting this, Kanter and Fine argue there are benefits for organisations making it easy for people to get close and contribute in different ways. The authors also critique ossified leadership structures and practices afflicting some nonprofits in the USA, something that is not uncommon in Aotearoa too I suspect.

This is not presented in a threatening light, but it’s suggested as a way for people to strengthen their organisation across a range of areas. Those discussed include funding, engagement and governance. 

The book is not about how social media works (well, who would really want to know how printing presses work), so even after you’ve read it there is still learning to do. The book itself provides questions for reflection and handy checklists. The resource section is short, pointing to carefully selected texts for further reading.

Understanding the world in which you organisation operates seems like a particularly useful thing to keep on top of. The chapter which walks through concepts and the practice of mapping an organisation’s social network is one I’d most like to explore in depth. This insights garnered will extend beyond the online world to the real one.

One of Beth Kanter’s hallmarks is sharing, so of course this book is no exception. Material associated with the book, including workshop materials/ presentations the authors are running based on the book’s contents, are listed on the Networked nonprofit wikispaces site.

This is a short book, which is good for leaders within organisations open to challenges, but packed. There’s no excuse to delay learning about social media any longer. Reading this book is likely take your organisation’s social media strategy ahead leaps and bounds.


According “The Networked Nonprofit” listing on WorldCat.org the book is currently available for loan (or interloan) from Auckland City and Auckland University Libraries. I’d be happy to loan anyone in Aotearoa a copy as I’ve got a spare.