NTEN Conference or Membership – FREE! Give Us Your Best Social Media Story.

Darim has stuck up a deal with the Nonprofit Technology Network, otherwise known as NTEN. NTEN is a valuable central destination for all things nonprofit technology related — webinars, conferences, CRM, CMS, social media, video, marketing, communications, strategy, etc. Membership is not expensive, and incredibly valuable.

As a way to help the Darim community learn about and take advantage of NTEN, Darim and the Jewish Communal Service Association are partnering with NTEN to solicit your best stories. We want to know how you are using social media, and what the outcomes have been. This contest is open through April 1. On April 1 we will announce the winners. Prizes include FREE REGISTRATION FOR THE NTEN CONFERENCE in San Francisco, April 26-28 (winner is responsible for transportation and hotel) – valued at $649; free one year membership with NTEN for your organization – valued up to $200; and a free private tutorial or consultation with Darim staff via phone or webinar – priceless! (First place winner gets their pick).

Submit your story by posting it in the comments on this blog post by April 1 (or, if you prefer, you can email us). Please make sure to tell us who you are, your role, your organization, what tool you’re using, how you’ve used it, and what the outcomes have been (data, anecdotes and reflections are all welcome).

Let’s hear what you’ve got!

Getting Social Media Buy-In From Above

Oftentimes we hear from someone who is eager to ramp up the use of social media in their work — starting a Facebook group or page, starting an organizational blog, or otherwise allocating some of their hours to “getting in the game”. One of the greatest challenges is when the powers that be (your boss, or peers, or board members) just don’t understand social media, and either think you’re wasting your time, or are not supportive of the initiatives you’re trying to get off the ground.

If this speaks to you, you’re not alone, and there is a wealth of support out there for you. A few suggestions:

  1. Be goal oriented. If you can frame your social media project to be in support of larger or more specific goals of your organization, then you’re defining yourself on the same team.
  2. Sometimes there are egos involved. Two thoughts here: First, give credit to your boss for great goals and big picture, so he/she feels validated, and not challenged. Second, the unknown is sometimes scary — think about how you can help teach that person about your work in an exciting and not belittling way. He/she may feel “out of date” or “being passed by”, and if you can temper these negative emotions, the whole conversation may be smoother.
  3. Find low costs ways to begin, so all you’re asking for is a bit of time, not an outlay of cash.
  4. Make sure you can articulate how you’ll measure your success, and then measure it. You must be able to declare victory in order to build trust and future support.
  5. Find relevant examples from related organizations or people who have the same job responsibilities as you do. While some leadership might assume that “all technology things belong with the IT guy”, we believe that all staff (and volunteers) need to be using the most up to date tools in their work. The phone, photocopier, fax and email are all “technologies” that we use in our daily work.
  6. Listen to their fears and objections. If someone is terrified about a negative comment on a blog, consider meeting them half way by more aggressively moderating comments (needing to approve before they go live, etc.) to reduce fears and help everyone take baby steps forward.
  7. Ask about privacy policies and any other guidelines that you should know about and use as you implement your project. Avoiding accidental mis-steps will buy you good will down the road.
  8. Consider framing your project as a “pilot” — short term, very focused, low cost – so that leadership feels they have an opportunity to reflect and assess whether the project will move forward.

Check out this blog post from The Buzz Bin on the topic, and if you’re hungry for more, read chapter 11 in Groundswell for strategies on how to move forward with social media in your organization. Better yet, buy a copy for your boss!

How have you approached “selling social media” in your organization? How have you been an advocate? How are you teaching others? What sort of feedback do you provide to others to demonstrate your impact? What support do YOU need?

Twitter Tools and Tips

As Twitter, the microblogging platform we’ve written about here before, gains in popularity, there are more and more people to follow, for personal and professional reasons. As the volume increases, a plenthora of new tools have appeared on the scene to help users sort, categorize and prioritize their Twitter streams.

I use Twitter professionally to learn about useful new tools, blog posts and articles (saving me time, improving quality of the resources I use, and tipping me off to excellent ideas I otherwise would not have known about); to tap into my network to pose questions and get feedback; and to promote events, opportunities and publications. Some examples of these uses are below.

One tool that’s widely used by professional Twitter users (“Tweeples”) is TweetDeck. The blog www.webworkerdaily.com describes it this way:

You can group your followers in a way that makes it easier to consume the information. In my case, I have a group of people that I follow closely. These are people who dont tweet too frequently and who post updates that I never want to miss. While I follow almost 400 people, this smaller group has just over 100 people. I read this group first, and if I have time, I read the other groups.

TweetDeck also has pop-up smart notifications (assuming that you have configured it to notify you) for @replies, direct messages and dynamic, persistent searches. I configure searches for events I am organizing, companies Im involved with, and more.

If you manage more than on Twitter account (for example, my personal account and my @DarimOnline account), you might consider using Twirl, which displays multiple columns, one for each account.

One of the most convenient and powerful features of Twitter is its mobility. By sending a text message from your phone you can “tweet”, and you can choose to receive tweets from some or all of those you follow by txt as well. Many Twitter tools have mobile versions as well, which are full applications that provide much more functionality than just a text message. On my iphone I use Twitterific, though there are many to choose from.

What Twitter tool do you use? Why do you like it? We’d love to hear from you. Share your experience in the comments!

More Twitter aggregators, descriptions and suggestions are here: www.toprankblog.com

Jewish Media/Communications Jobs

It’s amazing that in this economy, and in a time when we here are Darim are continually advocating for increasing staffing and capacity around media use, that these openings pop up! What luck! Might they interest you, or someone you know?

BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL NEXT: DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

(excerpts from a post on ejewishphilanthropy.com)

With an emphasis on community organizing and grassroots mobilization, Birthright Israel NEXT empowers all Taglit-Birthright Israel trip participants and Jews between the ages of 22-30 to be more connected to Jewish community, ritual, culture, and social action. The organizations goal is to provide the resources and motivation for Jews to discover and develop their own relationship with Judaism, communicate and meet other Jews in the community, and provide an inclusive means for people of all religions to understand and experience Jewish culture.

Creating an inspired, interactive, and compelling online presence is essential to increasing awareness of and participation in our programs, adding to our growing community and encouraging involvement in our events. Therefore, we are seeking a Director of Communications to develop and implement traditional PR and online strategies to provide young people with a rich, interactive experience with our brand. This is an exciting opportunity for a creative and tech-savvy communications specialist with a passion for our mission and a desire to mobilize.

The Director of Communications is charged with crafting a communications strategy for Birthright Israel NEXT and overseeing the full range of internal and external communications, including media outreach, social media marketing, advertising, fundraising, and board communication. The ideal candidate has demonstrated success in leading integrated traditional and digital public relations/marketing campaigns for a cause-related organization with proven results, has outstanding brand-building experience, and superior communications skills.

More info here.

COMBINED JEWISH PHILANTHROPIES – BOSTON FEDERATION – VP of MARKETING

The Vice President of Marketing manages all marketing, branding, communications, public relations, direct marketing, and event management for Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP).

We are looking for a creative and seasoned professional to deepen the CJP brand, grow awareness of CJP’s philanthropic and programming offerings, expand the use of new media and increase the role of online strategies in our marketing mix.

More info on the CJP web site.

THE DAVID PROJECT — WEB DESIGNER/DEVELOPER (Boston)

The David Project Center for Jewish leadership is an international non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring strong voices for Israel through dynamic and comprehensive educational seminars, workshops, and curricula. Our groundbreaking Israel education curricula are currently taught in over 100 Jewish high schools and middle schools, reaching thousands of students around the country. Each year we educate and train hundreds of college students to assume pro-Israel leadership roles on campuses across America and Canada.

This position will involve the updating and improvement of our current website on a regular basis. The individual will be responsible for implementing changes and improvements to our website consistent with the mission of our organization. In addition, the individual will be responsible for working with other staff members to keep the information on our website current.

More info here.

Additional jobs at UJC in New York and other Federations nationwide.

Got a job to post? Add it to the comments with a link to more info!

David Pogue’s Twitter Hiccup Experiment

David Pouge, who writes and blogs and video blogs for the New York Times about techology (and was the keynote at last year’s NTEN conference — it’s Clay Shirky this year — man, they can pick ’em!), wrote the following little ditty about his recent Twitter experiment, which I could not resist but share. [Note: I’ve edited out about 20% of the examples to save space – click on the title for the full original post].

Yesterday I was presenting at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and did my own little Twitter knowledge culling (a real question) and got great response which has fueled my mind the last 36 hours. More on that as I pull the wisdom together for a future coherent blog post! In the meantime, this is great entertainment, and a valuable example of the power of networks:

The Twitter Experiment
By DAVID POGUE

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about my bumpy initiation into the world of Twitter http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/twittering-tips-for-beginners/ It’s sort of a complicated cross between a chat room and private e-mail. And it’s both an interrupty time drain and an incredible source of real-time connection and information.

Some of you blasted me for impugning Twitter’s greatness. Some of you hailed me as a seer of its imminent demise. (A few of you thought my assessment was right on.)

Today, I thought I’d follow up by sharing the sweet, funny, interesting results of a Twitter experiment. It’s too entertaining for me to keep to myself.

Yesterday, I spoke at a conference in Las Vegas. The topic was Web 2.0, with all of its free-speech, global-collaboration ramifications. At one point, I figured that the best way to explain Twitter was to demonstrate it, live, on the big screen at the front of the ballroom.

So I flipped out of PowerPoint and typed this to my Twitter followers: “I need a cure for hiccups… RIGHT NOW! Help?”

I hit Enter. I told the audience that we would start getting replies in 15 seconds, but it didn’t even take that long. Here are some of the replies that began scrolling up the screen:

* florian: Put a cold spoon on your back – that’s what my grandfather would do for hiccups.

* megs_pvd: Put your head between your knees and swallow hard.

* bethbellor: Packets of sugar.

* jfraga: BOOOOOOOOOOO! (How many of those did you get?)
[Answer: about 20.]

* michaeljoel: drop a lit match in a glass of water to extinguish it. take out match. drink water.

* jbelmont: Simple. Just hold your breath until Windows 7 is released.

* rgalloway: Have someone slowly & softly count backwards from 10-1 in Russian for you. Works every time!

* warcand: check your 401K. That should scare the hiccups right out of ya!

* drct: The cure for hiccups is simply to get the air out of your stomach. How is up to you.

* kashaziz: Take a glass of water, hold your breath and gulp it down. Distraction helps against hiccups.

* hornsolo: Stand on your head, drink water backwards, and gurgle, “Microsoft sucks!”

* aaaaiiiieeee: There’s gotta be something in the App Store for it by now.

* garmstrong65: Sounds crazy, but it works. Take 9 sips of water then say, “January.” Laugh now, but you’ll thank me when the hiccups are gone.

* ransomtech: On Twitter, they are Twiccups.

* erlingmork: Peanut butter on a spoon.

* squealingrat: With a popsicle stick or something clean, touch the little thing at the back of your throat. This causes the muscles to change.

* bschlenker: hello from the back of the room 😉

* amysprite: plug your ears and nose and drink seven gulps of water. Difficult, but do-able. Works like a charm EVERY time.

* SullivanHome: With right hand, reach around to behind left shoulder tightly and grab some back flesh, hold for up to a minute and no hiccups.

* DavidWms: Drink out of far side of water glass (best done over sink). Works every time.

* enrevanche: Dry-swallow a spoon of granulated sugar. The trick is to overwhelm the overstimulated vagus nerve (causing hiccups) with new input.

* Chiron1: I take large sips of bourbon. It doesn’t stop the hiccups, but I stop caring!

* chadrem: hold your breath until you pass out. Whenever you wake up, no more hiccups!

* tiffanyanderson: Rub both of your ear lobes at the same time. Hiccups will go away. :^D

* tommertron: The best way I’ve found is to just relax and try to forget about them. I find stressing out about them makes it worse.

Has there ever been a wittier, smarter bunch (or a better collection of hiccup cures)? The audience and I were marveling and laughing at the same time. This was it: harnessing the power of the Web, the collective wisdom of strangers, in real time! The Twitterers of the world did
not let us down. (And yes, I realize that this demo might not be as effective if you have, say, 20 followers instead of hundreds.)

Next, I typed into my Twitter box: “Thank you all. I don’t really have hiccups, but was demo’ing Twitter in front 1000 people. You did great!”

This time, only some of the responses were upbeat. Some people said, either with good humor or with irritation, that they felt used:

* jhatton1980: Keep it up, and you’ll be the Pogue that twittered wolf!

* sjaustin: What are we, puppets for your amusement? 🙂

* kitson: Not sure I appreciate being your guinea pig.

* coachkiki: Ok – you got me. Smiling at the computer. I think. Hey crowd – how’d we all do? And who are all of you? Feel free to say hi!

* MichaelS: Seems like abuse of Twitter influence.

* thevideodog: That’s like the boy who hiccuped wolf…pretty soon when you really need a cure for something, like diarrhea, no one’s gonna answer!

* AMassofHumanity: I thought that was an odd post for you…thx for explaining.

* awillett: Did the demo mention that you’ll continue getting hiccup cures for the next four days?

* douglasa: Speaking in front of 1,000 people would cure my hiccups right quick.

* briand: might want to add “(demo)” to tweets like that. I was suspicious of the original. Don’t play the community; they’ll turn on you.

* ELROSS: Wow. People will freak out about any little thing, right? I LIKE it when people show twitter off. You gained one follower today.

(To those who really did feel used, I’m sorry. I didn’t know about the convention of saying “demo,” and I’ll certainly use that next time.)

Finally, as the day wore down, a number of people posted tweets like this:

* tomburka: I think it’s wrong that I can’t see the replies to your hiccup-cure tweet. You should blog about your twitter demo for everyone.

* DyingSun: That is an amazing example of the power of Twitter! I wonder what was the crowd’s reaction to that.

Good questions, dear Twitterers. And now you have the answers.

I loved that in the feedback after he revealed it was a demo, the community taught him the social norms of this community. Understanding these norms (like it’s not cool for a Hillel Director to friend a college student, but it is OK for that Director to make it known he/she is on Facebook and open to being friended by students — it’s a power dynamic thing) is key to feeling comfortable using these tools and having success as you use them.

Have you used Twitter (or any other social network) to ask questions or solicit information or knowledge from your network? If so, do tell! Post your story in the comments. I’ll tell mine in an upcoming post.

Tweet on! We’re @DarimOnline . Come follow us. We’ll follow you. You can add your two cents to our knowledge culling when the next question arises!

Navigating the Personal/Professional Line Online

The New York Times’ assistant managing editor, Craig Whitney, is responsible for overseeing the paper’s journalistic standards. As Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools have changed the face of communications, he recently issued policies for New York Times reporters governing their personal use of social networks. As Patrico Robles writes on econsultancy.com:

“Employees have more influence on the image of the companies they work for than ever before. And with social media and online PR being so important these days, that trend is likely to continue.”

Whitney from the Times believes that these services “can be remarkably useful reporting tools“, but clearly also recognizes their potential impact on how the public views the quality or impartiality of the professional reporting.

I am often asked how these concerns apply to Jewish organizations. One Rabbi told me, for example, that he is often “befriended” by teens in his congregation on Facebook. Thank G-d! Our teens want to be Facebook friends with the Rabbi? Wonderful. But, he told me, he has a personal and professional obligation to take action if he sees inappropriate things on that teen’s Facebook profile, for example, a photo of a 16 year old with a beer bottle in his hand.

This particular Rabbi has developed an informal but consistent policy, which goes something like this: I would love to be your Facebook friend, but I have a responsibility to say something if I see inapprorpiate things you’re doing. Thus, I’ll leave it up to you if you want to give me full access to your profile, limited access, or withdraw your invitation. He reports many give limited access, and some withdraw their invite, but the conversation itself builds stronger relationships, gives an opportunity to talk about ethics and responsibility, and also gives him the chance to extend an invitation for the teens to talk to him privately about more serious things.

Another congregation I’m working with is investing energy in developing their Facebook Page. The staff person who manages the page wanted to provide transparency — including some personal information to make her “real” and not “institutional”, but didn’t want to have to edit her personal life on Facebook because of the professional transparency. Thus, she created a separate profile for her synagogue role, and manages all her synagogue relationships with the casualness of Facebook, but without impinging on her personal life.

Personally, I’ve recently split my personal and professional lives on Twitter, for many reasons. I’ve established @DarimOnline for my professional self (other Darim staff also contribute), where we share tips and news and links. I encourage people I know professionally to follow this both for the content and to see how an organization can use Twitter to further its work. Many people I know professionally also follow me @LisaColton on Twitter, which I welcome, and think is useful to see how people use it on a personal level. However, they know to expect updates about my social life, children and commentary on my lunch, among other things!

What issues have arisen for you in managing the line between your personal and professional lives online? What are you comfortable with, and not comfortable with? What policies or strategies have you developed (informally or formally) to navigate this new territory?

Facebook Causes Adds Birthday Feature

Causes is a Facebook application that allows organizations to establish a “Cause” and receive support from people who “join the cause” and donate to it. Network for Good, a reputable online credit card donation processing service processes the transactions. Many organizations have raised significant funds (hundreds or thousands of dollars) towards general operating expenses and/or specific campaigns.

In addition to offering a very simple online donations offering, Causes taps into the viral power of social networking on Facebook. When a user joins the cause, it is posted in the news feed of their friends, inviting others to become familiar with the cause and also support it. With vast connections on Facebook (see image to the right), your message can spread quickly, and far.

Causes has recently added a new feature for birthdays. Users can pick a favorite cause, and use the application to set their Facebook status on their birthday, and perhaps the days leading up to it, encouraging friends to make a donation in lieu of cards or other gifts. Personally, I have made $10-$25 donations many times for friends’ birthdays, even when I may have not spent the time or money to send them a gift!

And hint: my birthday is next week! I’ve recently joined the board of CAJE, and welcome any donations to support their important work in providing professional development for Jewish educators. Or, if you prefer, you’re always welcome to support Darim (also a non profit organization)! Come check out Facebook Causes!

Learn more about Facebook Causes and it’s Birthday feature on Beth Kanter’s blog.

Telling Stories to Hear Stories

Social media is all about two way conversation, simply put. Exchanges between real people, building real relationships, and finding common ground, shared interests and, in many cases, collaborating to take action together.

Oftentimes as we manage Facebook groups or blog posts or even in surveys we ask people to share their stories. “Tell us about an experience when…?” Shawn and Mark at Anecdote develop courses on storytelling, and digital storytelling. Their discovery is that you have to tell stories to hear stories. That by modeling the style, length and risks taken in talking about your own life, you given permission and frameworks for others to do the same. We take cues from our peers about what’s appropriate. And especially in online settings, many people are still discovering/learning/evolving their comfort zones and the cultures of various online forums. From their blog:

Here’s an example. When I see my teenage daughter after school I would often ask how her day went, whether anything interesting happened at school, and the standard response is often monosyllabic: yep, nup. In fact the more questions I’d ask the shorter the answers. So I changed tack and rather than ask questions I simply recounted something that happened in my day. I would launch into something like, “I met a bearded lady today. This morning I drove down to Fitzroy to run an anecdote circle for …” and immediately my daughter would respond with an encounter from her day. A conversation starts and it’s delightful.

So next time you seek to hear other people’s stories, consider how you invite them to do so. Finishing a blog post with a question or invitation is a great way to encourage comments. And also consider sharing some of yourself. Blogging is a lot about developing a community — commenting on your friends’ and co-workers’ blog posts to tell you story is a great way of establishing a norm and permission for others to tell theirs.

What approaches have you found most successful or useful for inspiring dialog in your groups and blogs?

[Thanks to Naava Frank of Knowledge Communities and Kehilliyot for turning me on to this concept.]

Alban’s New Book: Reaching Out in a Networked World: Expressing Your Congregation’s Heart and Soul

The Alban Institute has clearly identified technology as a fundamental tool for successful congregations. Their recent magazine focused on connected congregations, and they’ve just published a new book, Reaching Out in a Networked World. Communications expert and pastor Lynne Baab examines a variety of technologies such as websites, blogs, online communities, and desktop publishing, and counsels congregations on how to evaluate these tools and use them appropriately to communicate their identities to members and prospects

Alban’s in depth knowledge of congregations (Jewish and otherwise) make this publication a unique and focused read for synagogue staff and lay leadership. Check out Lynne’s blog post on Myths about Communicating Congregational Identity for insights into her writing and thinking. Learn more about the book and order it here.

Taglines – Does Yours Command Attention?

Taglines are incredibly important in today’s era of information overload. Studies show that as we are inundated with more and more information, we develop skills to sort through the volume to pay attention to the most valuable content. Young people who grew up with the internet are the most adept.

Effective branding is an important factor for gaining and retaining people’s attention. Many organizations’ names don’t really convey what makes them unique, and for many of us, the explanation takes enough words that we lose a good percentage of our audience before they are hooked on our programs and mission.

Enter the tagline. Nancy Schwartz from Getting Attention! has published The Nonprofit Tagline Report, a collection of research, recommendations (dos and don’ts) and best practices developed after analysis of over 1000 organizations’ taglines. The report culminates in awards for the best taglines, plus a listing of finalists.

Examples I love include:

  • When You Can’t Do It Alone — Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Sarasota-Manatee, Inc.
  • Whatever it takes to save a child — U.S. Fund for UNICF
  • Starve Fear. Feed Hope. — National Eating Disorders Organization
  • People Who Change the World Need the Tools to Do It! –– NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network)
  • Helping Preserve the Places You Cherish — LandChoices

Many organizations don’t even have a tagline. Do you?

The entertaining and informative report can be found on her website, www.gettingattention.org

Darim’s tagline is: Internet Strategies for Jewish Organizations and Their Communities. What do you think? Got suggestions for us? Leave a comment!