Is Your Day School Ready To Take the Social Media Leap?

Originally posted on the AVI CHAI Foundation Blog

Enhancing your social media and video use can be hard and sometimes daunting work. But never fear: if you are curious about how to up your online presence across platforms, you can now access the collective resources and learnings from The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy and Jewish Day School Video Academy programs on a new website!

The Jewish Day School Social Media Academy is a year-long intensive program now in its third cohort which helps schools mature their social media use to achieve specific goals, such as recruitment, alumni engagement, community building, and fundraising. The Jewish Day School Video Academy is a contest and program created to help schools use video to support their goals. Since the inception of these programs, we’ve seen some patterns emerge that lead us to two important lessons about advancing your school’s work.

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know. Often, schools will think they’re doing a fine job with their Facebook page when, in fact, they aren’t using it to the fullest to accomplish their goals. Consider this: you can be proud of yourself when you’ve just memorized your multiplication tables, but you have no idea that there’s more to learn in algebra, or how this new knowledge could actually be useful.
  2. It’s easy to stick to what you do know. Staff (and in some schools, volunteers) who are excited about social media and video often focus on activities that they know and love, doubling down on what they are already doing well while ignoring other areas that need maturation. Perhaps you’re really good at live tweeting events and photos in real time, but haven’t yet ventured into creating purposeful and high quality videos to market your school. Or you love telling stories, but haven’t been tracking metrics to understand: What tone of voice (for example: serious or funny?), time of day, or visual content gets the most engagement, or farthest reach?

After working with Academy participants to help them understand these two points, we wondered: How can we help you understand where you have room to grow and mature, and then help you take important next steps? How can we support you in trying new things, integrating digital tools into your communications and development work, and rounding out your social media skill set to advance your school’s mission and goals?

To help you and your school advance your work, this week we are launching the Jewish Day School Social Media and Video Academy website, which includes a powerful assessment tool that will help you identify what you’re doing well, where (and how) you can improve, and in which areas you should be investing your time and energy. After completing the assessment, you’ll receive personalized recommendations from the Academy designers and experts from Darim Online (an organization dedicated to advancing the Jewish community by helping Jewish organizations align their work for success in the digital age) and See3 Communications (a digital communications agency that works with nonprofits and social causes to engage and activate people) to help guide and inform your next steps.

The website also includes a wide array of resources: recorded webinars where you can learn to tell your story through video and develop strategies to engage alumni, helpful articles, award-winning videos made by day schools, and examples of best practices in social media.

We’ve designed this site for you to have ah-ha moments, to feel excited and inspired, and to think, “Oh yeah, I should do that!”  We also hope the recommendations it provides will be great guidelines for your team and administration to prioritize which approaches to pursue, what professional development is most necessary, and where to focus your social media investments.

Want to connect with other Jewish day schools using social media in creative ways? You can also join the JDS Social Media Academy Facebook Group!

Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About

Originally published in EJewishPhilanthropy

During Open House season, schools are looking for ways to stand out among the crowd of institutions trying to reach prospective parents. Talking about a school’s “warm and nurturing community” and the “academic excellence” is only going to get the school so far.

So what else can schools do to rise above all the noise?

When we are faced with many choices, we often rely on word of mouth from friends in our social networks to help make our decisions. So it was clear to us at The Jewish Education Project that in order to promote the school in a unique way, we need to have the parents involved and we need to get the parents talking.

As Bonnie Raitt writes and sings, “Let’s give ‘em somethin’ to talk about.” Or in the 21st century version of this, let’s give parents something to Facebook about.

Parents who are part of the Parent to Parent (P2P) network have been learning about the power of social media to share their stories about Jewish day school education, and adding their voices through local parenting blogs and the Parent to Parent site. The challenge has been to keep them talking, especially during peak periods, such as open house season. Here’s where the campaign approach comes in.

The P2P campaign model organizes parents for a specific time period to talk about a value, an idea, an event – any focus point unique to the school that will help prospective parents get a better idea of what that school, and the community it fosters, is all about.

A very creative campaign can promote the school, without necessarily talking about academic excellence or the nurturing environment. Take for example a marketing campaign for Mercy Academy, an all-girls’ Catholic school in Louisville, Kentucky. In an article about the campaign, the writer explains “The campaign, created by Doe-Anderson, a Louisville-based advertising agency, is meant to reflect one of the school’s core goals: to help its students become independent, productive women in the real world.” And as you can see in the ad, they didn’t need to show science labs or innovative technology to get the message across.

Jewish day school education is first and foremost about imparting positive values to our children. You know it when you experience a Jewish day school education. We need to give parents a framework to convey those values with their friends.

A P2P Campaign in Action: Mazel Day School

The highly engaged and motivated parents of Mazel Day School (MDS) of Brooklyn were the brave pioneers who first experimented with this approach. When I asked the parents what they love about the school, most of them had a real, emotional reaction to the question and talked about the school’s successful approach to imparting positive values. They are extremely proud to see their children grown into mensches.

It was no surprise that they suggested a Photo Mitzvah Campaign promoting the value of the children doing good deeds by inviting parents in Brooklyn to submit pictures of their child doing a mitzvah or good deed. The Mazel parents wanted to reach parents from Jewish early childhood centers in the area, so they partnered with several of them on the campaign. The submitted photos were shared on Mazel Day School Facebook page. The photo with the most “Likes” on Facebook won a $400 Amazon Gift Card.

Mazel Day School parents gave out fliers in the early childhood centers, emailed their friends, sent Facebook messages and talked to other families. The parents now had something to talk about.

The campaign ran for five weeks and opened new doors for the school to reach prospective parents. For the first time, Mazel Day School officially partnered with early childhood centers in the area: KingsBay Y, JCH of Bensonhurst, and Shorefront Y. These new relationships can now be leveraged for other partnership opportunities and for reaching prospective parents. The campaign increased exposure of the school to the broader community. Mazel Day School Parents overheard parents who were not part of the school talking about the contest. The Mazel Facebook page experienced a significant boost during the competition period, including 50 news likes on the Facebook page. The last time they had so much traffic was when their school was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy; now the attention was due to a positive story that truly highlighted the school and the community. In their reflection about the implementation of the campaign, the Mazel parents wanted to organize a larger group of parents to lead and implement the campaign to reach an even larger audience of prospective parents.

At their upcoming open house, the school will ask prospective parents how they found out about the school. At this time, the Mazel parents will be able to evaluate more specifically the reach of their campaign and where they need to focus their future outreach efforts.

Action Steps: Running a P2P Campaign in Your School’s Community

Consider experimenting with this campaign approach to promote your school. Here’s how you can get started:

  • Invite a minimum of three parents in your school to run a campaign.
  • The parents should identify a value, event, or other unique aspect of the school that excites them and would be appealing prospective parents. If it doesn’t galvanize your current parent body, don’t do it, because they won’t be talking about it with their friends.
  • Identify your target audience; be very specific on who you want to reach with the campaign. Mazel parents aimed specifically for parents of children in local early childhood programs, for instance.
  • Get talking! Play around with different social media tools to spread the word about the campaign. Empower parents with the tools they need to keep the conversation rolling.
  • Most importantly, make it fun! Turn it into a competition, make it into a game. Let the parents get really creative and make it their own.

Best-selling author Seth Godin writes: “Stories are the way we navigate our world, our chance to make sense of who we are and what we do.[…] Nonprofits make change, and the way they do this is by letting us tell ourselves stories that nurture our best selves.” Creating a buzz and chatter around your school requires giving parents a great story to talk about. Day school parents are part of a movement committed to giving their children the greatest Jewish education possible. Let’s build that movement; let’s help parents get their stories out.

What will your community share?

Parent to Parent is an initiative of The Jewish Education Project and is made possible by a grant from UJA-Federation of NY. Learn more about Parent to Parent on our website, blog, Facebook and follow us on Twitter. If you are a New York area day school and would like to get staff assistance to implement this project, contact Irene Lehrer Sandalow, Project Manager in the Day School Department of The Jewish Education Project at [email protected]

How Blogs Build Community

This is a video on how blogs build community created for the day school parents of Knoxville, TN, who are doing a training with The Jewish Ed Project’s Parent to Parent initiative. I was supposed to co-host a session with them, and had a last-minute conflict… :/ So, this is me "being there without being there." Hit me up with any questions!

Script:

Hi everyone, it's great to connect with you all, and I’m so sorry I can’t make it. I’m really looking forward to next time when we can have a deeper conversation about social media, and really dig in with strategies and fun tips and all kinds of goodies.

I love talking about blogging because it ties in so well with Jewish sensibilities about content and conversation. The Talmud was, arguably, the first blog – a conversation that takes place across time and space, bringing in many voices, contradictory opinions, and preserving it all. Even the format speaks to this. If you’ve ever looked at a page of Talmud (and not gotten completely intimidated, as I usually do), the main content is at the center, the comments in chronological order reverberating out from there. Folks comment on the main idea, then comment on the comments, then comment on the comments’ comments… Ah, Judaism, the ultimate obsessive-compulsive book club.

While blogging was hot news online about ten years ago, it’s still, i believe, at the heart of the internet. Blogs are where the stories live and breathe and grow. Think of it this way. If the Internet is a city, then Facebook is a college campus, LinkedIn is a convention center, Twitter is a series of cocktail parties in little, connected clubs, Pinterest is a shopping mall and an art gallery (in many ways), and so on and so forth, but blogs are often the homes. Blogs are where authentic stories come out. And people can visit your house, and engage in your story there, and that’s amazing and valuable. But more and more, as social media has evolved, it’s when those stories are brought into all those other places – the shopping mall, the convention center, etc. – that they become part of the bigger conversation. Sharing the story in your home, but then opening it up to this larger audience help create a sense of fluidity, of comfort, of community. Stories get set free when they’re shared in these larger spaces and the conversation around them gets hosted there. And the best part is, often, those stories don’t stay online; they influence the way people interact with one another in real life, then flow back into the online world.

So, blogs are a place for establishing a voice. For being your most authentic self, outside of proprietary social networks like Facebook and Twitter. But if you want people to join you in your home, to share in your story, you have to go out into the world and introduce yourself. Share that story. Ask questions. Visit other people’s homes and listen to what they have to say. Take this metaphor with you as you think about writing your blog post. And most of all, have fun! Please send me any questions you might have over email (or via Facebook, or Twitter, or LinkedIn…I’m all over the city), and I’ll see you next time!

Above image via Wikipedia

Four Rules for Maturing Your Field: The Bootcamp Model for Foundations, Associations and Umbrella Orgs

We’re already a month into 2013, and for many, those New Year’s resolutions are becoming a little less resolute every day.  It’s a curious phenomenon we all see each year in gyms, classes and homes. Individuals have the will to make BIG improvements, but without some guidance, clear goals and even a few incentives to get them over the first few big hurdles, successful outcomes are rare.

The same is true for entire communities that are organized around an issue and the umbrella organizations that support them.

Foundations, associations and other umbrella organizations want to provide value to their constituents and mature the fields in which they work.  Their affiliate organizations need to learn new skills, by doing so they lift up the entire community.  Umbrella organizations are challenged to figure out what kinds of programs – Course learning? One-on-one coaching? Gamification? – will work for them. Over the past few years, both See3 Communications and Darim Online have been working with these organizations to implement year-long “Boot Camps” which provide training, coaching and compelling incentives to help their grantees/affiliates fearlessly try new things to advance their work, and the fields in general. We’ve got some insights to share.

In our training, coaching and consulting work over the past years, we’ve learned four important lessons about making organizational change:

1.  Theory alone isn’t enough. When learning a new skill and even more importantly learning how to work in a new landscape (welcome to the ‘connected age’!), you just have to jump in and do it.  It’s like learning how to ride a bike (you have the feel how to balance) or learning a foreign language (your textbook grammar won’t make you fluent on the streets).

This analogy applies to countless new skills and technologies. Take, for instance, online video.

With a recognition that online video is a critical currency for modern communications, The AVI CHAI Foundation wanted to catalyze more schools to use video in their communications, alumni engagement and fundraising efforts. To help them do this well, the Video Academy had to tackle both the “why” and the “how” of online video.

“The Video Academy started by exposing the participants to the scale and importance of video. We then tackled storytelling theory and techniques, production skills, and the art and science of editing video. Importantly, our curriculum concludes with information about distribution, because the best video serves no purpose if no one sees it,” said See3 CEO Michael Hoffman.

In the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy (also funded by The AVI CHAI Foundation), 20 schools are tackling 3 important projects this year:  a social media experiment, a social fundraising experiment, and the development (or revision) of a social media policy.  By the end of the year these schools won’t just be a little more savvy with Facebook and Twitter, they will have accomplished three major initiatives to mature their social media use, their operations and their culture as well.

2. Coaching amplifies everything.  We can only learn so much at once.  It’s impossible to absorb and integrate 100% of what even the best teacher offers, but little adjustments over time can make a huge difference.   The key is to shape a path of improvement, and take one step at a time. 

Sometimes organizations need help shaping the path, and then are fairly self sufficient in moving down the path. In other cases, staff needs someone to hold their hand as they progress to teach, inform, support and guide.  A coach who can help critique each organizations’ work can help them improve exponentially, by maximizing the quality at each step. In a fast moving social media world, the rate at which each team gets up to speed is important, and this 1:1 approach can ignite important change.

In the Union for Reform Judaism Social Media Boot Camp, we offered a widely accessible webinar series to the organization’s hundreds of affiliates, and then offered 10 slots for more intensive, private coaching.  The organizations which applied and received these services were able to improve their processes and product, and now serve as a model for others to emulate.

3. Incentives raise the bar.  With so many opportunities competing for our attention, we have found that incentives help participants focus, strive for quality and take social media seriously.  In each Boot Camp, offers of additional coaching, cash prizes, or matching grants have helped participants take their work to the next level.

“In the Video Academy, we wanted to see the organizations use their newly learned skills by actually making videos. The best way to do that was to hold a video contest. The contest had two tracks — judges to measure quality, and people’s choice to measure participant’s ability to mobilize their social network,” said Hoffman.

Creating a fun, game-like space for participants to apply their newly learned skills made all the difference. The steps-to-win can vary of course, but the end run incentives are critical. We’ve seen that hold true for other programs too. 

In the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy, The AVI CHAI Foundation is offering matching funds to help schools design and implement a social fundraising project.  More than the dollars that the school can earn, the matching funds create excitement around the project, and incentivize schools to take risks and try new things that otherwise would never make it to the top of the priority list.  Last year, the SAR Academy was so effective with their network strategy that they received over 1000 donations of $18 each through Facebook Causes. The Foundation matched $18,000 and they raised over $40,000 total.  It was so successful that a donor put up another matching gift if every alum donated to their annual campaign — even just $1.  It worked.

4.  Sharing with each other raises the field and creates capacity for ongoing learning long after the intensive experience has ended.  There is much to learn, and the participants in these Boot Camps are the ones on the ground making it happen, learning the tiny lessons that accumulate to real success.  Those receiving private coaching through the Boot Camp are developing models that others can learn from and emulate, and are encouraged to share their process, product and insights with the wider group through webinars, blog posts, Facebook groups and other channels.  Pulling the front of the bell curve forward shifts the middle of the curve too.

Each Boot Camp includes structures to promote knowledge sharing and conversation between and among the participants, and the field in general.  In the Jewish Day School Social Media Academy, we host “Sharefest!” webinars throughout the year, where 2 or 3 schools share something that they’ve been working on.  Rarely are these home-run success stories. More often they are mid-stage efforts with many lessons learned, and webinar participants can “workshop” the issues with the presenter as well as learn from them. 

In the URJ Boot Camp Facebook group, staff, board and committee members ask questions of each other, provide feedback, share links to great resources, offer peer critiques and provide moral support.  The group becomes a very functional space, where content expertise is valued, but “boots on the ground” experience is just as important too. 

Getting Started

If you’re thinking about creating a program to build assets, skills and capacity among your affiliates, remember our key takeaways:

•    Your affiliates and grantees need to immerse themselves in the tech and processes.  Create a simple curriculum and provide a pathway for them to get their hands dirty and learn by doing.
•    Provide some coaching and you’ll amplify your results in a huge way.  Your affiliates have the will, but zero knowledge to start them on the road to mastering new skills. By making simple coaching available to them, you can speed up their learning and quality and help them to blast through those little things that are trifles for experts but big scary barriers to novice learners.
•    Incentivize what you’re asking them to do. Things like grants, cash, and even small symbolic prizes really drive participation and quality.  Participants keep their head in the game and make thoughtful progress with a goal in mind.  Provide them with a game, or fun program with that prize at the end and you’ll maximize your results.
•    Make sure they’re talking to each other and sharing their struggles as well as their triumphs.  When your program takes on this workshop aspect, your participating affiliates themselves become coaches and a support system to each other.  What’re more: you create a more vital, networked group of professionals learning new skills simultaneously.

The Social Media Boot Camp can be adapted for local communities (like this one for Jewish orgs in Northern New Jersey funded by a Berrie Innovation Grant), or across fields such as the Jewish Day School or URJ programs.  It's an efficient model to catalyze growth and maturity, and to build the field as we go.

Day School Video Academy Awards Announced

While the Grammys may have captured the CBS viewers, the Jewish Day School Video Academy Awards were filling the screens of many who were watching, voting and hoping to win the big bucks. The contest attracted 116 video entries, and 17,500 votes from the public. That’s right, over seventeen thousand votes.

Conceived by The AVI CHAI Foundation and produced by See3, The Jewish Day School Video Academy helped Jewish day schools improve their use of online video through training webinars, free one-on-one consultations, and this video contest with serious prize money. I watched many of these videos, and enjoyed seeing the creative approaches many took. They ran the gamut, from serious infomercials (I mean that in the best way, meaning marketing videos with rehearsed talking heads) to very creative student work, and down right silly fun.

It’s interesting to note what makes for an effective video. I encourage you to watch the following 6 winning entries and then reflect on what grabbed and kept your attention. What feeling do you actually walk away with? What’s your impression of the school? It’s also interesting to note that the 3 videos the panel of ‘expert’ judges chose were different than the people’s choice. Why do you think that is? What’s common to each grouping?

I can say that good lighting, great sound, reasonable length are absolute foundational elements of any decent video. And some playfulness never hurts. Rumor has it that they may offer another contest this spring, so study up and then pick up your camera! Take a tour of the winners:

Judges ratings:

1. Admissions Video (The Weber School Doris and Alex Weber Jewish Community High School)

2. Milwaukee Jewish Day School Trailer (Milwaukee Jewish Day School)
3. MJGDS 50th Anniversary Video Invitation (Martin J. Gottlieb Day School)
People’s Choice
1. If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words (Columbus Torah Academy)

2. A Gem in the Valley (Lander-Grinspoon Academy)
3. Put the P Back in PTSA (Greenfield Hebrew Academy)

What Parents Always Wanted to Know

Over the past five years, we have had much success with our open houses and tours. The ratio of applicants that have attended our open houses and tours has been high and our focus groups have indicated that we are successful in this area. However, when we started to think about ways in which we could show off the 21st century learning skills that are emphasized in the classroom, we realized that open house could be a significant opportunity for this. In understanding the importance of balancing traditional skills with 21st century skills, we upheld the conventional format of our open house by showcasing our choir, hearing an 8th grader deliver the Dvar Torah, and having our administration share information that they consider important for prospective parents to know about our school community. In recognizing that telling our parents what we thought they wanted to hear may not be the most satisfying approach to open house, we started to consider alternate ways in which we could educate our parents about our school and integrate 21st century skills. After brainstorming and sharing our insight, we decided to flip the open house experience. As a result, the prospective parents became the content directors, which made for a rewarding open house experience.

Upon arriving to the school, signing into our lobby, and being greeted, each parent was given an ipad. Parents were told that the ipads would be used as part of the questioning process but in the meantime, to please explore the wonderful educational apps available to the students while waiting for the open house to begin. Once we were ready to start, the parents were asked to click on the Twitter app on each of their ipads. In order to facilitate the navigation of locating the Twitter app, we made sure that the Twitter app was anchored at the bottom of the ipads so that it would show up on each screen. Prior to the open house, we created a Twitter account for each ipad with Twitter usernames like Davis Academy Guest 1. Once the parent clicked on the Twitter app, they would see that they were already logged in with their unique username and could see a message welcoming them to the open house.

Twitter FeedOnce everyone was settled in with their ipad, I proceeded to explain that we really wanted to hear what the parents wanted to know. Our hopes were that parents would feel comfortable tweeting their questions in an anonymous format throughout the open house. This would serve several purposes: 1) while parents were in classrooms hearing from teachers and students, learning about the curriculum and seeing the classrooms, they could instantly tweet their questions that would be addressed later 2) parents would feel uninhibited in seeking answers to their questions and 3) it would demonstrate the ways in which we are incorporating technology into our instruction and encouraging students to share their voice.

Tag CloudAs the tweets were being received, I tagged them with descriptors enabling me to generate a Twitter cloud. An example of this is the question that was tweeted that said, How do you meet the needs of diverse learners?. This question was tagged as differentiation. After being in the classrooms, the parents returned to the media center where I displayed the Twitter cloud on a large screen. The remainder of the open house consisted of the administration, the teachers, and current Davis parents addressing questions that were raised via Twitter.

Although we have had positive feedback regarding our open houses in the past, using technology in this way generated a new level of enthusiasm and excitement. Providing the technology as a tool to encourage open communication while still allowing parents to get a strong sense of all that is offered at The Davis Academy, created an environment rich in collaboration and an environment that ensured that all questions could be addressed. We are pleased with the outcome and will continue to explore innovative tools that will enrich our open house experiences.

Drew Frank is the Lower School Principal at The Alfred and Adele Davis Academy in Atlanta Georgia, where he previously served in multiple teaching and administrative roles in both the lower and middle school. Drew is a proud member of the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI) cohort 5, and he has incorporated many of the constructivist and collaborative learning activities (spiritual check-ins, fishbowls, case studies, and consultancies) in to these and other school and faculty programs. You can follow Drew on Twitter @ugafrank.

Avi Chai Foundation Gets Social

Cross posted from Allison Fine’s blog, A Fine Blog In partnership with my friends at Personal Democracy Forum, I have had the great pleasure of working with the Avi Chai Foundation since last May. Our engagement has two sides; working with the foundation staff to help them use social media, and developing efforts to strengthen the ability of their grantees and community, particularly Jewish day schools, to become more adept at using social media to build and strengthen their own networks. The foundation has been very courageous and forward thinking about using social media. They are sunsetting in 9 years and want part of their legacy to be a growing “tribe” of Jews that are connected with one another and Judaism. It’s a fascinating notion. They’re not interested in leaving buildings and legacy organizations but want to leave the capacity of a network of people to continue to grow and thrive. We are beginning with a set of experiments with day schools including a training academy for which we will have the great fortune of working with Darim Online, a video contest and online fundraising match. The foundation has taken concrete steps to enter the social media waters. Staffers have started tweeting. Deena Fuchs, the director of special projects and communications, came up with a great idea yesterday. For the next two weeks, the staff is going to have a contest to see who can gain the largest number of new friends on Twitter. We couldn’t decide on a prize. Any ideas? In addition, we agreed on social media policies to provide guidance for staff and boundaries for management. A very interesting point that someone brought up at the meeting is that these really are communications guidelines, that there shouldn’t be an artificial distinction between policies related to social media versus traditional media. Here are their policies. I think they’ve done a great job of keeping them simple, manageable and direct: The AVI CHAI Foundation Social Media Policy AVI CHAI encourages staff and Trustees to be champions on behalf of the Foundation, LRP, day schools and overnight summer camps. The rapidly growing phenomenon of blogging, social networks and other forms of online electronic publishing are emerging as unprecedented opportunities for outreach, information-sharing and advocacy. AVI CHAI encourages (but does not require) staff and Trustees to use the Internet to blog and talk about our work and our grant making and therefore wants staff and Trustees to understand the responsibilities in discussing AVI CHAI in the public square known as the World Wide Web. Guidelines for AVI CHAI Social Media Users 1. Be Smart. A blog or community post is visible to the entire world. Remember that what you write will be public for a long time – be respectful to the Foundation, colleagues, grantees, and partners, and protect your privacy. 2. Write What You Know. You have a unique perspective on our organization based on your talents, skills and current responsibilities. Share your knowledge, your passions and your personality in your posts by writing about what you know. If you’re interesting and authentic, you’ll attract readers who understand your specialty and interests. Don’t spread gossip, hearsay or assumptions. 3. Identify Yourself. Authenticity and transparency are driving factors of the blogosphere. List your name and when relevant, role at AVI CHAI, when you blog about AVI CHAI-related topics. 4. Include Links. Find out who else is blogging about the same topic and cite them with a link or make a post on their blog. Links are what determine a blog’s popularity rating on blog search engines like Technorati. It’s also a way of connecting to the bigger conversation and reaching out to new audiences. Be sure to also link to avichai.org. 5. Include a Disclaimer. If you blog or post to an online forum in an unofficial capacity, make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of AVI CHAI. If your post has to do with your work or subjects associated with AVI CHAI, use a disclaimer such as this: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t represent AVI CHAI’s positions, strategies or opinions.” This is a good practice but does not exempt you from being held accountable for what you write. 6. Be Respectful. It’s okay to disagree with others but cutting down or insulting readers, employees, bosses or partners and vendors is not. Respect your audience and don’t use obscenities, personal insults, ethnic slurs or other disparaging language to express yourself. 7. Work Matters. Ensure that your blogging does not interfere with your other work commitments. 8. Respect Privacy of Others. Don’t publish or cite personal or confidential details and photographs about AVI CHAI grantees, employees, Trustees, partners or vendors without their permission. 9. Don’t Tell Secrets. The nature of your job may provide you with access to confidential information regarding AVI CHAI, AVI CHAI grantees, partners, or fellow employees. Respect and maintain the confidentiality that has been entrusted to you. Don’t divulge or discuss proprietary information, internal documents, personal details about other people or other confidential material 10. Be Responsible. Blogs, wikis, photo-sharing and other forms of online dialogue (unless posted by authorized AVI CHAI personnel) are individual interactions, not corporate communications. AVI CHAI staff and Trustees are personally responsible for their posts.