Tweeting and Flickring, the non profit way

This past week was one full of lots of social media goodness. Monday I was interviewed by Kami Griffiths of TechSoup, for a non profit webinar on Twitter and Flickr. The recording of the event is located here, in case you weren’t able to attend, and there is a nice round-up here (thanks Philanthropy Potluck!).

On Tuesday, TechSoup followed up the event with an online forum discussing Twitter, which I co-hosted with Marshall Kirkpatrick.

To top it all off, I held my first office hours for NTEN, which incidentally will re-occur every Tuesday from 3-4 pm EST here, if you’re interested in stopping by! In case you have other questions I might not cover, definitely check out the office hours schedule, there are some great folks volunteering their time!

Big thanks to everyone who participated in some or all of these events this week. It was great to have some friendly faces stop by, and awesome to make some new connections with folks dedicated to using social media for good. I am particularly amazed and inspired by organizations who are using both Twitter and Flickr for so many diverse things. I’ve even found my own self reevaluating my thoughts and strategies for these tools based on some of the great topics that were discussed.

In case you missed the Twitter forum, where the bulk of discussion took place, we chatted about:

Some great takeaways from the discussions are:

  1. To Tweet or Not to Tweet? Survey says? Tweet! If your organization has the resources available and the audience need, chances are, Twitter might be a great choice for some of your communications needs. From using Twitter in the developing world to coordinate disaster relief to helping colleagues share knowledge across the world, Twitter is such an open and flexible platform, the possibilities are endless. As more third party applications integrate Twitter, I’m certain more applications of the tool will evolve. Regardless of the social media tools your organization uses, it will always be important to review your communications goals and whether your current choices are meeting those needs. You can’t expect your followers to move with you to every slick social networking tool that gets invented, but you do want to make sure your time and resources are well spent.
  2. From advertising links to press releases, to asking for followers to support your cause, Twitter is a GREAT tool to market your organization. You can post these shout-outs to your organization manually to make a connection with your audience, or you can even use an RSS/Twitter tool like TwitterFeed to automatically send blog updates to your organization’s Twitter account.
  3. Tweeters have personalities! Creating an “organizational” face for your Tweeting persona may be ultimately less successful than if your organization chooses a few individuals to speak on their behalf. For the most part, people agree that they like to know there’s a real person out there communicating with them, not a group of folks following predetermined guidelines acting as the voice of an organization. This strategy might not work in all cases, but a review of your audience and possibly some focus groups might be very telling about the direction your organization should choose.
  4. Everyone has different opinions about what mix of professional and personal tweeting makes the best use of the tool, however, at the end of the day, most people agree that the lines are blurring quickly, and the lines between our professional and personal relationships are becoming seamless. At the end of the day its up to the individual to determine what their best use of the tool is, but it seems as though a little bit of both go a long way in building your Twitter karma and solidifying the “weak ties” you make in the Twitterverse.
  5. Twitter has grown so quickly and as a result, the service has recently experienced a lot of downtime. Should you leave Twitter for FriendFeed or Plurk? Maybe, but Twitter still has the critical mass of users, and that counts for something. There are lots of financial and reputation-based incentives that Twitter has to get things back on track, so it could be worthwhile to be patient for now. In the meantime, TweetLater and Twiddict will help you post your tweets as soon as the service gets back on track.

Thanks again, and see you on Flickr and Twitter!

1 Response to “Tweeting and Flickring, the non profit way”

  1. 1 Jon

    Did you just say “weak ties” ? Your academia is showing!

    Seriously, though; this is a great “guide” to the value of twittering for an organization — #3 is specifically hard to get across to orgs with a solid history in traditional media, but if NASA can do it with @MarsPhoenix, anyone can!