Burning Questions, Notes and What’s Next?

March 24, 2006

I really enjoyed the packed room of people today who were deeply interested in blogs and blogging in the non profit/NGO sector. Nearly every seat was taken and folks were standing in the back. Wow! At the end, John Lorrance commented that he ran a similar session a year ago and most of the people in the room either had little or no familiarity with blogs or were not blogging. This year there were a lot of bloggers in the room, lots of great knowledge and insights, plus a few left determined to start blogging. (And Sarah, I will send you your NewBee — we rescued the one I threw into the light fixture. If you are picking softball teams, pick me last!)

I tried to live blog, but being a panelist, a pinch hitter moderator and a deeply interested participant kind of squashed my good intentions. Rob Cottingham took some flip chart notes which I think all of us left behind. Duh! But I did capture the most important parts – the burning questions.

We have about 30 questions, and I’m not quite sure how we should put them out there. Putting 30 in one blog post won’t be too useful. 30 blog posts might be overwhelming. My gut instinct is to put the questions here, then link them to some sort of wiki. I want my fellow panelists to chime in on process ,but in the short term, here are the questions!

  • How should we think about personal safety/security for people that blog in situations where information can put them at risk. I.e. domestic violence, protect those that enter from giving too much information like shelter location, situations, as soon as they put their name up it can be found in search engines?
  • It is important to know who your audience is, understand that it may change as you go along, who you attract. So how do we do this?
  • What is your goal? To educate, build community, fundraise. Focus on one to start with.
  • What has really led to this tipping point in blogging, reaching critical mass?
  • Could you go over some of the larger, more corporate blogging tools because workflow is a question. Does workflow exist in smaller, WordPress, to be able to deal with large NPO management structures. In other words, how to approve posts. (Not just comments) Are there tools that do that? WordPress, Civicspace, Drupal (note to self – put in links later!)
  • What is the true cost involved in blogging? What’s the management time, how many hours, time is already short, now you want me to blog?
  • What’s the impact of blogging in a distributed organization with a lot of chapters, where they might write things which do not reflect central policy, and may reflect poorly. What do you do?
  • What resources are there for blogging (see the right side of this blog!)?
  • How do you balance eager bloggers and get more diversity behind them
  • What are the applications for blogging on an intranet (internal blogging)?
  • When thinking about how to generate content for blogs, there’s often a lot of internal communication about current news that can be used externally – strategic. Target where communication is happening to generate content without doing new work
  • If any one has done a comparison of tools out there for blogging, please share it.
  • One of our clients is an adolescent, teenager, thinking about opening a blog having teens talk to each other, interested in this. What should we be thinking about?
  • How do you rally citizen blog armies or communities of bloggers around a cause?
  • How do you get other influential bloggers to link to your org/cause’s blog?
  • How do you get people motivated around issues with blogs like the March of Dimes Share Your Story site does?
  • What is the value of personal voice in a blog? What about blogs without personal voice? Still useful?
  • How do you teach blog etiquette (the one person who makes it a personal platform – me me me )?
  • What are the advantages between blogs and message boards? What are the differences between blogs, wikis, message boards, etc and how do I decide which to use? In combination?
  • What about anonymous comments? When are they useful? Not useful?
  • What resources does it take to have a monitored blog? (And what IS a monitored blog?)
  • What are the issues related to minors blogging with my organization?
  • How do I get older people interested in blogging?
  • Are people using blogs as community building tools? Examples?
  • When blogging internationally, what cultural issues should we watch out for?

These are all amazing questions. Lets figure out how to discuss and answer them!

Thanks to everyone who came today and all my fellow panelists. I’m sorry, I forgot to take a picture. Oi! Someone find my memory!


Our Panel Is Today!

March 24, 2006

So should you use blogs to tell the day to day stuff? Like, gee, it’s time to start getting ready to go downtown to the NTC conference and gear up for the panel? Like, gee, we are REALLY going to miss our fearless leader, Beth Kanter, because urgent family stuff tore her away from us? (You are with us in spirit and chocolate, Beth!). Like, gee, Nancy, don’t forget to bring the PPT file?

Yup. You could post stuff like this. But it may not be that interesting to everyone. 🙂
We’ll be posting notes during (if the wifi works) and after!

March 24, 2006

Nonprofit Blogging: Who is blogging?

March 17, 2006

This is the results of a recent poll that N-TEN published in its March Newsletter. The respondents would be nonprofit techies, although it doesn’t indicate the sample size.
In the introduction of our panel, we will do a quick poll of the audience. We plan to ask these questions:

  • How many have a personal blog?
  • How many have an organizational blog?
  • How many are considering an organizational blog?
  • How many freak out when the word blog is uttered?

It will be interesting to see how the stats differ.