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Foreword by Caroline Diehl – Chief Executive of Media Trust Foreword by Matthew Legg – ICT Hub Chief Commissioning Editor Chapter One – New Media explained Chapter Two – Social Networking Chapter Three – Blogs Chapter Four – Forums Chapter Five – Flickr Chapter Six – Interviews in the digital age Chapter Seven – Wikis Chapter Eight – Online shopping cart Chapter Nine – Social Bookmarking Chapter Ten – Fundraising videos Chapter Eleven – Legacy donations online Chapter Twelve – Twitter and mobile communications Chapter Thirteen – About Media Trust and Capacitybuilders Glossary Credits
FOREWORD by Caroline Diehl, Chief Executive of Media Trust
Media Trust is a dynamic and innovative charity that brings together the media industry and charities. We work to build effective voluntary and community sector communications through a range of partnerships, projects and services including media training, film and TV production, our digital TV station Community Channel, Community Newswire, Media Matching and Youth Mentoring. Media Trust worked in partnership with the ICT Hub to deliver a number of key objectives. These included the development of an online advice service, and an online discussion forum to ensure voluntary and charity organisations have access to a range of new media advice, training and support services. This ‘How to use new media’ guide is full of practical advice and voluntary sector success stories resulting from this work. Tapping into the potential of Web 2.0 can feel quite daunting at first. After all who hasn’t felt nervous about blogging for the first time? With this in mind we’ve put together this booklet (also available online of course!) to share with you some of the valuable advice and stories which have emerged over the course of the project. We hope that you find it useful and inspiring, and please do keep sharing your experiences with us. Take time to visit Media Trust’s website where we can potentially help by linking you with a skilled and passionate volunteer advisor, who, in turn, could introduce you to the brave new world of blogging, podcasting and twittering!
For more information please visit: www.mediatrust.org
Caroline Diehl Chief Executive Media Trust firstname.lastname@example.org
FOREWORD Matt Legg ICT Commissioning and Corporate Development Manager
As technology advances ever faster, we are offered an increasing number of new and exciting ways for the voluntary and community sector to reach new audiences – to communicate, advocate, lobby and provide services in innovative ways. In addition we work increasingly in an environment where ICT is changing many aspects of our society, from how we conduct business and consume services to how we spend our leisure time. The ICT Hub is delighted to have supported this publication working in partnership with the Media Trust. Following on from the hugely successful ‘New Media Case Studies’ publication also produced in partnership with the Media Trust, this publication builds upon these case studies providing further highlights of exemplary practice in how the voluntary and community sector is benefiting from new media technology. We hope this publication will inspire you to think about how you could use ICT to either do things better or do better things, and demonstrates just how powerful technology could be in helping your organisation. I hope you will find this insight into new media useful and the case studies as inspiring as I have. Matt Legg ICT Commissioning and Corporate Development Manager
CHAPTER 1 New Media explained
So you have all heard about... ‘New Media’. They get all excited about gleaming technology and clever gizmos. They talk in acronyms and begin sentences with: “ Did you know you can...” The rest of us just want to get on with campaigning, fundraising or service delivery. We want to tell stories about the people we work with, the communities we’re in and the issues we’re passionate about. We want to find and talk to people who can help us get change, deliver services or make a difference Well this book tries to bridge the gap. It’s about telling stories and having conversations. And its about a new space where you can do that... it just happens that that space is on a computer. Frankly I don’t like computers. They always go wrong. They hide my work in some side pocket where I can’t get at it. They refuse to acknowledge that the printer is there, right next to the desk. No I don;t like computers... but I love what they can do. I can see my photos as soon as I’ve taken them. I can make films and write stories and post them for the world to see. I can contact friends, colleagues and comrades. I can find information and make connections with ideas and people. This book is about that potential. ‘New Media’ is just a label. Like ‘Web 2.0’ or ‘The Live Web’ – it’s just a name that people give for the new space, a different sort of Internet. Back in the ol’ days, the Web was like TV. Big
companies broadcasted channels at us and made us come to sites or ‘portals’ to get the information and content they saw fit to let us have. This was their space and we were guests. Now we have something different. We have millions of people around the world creating their own media, telling their own stories. They make films and music, they write stories and reports. They take photos and have discussions. They write but they also read. They find others who share similar interests and passions and have conversations just like at a party. This is the biggest party you’ll ever be invited to. There are groups talking about your issues. There are people exchanging ideas or chatting about new ways of doing things or sources of funding. There are people collecting money or getting signatures on petitions. There are others organising events and actions. Your friends (and opponents) are there. Your clients and stakeholders are there. They’re telling their stories, coming up with ideas and questions. They’re getting involved in the conversations. You can stand in a corner of the party hoping that people will come over and listen to you. You can have your website and hope people will visit. Or you can get out into the party and mingle, join in the conversations and tell your stories and listen to others. In many ways there is nothing ‘New’ about this media. It’s as old as humanity itself because it’s about storytelling, chatting and connecting with people. It just happens to work via a computer
keyboard and screen. This book will show you that the technologies are now accessible, easy and free. You can concentrate on using them to do what you do anyway – having conversations, forming relationships and telling stories.
CHAPTER 2 Social networks
IMAGINE First coffee of the morning and Jon checked his email. There had been a flurry of activity on the site over night. More people had signed the petition and said they would be attending the march. The group that had sprung up around the event was busy with discussion about how to carry on after the day itself. It all seemed to be progressing well. Sam in Newcastle and Helen in Adelaide seemed to be co-ordinating the activity very well. Jon wondered if he’d ever meet them in the real world, as he posted an encouraging message on their pages. While on the site he noticed a new face, Su was introducing herself. She was a new teacher in Liverpool and was wondering if she could help with the march, but also if she could use it as a theme for her class to work on this term. Jon left her message and told her about Mike... he seemed to have established himself as the first port of call for the teachers who were getting involved. Social Networks are in some ways the most chaotic and difficult to grasp parts of the Live Web... and therein lies their potential. Sites like Facebook, MySpace and Bebo allow users to create their own pages. Some like MySpace and Bebo allow anyone online to see the personal sites; others like Facebook only allow qualified members to view the pages. These networks are built around the idea of ‘friends’. Your page is a place where your friends (real or virtual) can connect with you and you with them. You can exchange messages, play games, swap music and videos etc. Pages on social networks are part self-expression and part bulletin board for conversations. And that’s where they start to get
interesting, social networking sites such as Facebook or YouTube can help you reach thousands at the click of a button. Different social networks have different atmospheres and different communities. Bebo tends to be for younger teens, MySpace has a lot of musicians and wannabee artists while Facebook is increasingly popular with young adult professionals. There are even networks such as Linkedin that cater for the business networking market. What happens when people of similar ages and cultures get together on these networks is that they find common interests and make new ‘friends’ who share an interest in a particular film director or band or social issue. The social networks encourage their members to form groups around these common interests and often provide tools for them to do so. These can include applications like calendars or alerts to help organise or online polls and recommendation tools to get other people interested. People who spend a lot of time on social networks have lots of connections and are involved in lots of online activities. A typical user might be a member of a number of groups, be in messaging contact with real world and virtual friends and be regularly posting words, pictures and links to their social network Blog. Social networks are a little like parties with conversations starting and stopping, relationships created and ideas and stories exchanged. This is potentially very powerful for a campaigner or fundraiser looking to make new contacts or increase interest in their cause. These networks are social; their users pride themselves on connections, friends and conversations. Consequently they are particularly useful spaces to spread ideas or generate enthusiasm. You can of course join any or all of these networks as an individual or an organisation. Be prepared however to invest quite a bit of time. Others on the
networks will find you and your interests and invite you to become friends. Of course this is great in terms of making contacts and possibly widening the organisations reach but maintaining active social network presences can be intensive. The other way in which you can make use of social networks is to make use of the ‘power of crowds’. Chances are that someone in your organisation or your family already has a social network page. As part of the community they are in an ideal place to become the ambassador for your organisation and its issue. You could ask them to include a badge on their page that says that they support you. They could write on their Blog about your issue or they could raise a question and ask people to vote on it. If they were really keen they could start (or join) a group. These could be short-lived; maybe leading up to a march or event, or longer-term; raising awareness, discussing or campaigning. Chances are these social networkers will be ‘digital natives’ and so will also be using YouTube and Flickr etc so they will be able to bring other media together. A final advantage of using these ambassadors is that they will know how to ‘speak’ and interact in these spaces. They will be able to exploit the network potential to the full. Facebook for example is perfect for the armchair activist. With Facebook you can encourage people to raise money or heighten awareness without them even having to leave the comfort of their own home. One thing to note about the Live Web in general and social networks in particular is that these spaces and the relationships they generate are unpredictable. You may start a conversation off but, like in the real world, you have no say in where that goes or what others do with the idea. Again this can be very powerful. Supporters may take an issue and create a whole new fundraising idea that catches on and brings in all sorts of new supporters. Great! But they might also take an issue and change the focus
or even the point. You can of course disassociate your organisation from that shift but the conversation will continue. One advantage of trying to build a network of social network ambassadors is that they can help to keep the conversation going in the direction you want it to. PROS and CONS pros 1. Free. 2. The biggest party you’ll ever be invited to. There MUST be people who can help you out there. 3. Passionate and active community of users, many of whom are politically and socially active. 4. Can take on a creative life of its own. 5. Very high-profile at the moment... lot of potential media coverage. cons 1. Can be intimidating for first timer. 2. Can be time consuming. If you’re playing there, set yourself targets and time limits and let your networks know. 3. Can be fickle. What is fashionable to talk about today may not be tomorrow. 4. Difficult to get tone of voice right. 5. Impossible to control. GETTING STARTED 1. Visit sites that don’t require registration to view (most except Facebook) and look at the sorts of conversations online. Search for relevant groups and postings. 2. Find out if any of your supporters (or their children!) are already involved. Ask for their advice or enlist as ambassadors. 3. Decide which networks to sign up to. 4. Set clear aims and time limits e.g. get signatures for an online petition, recruit for event, get ideas for new schools pack. 5. Create an account on your chosen networks.
Make sure the name is relevant and attractive. 6. Look for groups on the network you can join before starting a new one. 7. Regularly review what your presence on the networks is achieving. TOP TIPS 1. Have clear aims and time limits. Evaluate regularly. 2. Make use of ‘digital natives’ to be your ambassadors. Be sure to support them. 3. Don’t try and be something you’re not. Be human and use your real tone of voice. 4. Don’t worry if your space is not all about work. People might connect with you because of your love of knitting and then get involved in campaigning on climate change. 5. Find ways to integrate the online and offline worlds. Invite your ‘friends’ to your events or arrange to meet on the march. 6. Connect your social network page to your other Live Web work e.g. your photos on Flickr, your favourite videos on YouTube etc.
CASE STUDY The Mersey Basin Campaign (www.merseybasin.org.uk) is an environmental organisation based in the North West of England. One of its key aims to get people involved in protecting their area and take an active part in its development. The Campaign has it own Blog (http://merseybasin.typepad.co.uk/) and as a way of getting new material, it came up with the idea of getting some colleagues who were taking part in the Mongol Rally (London – Ulan Bator) in a ‘green’ car to take a Mersey Basin carved wooden salmon. The idea at the start was that they’d deliver the fish along with a solar panel and laptop, to a local school in the Gobi desert. But the Live Web took
over. The fish ended up being passed to some backpackers, who took it to China. The backpackers then established a Facebook group to chart the fish’s journey, and she’s now on her third ‘guardian’, somewhere in Burma – (www.travellingfishy.com / http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=1006162 5194). It hadn’t been the Mersey Basin Campaign’s idea to use Facebook, there supporters had done it themselves. As Kate Fox, the Campaign’s New Media Manager says: “we’d fought shy of ‘doing’ Facebook, but it happened organically, giving us a chance to post information and get our stories out to a whole new audience.”
CHAPTER 3 Bloggs
IMAGINE She had just come back from meeting the class working on the project. She was so excited she had to tell her colleagues. After a discussion over coffee, she sat down at her computer and wrote a quick paragraph on her blog: “... and the best bit was when John said that he hadn’t thought of it that way before.” She posted her story and went back to work. After a few phone calls finalising details for Saturday, she posted the venue and times on her blog. As she did so she noticed that someone from another mental health charity, this time in Newcastle, had left a comment asking how she had got the kids so fired up and telling her about a new fund that was opening in the North East, would she be interested in doing a joint bid? And there was also a comment from John saying that he’d posted a link on his Bebo page. Love ‘em or hate ‘em blogs are everywhere. Politicians have them. Celebrities have them. Even the bosses of big corporate companies boast about their online journals. For some they are selfindulgent ramblings about what you had for tea. For others they are a sign that the power of publishing and media has been taken out of the hands of Big Media and now everyone has a voice. The truth is, they’re both. A blog is an online diary that can be easily updated as frequently as needs be. Whilst the main commentary is from one editorial source anyone reading can comment on the content. And the beauty of blogs is that they are easy to set up, edit and keep up to date. A blog (‘web log’) tells an online narrative and can be used to highlight any particular issues or events.
It allows you to publish quickly online, post and answer comments and upload photos. What it does above all is create a relationship with your users as you can address them informally and keep them up to date with what is going on, what you are planning and what is coming up, just as you might chat with your friends. This is why it has commonly been used as an online diary; however there are ways that you can make this work for you and your charity. That’s about it really. You can add a calendar so that readers can track back through recent posts, a search box etc but essentially it’s a personal page or journal. The real magic though comes in that all the posts on the blog have a button that readers can click and then comment on the story. Those comments are then added to the posting. Postings can have as many comments as you like. They can all be from different people or they might be a backwards and forwards discussion with someone asking the author a question, getting a response and ending up in a conversation. Critics are right. Some blogs are boring accounts of the everyday. Yes there are some blogs that we might find very distasteful, (Remember the Girl with a one track mind?) and even dangerous (her relationships and career were damaged after the true identity of this saucy anonymous blogger was revealed). But there are many that consist of useful information and links the author has found. Others are more journalistic with news and views from communities. Still others are simply passionate arguments or accounts. And then there are some that are just stories of real life. There are two ways in which you could begin to engage with the world of blogs. Firstly you could just read them. Find ones that are relevant to your
work, issue, community etc. and then read. To find relevant blogs, use a search engine like www.technorati.com. When you have found a blogger that’s useful, look at the links she includes on her site, that’ll point you towards others. You might find information, news or a new perspective. You might find someone who you can work with. If you find something good, leave a comment. That new relationship might lead somewhere. Secondly you could launch your own (see Box on setting-up). Don’t worry; this is not like setting up a website. Think of it as opening a notebook. At one level, blogs are a very efficient way of distributing information. If you have some news or information supporters, stakeholders and even the media, post it on your blog. Your supporters, members and journalists can subscribe to your Blog and get the information as soon as you write it. No need to send out printed press releases or spend ages by the Fax machine. But blogs are more than newswires. They are storytelling spaces. You can use them to show why you are doing what you are doing and allow others to contact you. Just start writing – short pieces, long pieces whatever. Talk about the family you just met. Tell the story of your office or the last council meeting. Tell your readers why that parkland is important. The key thing is to sound like you’re a real person and like the issue you’re involved in is important. Don’t try and write like a reporter or a spin doctor – write like a human. Don’t write a funding proposal or an annual report, tell stories. Don’t feel as though you have to write a lot or even every day. Maybe tell your readers that’ll you be adding a new story every Friday afternoon. Remember you’re talking with people not at them. Finally think of your blog as your part of a conversation. If you find an interesting or even annoying posting on someone else’s blog, write a
response on your blog. Link to their entry by copying the web address of their posting into your story. Your Blog will then automatically add your story to theirs as a comment. As your blog gets going, maybe one entry is the story of a project you’ve been working on with a school and the next is information about an event or news of a funding success. People who read or subscribe to your blog keep up-to-date with your news and also why that news is important. Amnesty does a very good job of combining personal information with tit bits about the organisation and news about human rights. However there are links across the web on how best to blog. Just a take a look at some of the below and get blogging! If you really want to take your interest in blogging further The Rough Guides publish a great introduction to blogging. PROS and CONS pros: 1. Free. 2. Easy to use – no need to know about web programming or get techies involved. 2. Easy to subscribe to – keep in constant touch with supporters. 4. Interactive – people can start conversations with you. 5. Accessible – being mainly text-based, Blogs are very easy for people using screen-readers. cons: 1. Can be difficult to remember how to write like a real person and not sound like a PR person. 2. Can be addictive – set yourself set times to update. 3. Conversations can be time consuming – set yourself times to answer comments and make sure it’s clear on the Blog.
4. Some of your supporters might not have Internet access so keep in contact in other ways. GET STARTED 1. Go to wordpress www.wordpress.com, blogger, www.blogger.com or typepad, www.typepad.com and set up a free account. 2. Give your Blog a name that’s relevant and attractive e.g. saveourpond.wordpress.com. 3. Put a link on your existing site to your new Blog. Also add the address to your letterhead and email signature. 4. Write a story about a real experience that sums up what your campaign or service is all about. 5. Visit www.technorati.com and search for your issue or area of work. Read a few of the Blogs and then write a response on your Blog. 6. Work out and publish a schedule that tells your readers when you will be adding stories and when you will be responding. TIPS 1. Think small – short and often. Think of it as keeping in contact with friends. 2. Think human – tell stories and talk like a real person who’s passionate about what they do. 3. Be honest – admit when you’ve got it wrong or don’t know. 4. Develop your own editorial style; the beauty of blogging lies in its informal nature. 5. Link – point your readers to other interesting Bloggers or sources of information. The more you link to other blogs and the more they link back to you, the more people will find you online. 6. Post regularly– No matter how well written your blog is, readers wont return if they see that it is not being updated. 7. Tell everyone about your Blog. CASE STUDY Simon Blake is the CEO of Brook the sexual health charity for young people. The Charity already had a
successful website but Simon decided to launch a blog so he could talk directly to supporters, partners and anyone interested in issues around sexual health. Called ‘Talking of Sex’, his blog at http://brookcentres.blogspot.com/ gives him a space to talk about the organisation (his story of the annual party gives you a picture of the team and the people they work with); the people he meets as well as his opinions and perspectives on the important issues his organisation is dealing with. His blog is more than a platform for Simon to sound off. People leave comments about their experiences or their own ideas. Simon says that sometimes he wonders whether his blog is making any difference and then he finds people saying: “Oh you’re the one that blogs.” “It can be quite overwhelming sometimes,” he says. “blogging makes you reflect on your work. It keeps me connected.” Simon had been worried about broaching controversial issues but found that blogging was an ideal way of establishing his organisation’s position: “blogging helps me be a bit bolder in what I say about our issues. We’ve found it’s completely safe to do it, indeed its impossible not to.” LINKS www.technorati.com – a blog search engine www.bloglines.com – a site that lets you subscribe to lots of blogs and have all their posts brought together in one place www.feedburner.com – a service that helps you publish your blog as a feed (see the chapter on feeds) or as an email list. It also tracks the number of readers. Handbook for bloggers and ‘cyber dissidents’ from Reporters without borders: http://www.rsf.org/rubrique.php3?id_rubrique=542 www.squarespace.com http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blogging
CHAPTER 4 Forums
IMAGINE Brenda is two months into receiving treatment for breast cancer. Once she got over the shock and disbelief of her diagnosis. Brenda begun her research, after some depressing search results, she stumbled across a page on the site of a leading breast cancer charity. Here she found ongoing conversations that she identified with, between participants suffering and in remission from breast cancer. Through this forum Brenda received advice, from the qualified nurses that act as moderators, on how to combat some of the side effects of chemotherapy. She also finds comfort in offering words of support to newly diagnosed women. Forums allow discussion between users. Once set up they can be cheap to run, encourage the exchange of ideas and build up a community. Scope has set up one for its users, http://www.scope.org.uk/forum/index.php that does just that. Scope is the charity for people with cerebral palsy. It concerns itself with research and treatment for sufferers as well as support groups, advice services and awareness campaigns. For a charity such as this it is therefore important to be in touch with its members and give a voice to those who need to be heard. By offering an online forum, sufferers and carers can get together and exchange ideas, support or just chat about what’s on their minds. And they do. With over 15,000 registered users, Scope certainly has a thriving forum that helps break down the barriers between the online world and the real issues that people face.
What are forums? Forums are online web pages allowing anyone to post messages and respond. They allow people to talk about anything – sharing whatever is on their mind. There are essentially two types of forum – preand post-moderated. A pre-mod forum is where all posts are checked by the organisation or moderator before they go live. This means that it is up to you, as the owner of the forum, to make sure that nothing inflammatory or slanderous or any random advertising can be sent live. This is the model that Scope has used. It’s a good one, but it does mean that you will have to ensure that there is someone available to check all posts before they are sent live for everyone to read on the big bad cyberweb. This also means that people posting won’t necessarily know when their posts go live. A post-mod forum means that users can post directly on to the live site. This makes for a much more dynamic relationship with your users, but the cons are that you are not always aware of what is being posted. Alex White, web content manager at Scope, says that for them, the key feature was not allowing users to exchange contact details, so they opted for a premod board. Having taken some advice from NCH, Alex was concerned with users leaving themselves vulnerable to unsavoury predators. Whist many users claimed they felt they didn’t want protecting, he took the view that it was better to look after all users and ensure that all posts were vetted before going live. They have since had the odd complaint when users have posted email addresses that have been deleted by the hosts. The rest of the message will then be posted live with a note remind users that it has been pre-moderated. Though this is not always
popular Alex points out: “we do it for a very good reason”. i.e.: making sure that no one can give their personal details to the wrong person. How to set one up. The main thing to consider is whether you are going to create your own forum from scratch or whether you are going to use off-the-peg software. There is a lot of free software and a lot of different options out there. Just type ‘software forums’ into Google and you’ll be immediately overwhelmed. A typical forum will allow users to create their own user name (user contact details, such as email, will normally be collated into a database, but these won’t usually appear on the board itself). Standard features will show when a message was posted (by date and sometimes by time), allow users to respond to them, and set up a themed discussion so it is easy to follow an online chat, see how many times a posting has been viewed and search on the system for a keyword or name. How to direct users to your organisation’s forum You will need to ensure there is a tab or a link in the main navigation to the forum. To encourage users to actively contribute, try highlighting some of the more interesting discussions that are happening on your home page. You know how frustrating it is when you are searching for contact details on an organisation’s web site, but to no avail? Well, bear this in mind when you are setting up your forum. Though most people will want to exchange information online you might find that there are some who actually want to get in direct contact with you. In their introduction to the forum Scope offer a phone number and an email address for people to contact them directly. This means that if a visitor to the forum sees
something that bothers them in the posts – maybe an inaccuracy that someone else has posted – they can contact the charity directly. Points of view The main thing to bear in mind when hosting a forum is that the people who contribute to the forums are expressing THEIR own views – not those of your organisation. It is worth making this clear on your pages and, as mentioned above, also letting people know how to contact you if they have a complaint or query about the forum or what is posted on the pages. Be sure to have someone answering those incoming emails though! Hosting forums Hosting is an essential part of managing a forum. You can, of course, set up a forum and let it take its own course. However, like any community, it will run better if it has a guide. On the internet these online guides take the form of hosts – they can help seed information, answer queries that users post, make sure that no slander takes place (I have seen some particularly flaming discussions take place between some normally calm, placid and friendly book readers) and to occasionally step in and calm the cyber flames. Just as at a party, a good host, never dominates the forum, but initiates conversations and ensures everything runs smoothly. Your role is an important one, like the host of a party, to protect your members or guests contact details. A good host should never be too liberal with the guests’ contact details! You should think about giving yourself a name such as ‘webmaster/webmistress/host/forum host’ etc., so that people know that you are representing your charity. You might also want to set up a ‘thread’ – or discussion area just for announcements from your organisation. Scope has established a category
called ‘forum news’ for this purpose. To help build up the community feel, you might also want to make sure that you welcome all new visitors to the site. People respond better when they know if there is a friendly helping hand around. Scope has invested time and resource intro moderating their forum space. Alex White, points out that all the Scope hosts have backgrounds in nursing, social work or telephone counselling so they are well-trained in the field of advising people. This means that if members post messages asking about a detailed case, a Scope response worker will either post a general message on the board in response or might suggest contacting them on confidential phone line. This provides a slick dual support service to its members. Regional response workers might take this one step further and may offer home visits if they feel this is required. The combination of well-trained hosts, telephone support and outreach work means that they are able to offer a personal response to their users. And yet they can also reach many users at once. For example, they recently found that one person posted a message on the board asking about special shoes for disabled children. A host replied with information about which shoes may help and the posting had over 2000 views; proving how the forum can act as a useful resource for more than just the person who posts. Unfortunately, Spammers are hard to avoid in forum spaces. Whilst Scope gets over 20 genuine messages a day, they also get 50-60 spam messages. You’ll find you might want to make sure that the tidying up becomes part of your daily routine in checking the messages. This is also an essential for social networking sites. Very occasionally, says Alex, someone can become persistently abusive and the hosts will delete their
message. The reason behind deleting a message is always explained and if it’s just a general spammer, they won’t return but occasionally a user might apologise for their language used, rewrite their message and repost. The other issue you need be aware of is libel. You don’t need to be legally trained, just watch out for postings criticising products or people. Options There will be many potential options regarding the style and format of the forum. One of which will be if your forum reveals a posters’ online history to other users. Scope allows you to click on a user’s name and see how many posts they have made and when their last posting was. This may seem intrusive but it all helps build up a community. You will have to decide whether you want a forum that people will have to log in and register with or one onto which one could post directly. Asking people to log in may seem like unnecessary or restrictive but it means that you can build up your own database of users and monitor where they come from. It also means that you can be sure that everyone who signs up to your forum is legitimate, has read the rules and is not trying to sign up for advertising purposes! The last thing you want is your website being hijacked by a Viagra salesman.One thing to make sure you have clearly highlighted, though, is a guide to the rules for posting. What to avoid The trap that many organisations seem to fall into is failing to allocate enough resources to their forums. The set-up costs can vary, but it is worth allocating some funds to make sure that the forums are wellstaffed and maintained. This will depend on the level of service you want to offer of course, but Scope have seven full time members of staff who take it in turns to moderate their forums, and there is someone allocated to do this each day.
CHAPTER 5 Flickr
IMAGINE The Council was due to make its decision about the waste ground tomorrow. Councillor Smith sat by his computer and looked at the site. He was used to the group’s rhetoric now but there was something different on the site. There was a photo of the ground and a link that said: “more”. Councillor Smith clicked on the link and suddenly his screen was filled with pictures. There were ones of children playing, football teams, and a group of Scouts building a den from trees. There were pictures of kite flyers and dog walkers, old ladies with a flask of tea on a bench, cyclists, and walkers. There were pictures by amateur photographers of the waste ground at sunset. There were out-of-focus camera phone self-portraits. What was more these pictures all shared a common title: ‘Save Ambridge Common’ and they had attracted comments from well beyond Ambridge. People in surrounding villages left best wishes. People from around the world were asking to be kept in touch on the fate of the waste ground. Councillor Smith turned his attention to the proposal to be voted on tomorrow. He was no longer facing a couple of activists... he was facing a community. Photographs have always been a powerful means of communication but until recently, frankly they’d been a pain to handle online. You had to organise them, find storage space and arrange them on your webpages. And if you wanted to make use of someone else’s pictures you had to link to them or ask for copies that you could add to your ‘gallery’. Not now though. Online photo-sharing sites mean you can manage your own photo library but also connect with other people’s libraries to tell your stories in new ways.
The leading photo-sharing site is Flickr (www.flickr.com). . Flickr calls itself ‘the best online photo management and sharing application in the world’. In short, a free account at Flickr lets you upload your digital photographs, from your computer, by email or direct from your mobile phone. It is used by amateur and professional photographers alike as well as individuals and organisations. You can add titles, descriptions and keywords or tags. You can arrange them into sets or albums and set the copyright on each image. You can specify that all images are your copyright and people can’t use them or you can use what is called a “Creative Commons’ licence which means that people are free to use your work for non-commercial purposes as long as they give you a credit. This is potentially useful because you might find your pictures taking your story or message around the world. Flickr provides you with100mb of free web space, all at the click of a button. Along with this, you can add up to 300 contacts (other Flickr members) and 75 tags for your photos. Whilst using 75 word tags for your photos isn’t advisable, do make sure that you list the main search terms for your charity so that your photos can be found. Four or five tags are normally enough. When your Flickr gallery is up and running, you can then use a simple piece of code to ‘embed’ the pictures on your site. Visitors to your site will see your images but you don’t have to worry about hosting or arranging them. You can have a gallery on your site run for free by Flickr. Flickr is not a substitute for a full website for your charity, but what it does is offer an easy point of access to collate your photos and to encourage user submissions. Just as the Children in Need 2007 website encouraged users to submit their videos via YouTube, you might want to encourage
your users to submit their photos of a particular event via Flickr from your website. So you’ll need to make sure there is a clear link and clear instructions from your own site. So far so good but Flickr is based on sharing – and like all the Live Web sites and services, conversations. You can add keywords or tags to your Flickr photos so that people searching on the site for “Ambridge” will find your pictures and your campaign or organisation. If you include other tags such as “park”, “playground” etc, people, who are possibly also interested in play etc, will find your work. Similarly, you might find them by searching for “play” or “park”. A new connection is made and you might be able to work together. Another key aspect of Flickr is that visitors can leave comments. You can set it up so Flickr let’s you know when someone has left a comment on one of your pictures. Someone leaving a comment is someone talking to you, expressing an interest in what you are doing. If you respond, maybe it’s the start of a new relationship which might be a fundraising or campaigning relationship. It might be a potential partner... who knows. And of course you can leave comments on other photos and open a dialogue that way too. Every other Flickr user is potentially one of your Contacts. Once you start adding people as your contacts their photos get aggregated for you on a separate page which you can view. So the real power of Flickr comes in groups. In our imaginary example, the Save Ambridge Common group’s photos were part of a larger network of images taken by the local ramblers, dog walkers, kite flyers and kids. They were all linked together by common tags but they were also part of a Flickr Group. Anyone can start a group and then encourage others to post their photos to that Group. Not only do you get lots of interesting images but you get
people feeling as though they are part of a group whether that is a campaign or a fundraising group. They own it. They have a stake in it. More and more people are taking pictures. The availability of cheap digital cameras and in particular the ubiquity of mobile phone cameras mean that people are documenting their lives like never before. Many of your supporters will be taking photos. They’ll be taking them at your events but they may also be taking pictures that are about your issue. Many will be taking their photos on their mobile phones and sharing them with friends and family. If you brought them together on Flickr together with images you’ve taken, pictures of your fundraising garden party or the lobby of parliament, you have a documentary built (and owned) by the people involved. And to the outsider, your organisation looks as though it is at the heart of a vibrant community of people passionate about an issue or idea. PROS and CONS pros: 1. Free 2. Easy to use – Flickr gives you free tools to upload and resize your images. 3. Easy to set up Groups to link people together. 4. Easy to embed images on your site – you can embed one picture or a whole album. 5. Reach – your photos will be seen by more people on Flickr then on your site. cons: 1. You can’t control what other photographers do – they might use you tag on images you don’t like. 2. Groups can get very big and might drift off the focus you set. Be very clear on the Group page. 3. Although you are only legally responsible for the images that you own, you might have a
professional responsibility to ensure that your network of photographers are aware of issues around Internet safety and copyright. GET STARTED 1. Go to www.flickr.com and set up a free account. 2. Think of a name for the Flickr page that’s relevant and attractive. It might be your organisation or it might be the issue. Put a link to your homepage on your Flickr profile. 3. Upload, describe and tag some photos. Think of tags that people might search for and include your organisation’s name. 4. Create a Flickr ‘badge’ and embed it on your site. 5. Start a Flickr group around your issue. 6. Encourage supporters to upload relevant photos to the group. Use your Blog as well as offline. communications. 7. Search on Flickr for other groups and photographers taking pictures that are relevant. Leave some comments and invitations to join your Group. 8. Build Flickr into your planning: “How are we going to cover the Marathon this year?” TIPS 1. Get as many photographers ‘covering’ your story as possible. 2. Don’t look for ‘great photographs’. Look for passionate pictures, ones that tell a story even if it is a bit out of focus. 3. Think of a set of tags that every photographer knows to add to any of their pictures. 4. Be aware of the privacy of any of the people in your images. As their image will be available to all (you can however set privacy levels for Flickr) you may not want to name them to protect their identity. 5. Publicise your album and group. Link to it from all your other Live Web spaces.
CASE STUDY Sobell House is an Oxford based hospice (www.sobellhospiceoxford.org). It uses Flickr to host all of its photos [http://www.flickr.com/people/sobellhospiceoxford/]. “It’s so much easier than the running battles with designers or having to administer them,” says fundraiser Kevin Game. Sobell House encourages its supporters to upload their photos and link them into the charity’s images. Sobell House has found that people contact the charity after finding images on the site. Some ask if they can use the images and some just want to know more. Kevin is exploring the possibilities of using the site to make contacts outside the charity world. “Flickr builds a community of photo users,” he says. As an example, the local Harley Davidson group attended a fundraising walk and took photos which are part of the Sobell House album of the event. Kevin is adding the tag “Harley Davidson” so that any other bikers looking for picture of their beloved bikes will find his images and his organisation. Maybe those bikers are also looking for a charity to support.
CHAPTER 6 Interviews in the digital age
IMAGINE Completely by chance Mike meets a well known soapstar at his wife’s company gala event. Mike was seated next to the soapstar and they got to talking about the premature babies charity that Mike volunteers for in his spare time. It turns out that prematurity was a cause close to the celeb’s heart as her sister had recently had a seriously premature son. Mike was surprised when he put in his customary follow up call a few days later, the star enthusiastically agreed to not only donate but become an ambassador for the prematurity charity, appear at a few of their upcoming events and better still become somewhat of a spokesperson, promoting their work to the media and recording interviews and testimonials. Rather than the tired old method of printing the star’s testimonial, Mike begun to consider more interesting ways they could use the heartfelt words of their newfound celebrity stakeholder. Why not create an online gallery with audio and video stories from their supporters, and not just their famous supporters; any of their donors or volunteers Loveearth is an innovative organisation engaging with their target audiences; taking us to the edge of the world and retaining their interest with celebrities giving their heartfelt accounts of their passion for the planet. All visitors to the site need to do is click on a link to hear, for example, Will Young talk about his love for Africa. What this design award nominated site is doing is putting up audio ‘postcards’ from users, celebrities and nature ‘heroes’. The latter includes wildlife cameramen and women as well as natural history film-makers and producers. These audio pieces
involve such varied people as musicians, presenters and directors all talking about what inspires them most on this wild and exciting planet that we live on. This in turn encourages visitors to the site to think about what is around them and even send in their own postcards. On these pages: http://www.loveearth.com/uk/postcards/galleries/cel ebrities http://www.loveearth.com/uk/postcards/view/b9f53f 8f-6e5c-4601-aa41-dad4c6692401 Will Young talks about his affinity with the African continent, and the wide open skies and landscape of the iconic Serengeti… The audio file is accompanied by a still shot of him on location helping to situate the audio and give some vibrancy to the page. What this content means is that visitors to the site can listen to personal stories, bringing both the site and the campaign alive. It adds texture to the site. Whilst Loveearth is primarily a commercial site from BBC Worldwide, it does have charitable partners and is raising awareness for good causes. With partners such as the World Wildlife Fund, the international environmental charity, EarthWatch, EWB – a Botswana based NGO, focusing on tracking and looking after elephants – Loveearth has managed to get audio commentaries from people such as Will Young, Graham Norton and Jack Osborne. Whilst you might not have the power or the contacts that the BBC brings to attract big names, there are still plenty of things you can do… Firstly never underestimate how willing people are to support your charity if you ask. Why not approach local celebrities, dignitaries, or people in the limelight you know of who tend to support charities such as yours. You never know, they may well record a testimony for your site, though you’ll probably have to be flexible with your deadlines in order to fit in with them.
Its best if you keep the audio recording to no longer than two minutes long. As with most things on the web, people tend to get distracted fairly quickly so don’t make it much longer than that. It will also help you to secure your interviewee if they know that they don’t have to talk for too long! And try to give the interviewee some guidance as to what you want them to talk about in that time. Structured questions can sometimes work well. You’ll need to record your interview or feature in a digital format compatible with the most common uploading tools. A minidisk recorder (with a reasonably good microphone) will usually suffice, though data tape can be even better. You may need to invest a little in some cheap editing software to cut out the ‘umms…‘ and errs…‘. However many computers (mainly macs) come with such free editing software like Garageband, or Audacity. On a PC the best option is usually Adobe Audition (though this isn’t free). With a very basic level of skill you can cut and edit your celebrity chat/feature and save it as an mp3, a Windows media file or even a Realmedia file. When you’ve mastered the art of spicing up your site with sound clips you could then perhaps move up to basic video clips! Again, with a cheap digital camera and some editing software (once more, Macs come with an inbuilt editing suite that’s very easy to master) you could be uploading your footage to one of the many web 2.0 video sharing sites such as YouTube. Once up there you can embed the clips on your site with a tiny bit of embedded code… Often it’s good to give all three options to allow as many different users with as many different types of computer to access the audio stream. Also people may wish to save the audio for later to listen to on their mp3 players or iPods. Why not give them the chance to save to their hard disc? Once you have
your piece of audio and have uploaded it to your site, best practice is to tell users how long the audio interview will be so that they know how long they need to listen for! When you’ve mastered the art of spicing up your site with sound clips you could then perhaps move up to basic video clips! Again, with a cheap digital camera and some editing software (once more, Macs come with an inbuilt editing suite that’s very easy to master) the clips can be uploaded onto sharing sites such as YouTube and then hosted on your own site with that embedded code. Taking things one step further, Loveearth pins their ‘postcards’ onto an interactive Google map of the world, where celebrities and heroes’ postcards sit alongside those of users, showing the responses they have had right across the globe, and helping to build on the metaphor of the virtual postcard. However if you feel you can’t get an audio interview with a celebrity, don’t fret. Loveearth has gotten round this problem as well by just putting up the text testimonies, as they did for moonwalker, Buzz Aldrin, and presenter, Michaela Strachan. If you can get a celebrity to write testimonies for you, you’re doing just as well! And if you want to take the testimonials one step further there is one more leaf you can take out of the Loveearth book. That is to encourage users to submit their own thoughts about the work that you do. If you are going to show user responses, it is worth highlighting how valuable they are by treating them to the same exposure as celebrities whether you’re putting them on your homepage, a gallery on a map! All feedback and responses help build your community, a sense of participation that will undoubtedly include and encourage both new and existing users.
CHAPTER 7 Wikis
IMAGINE Simon had to have the new strategy paper ready for the Trustees meeting by a week on Tuesday. He could write it himself of course but with the delicate political situation within the organisation he didn’t want to go it alone. He hated the word ‘stakeholders’ but unless the whole organisation felt ownership, the Trustees would never buy it. He looked on the Wiki. His initial page of themes had sprung off in all directions. The fundraiser had linked from his discussion of ‘single parents’ to another page of ideas about marginalised groups and a new EU fund. The schoolteacher they’d worked with last year had edited the page on education correcting a misunderstanding and linking to a Guardian article. Most interestingly, the intern had bounced off one of the campaigns pages and written a thoughtful piece about her own experience. Simon had no idea as to the level of the interns experience and potential. He added a link back to the main report structure page and left a note asking her to have a coffee next time she was in. She really had something to add. When we think of wikis we tend to think of Wikipedia – the collaborative encyclopedia built with the wisdom of crowds. At Wikipedia, anyone can begin a new article or edit an existing one and make it better. There is of course a lot of debate about whether Wikipedia is as accurate and reliable as encyclopedias built by the great and the good from the top-down, but one thing is sure, the Wikipedia is built with passion, enthusiasm and involvement. Everyone who adds to it or makes it better is doing so out of their interest in the issue or subject. They have a stake in the ownership of their encyclopedia. It is those issues of passion, enthusiasm,
involvement and ownership which are at the heart of the wiki way. And it is those that offer great potential for teams and organisations. To install or use a wiki within an organisation is at one level to offer a giant whiteboard where anyone can write documents together, collect together information or just brainstorm and connect ideas. The ability to easily add ‘pages’ and connect them together means not only that lots of material can be amassed, connected and made searchable – a bit like an organisational encyclopedia – but that everyone can get involved. Enabling everyone across an organisation to contribute their knowledge, information and experience means an organisation is making the best use of the information and knowledge that is spread across people’s desks and inside their heads. But wikis offer more than that. Because they are more informal than traditional knowledge management systems, people can feel able to add ideas, notes and thoughts to the mix. Your team has a wealth of experience and ideas as well as codified knowledge. Because creating a wiki page and linking it to others is so easy and informal, people can feel happy to add informal notes or asides to the mix. These may spur others into making connections, adding and bouncing idea round. In effect we have an encyclopedia and brainstorm space in one. As far as use goes in the non-for profit sector there are endless possibilities for wikis. The Wikimedia Foundation, the charitable organisation behind Wikipedia, unsurprisingly heads up the forefront of wiki use themselves, by dedicating a section of their own site to debates and discussions about their own charitable organisation. http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About#The_ Wikimedia_Foundation According to Eric Mattson, social media scholar and
co-author of the study, ‘Blogging for the Hearts of Donors’, focussing on social media usage by the 200 largest charities in the US, not for profit organisations are overtaking businesses in their use of social media, including wikis. These organisations are built up of a passionate core of people who want to hear about what is going on and want to participate. Wikis, whether you use software on your own server (like the free mediawiki software that runs Wikipedia) or on a free host like wikispaces, pbwiki or wetpaint all work on the same principle. Every page has an ‘edit’ button. When you click on it you can change any text and add links either to another or new page on the wiki, or to another website. That’s about it. The most important thing to remember is that wikis are a radical thing for most people, particularly people in organisations. We are not used to being asked to contribute on equal terms, to being given permission to join in and add our thoughts and ideas. We are not used to be told to just get involved, pitch in and help build something. We are not used to having informal thoughts and notes valued alongside polished, finished documents. As such any organisation looking to develop a wikispace needs to look at training and supporting its staff so that they can play a full part and the potential network effects can work their wonders. So, how could an organisation use a wiki? You could develop a wiki as your organisation’s knowledge base, an ever-growing resource that pulls together all of your staff and stakeholders’ wisdom, experience and information. This can be formal information or informal knowledge and stories. In terms of managing, sharing and making the most of information and resources, Mercy Ships, a US
based organisaton [www.mercyships.org] which provides hospitals ships uses a wiki to keep track of its complex logistics and teams. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, wikis were used to bring people, ideas and information together [http://katrinahelp.info]. Others have used wikis as part of planning. A loose collection of civil servants and social media advocates used a wiki to organise a conference [http://barcamp.org/BarcampUKGovweb]. Global Voice Online has used a wiki [http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/wiki/] to bring together information and help it not only plan but also run and follow up the work of its real-world conferences. It is of course possible to widen an information wikispace beyond the walls of an individual organisation. The Sustainable Community Action wiki [http://sca21.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page] acts as a place where people involved in the area, from many different organisations can share information, build knowledge and connections as well providing a rich site for people looking for information about the subject and the people and organisations involved. By opening up the space, information not only flows more effectively but arguably gets turned into knowledge that can form part of initiatives, plans, relationships and action. When information becomes personal and connected to the real world and work, it becomes knowledge that can be used. It becomes powerful. It is the power of wikis to make information work harder and becoming knowledge that offers huge potential for organisations willing to open up and enable their teams and stakeholders and clients become involved. As well as acting as archives or encyclopedias, wikis can help organisations and movements plan. As with the barcamp and Global voices examples
above, wikis can enable the sharing of information prior to events. But they can also be used as a creative thinking space for more general brainstorming. Many corporates including Sony, Nokia and investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein are now using them as a means of team building and also as a way of planning. PROS and CONS pros 1. Limitless space to brainstorm ideas while keeping them all connected and searchable 2. Effectively gives permission for everyone to contribute easily and on equal terms 3. Very effective at cutting out emails and sending documents backwards and forwards 4. Can create organic archive that matches the way people work and think. People create their own links, categories and taxonomies cons 1. Can be difficult to get people involved. As well as training, offer some simple, direct challenges e.g. “can you add a paragraph about X” 2. Can be difficult to manage, particularly if you make it open. You can set membership options and always roll back any changes 3. Can have cultural implications. Once you have opened up the organisation and its thinking, it’s hard to go back. GET STARTED 1. Go to www.wikispaces.com and create a free account 2. Decide what your wiki will be about. Planning an event, producing a report, building a resource 3. Decide whether it will be members only or open. If work is opened out, consider how this will be managed and evaluated. 4. Run a training session with any users explaining
the technology but more importantly, the principles and philosophy 5. Set a timescale and evaluate results. TIPS 1. Be clear about your aim and your timescale. Make sure everyone knows. 2. Get everyone on board from senior managers to stakeholders, clients and friends. Harness the wisdom of crowds. 3. Set up some initial themes or areas so that people aren’t faced with a blank slate 5. Make the wiki part of the work process. Can work be done on the wiki that would normally have been done by email or passing documents around? 6. Incentivise use. Publicise creative use internally and externally 7. Look for some quick wins. Maybe an article in the staff newsletter written on the wiki or a project that’s been easier because it was coordinated on the wiki. 8. Enable people to access the wiki from home. Sometimes creativity doesn’t work 9-5 CASE STUDY Penny Wilson, a playworker and trainer with the Play Association of Tower Hamlets had long thought that playworkers were not sharing their knowledge and experiences not only so they could learn from each other, but also so that stories could be collected together for research and development. She set up a wiki (www.theinternationale.net/playstories) where frontline playworkers could simply add stories from their playgrounds. The wiki made it easy and informal. She found that playworkers did not have to worry about the technology or even how they wrote. They could just leave notes and experiences for others to read, connect with and share. Penny says: “We were looking for a simple and direct way of sharing stories and building an archive. The wiki made it easy, even for playworkers who hate computers.”
CHAPTER 8 Online shopping cart
IMAGINE Erin was getting frustrated; shopping was never her favourite past time and this Christmas in a bid to avoid the crowds she had decided to do her shopping from the comfort of her own study. After seeing a documentary on an Oxford based social enterprise that ran an online arm selling tasty fairtrade goods, Erin was convinced that ethical giving was the way forward, as well as a convenient excuse to avoid the shops! However when Erin logged on and started her shopping she found a newly developed site that would only let her buy one type of product at a time, worse still due to the reassuringly ethical nature of the site it didn’t retain any of Erin’s payment details. As she typed in her credit card details for the third painstaking time, this ethical giving caper suddenly seemed far less appealing. An online shopping cart is a basic function of many websites, from Amazon, to Lastminute.com. It’s been part of the Oxfam toolkit since 2004, but since 2007 there has been a new campaign helping us all to avoid ‘rubbish presents’. A virtual shopping cart enables users to buy products online at the click of a button, with a secure server protecting credit card details. Oxfam have taken this one step further and not only offer their online visitors a chance to buy ethical and inspiring gifts, from a classroom at £1700, to bees at £50 and packs of seeds at £28. Oxfam unwrapped: http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/Browse.aspx?catalog =Unwrapped&category=UWGifts How many times have we received gifts that we don’t really want? Wave farewell to knitted jumpers,
‘collected love songs’ cds and cheap earrings, you know-all those gifts that get put straight in the back of a cupboard to collect dust. Oxfam is taking a stance against ‘rubbish presents’ and leading the way for ethical gifts with their online shopping carts. You too can use the new found ‘good giving’ movement to promote your own products and raise awareness for your campaigns. What do users get out of it? The key to making a shopping cart work is to make products as easy to find as possible. Oxfam enable users to search by theme, such as education, farming, HIV education or by price, which makes this functionality particularly user-friendly along with a ‘like this? try this’ recommendation facility similarly to Amazon. http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/ProductDetails.aspx? catalog=Unwrapped&product=OU2706 Offering easy ways to search means users will find the exact product they want within just a few clicks. Convenience and ease will prompt users to become regular shoppers. How to make it work for your organisation If you’ve ever shopped online, you’ll be familiar with the shopping cart model. On top of this, the recommendation facility is a non-intrusive way of adding on value for your organisation. Shoppers search for a product and then once they’ve found it they get automatic recommendations of other products that might accompany or compliment the original. If your organisation is selling bracelets made in India, why not recommend an accompanying necklace or pair of earrings? Whatever you’ve got to sell, make it easy for people to find more. Additionally, for budget conscious shoppers, Oxfam Unwrapped allows users to search by price bracket – £5 and under, £5-£20, £20£50, £50+. You too can do the same with your products.
Oxfam promote some of their more popular products on their homepage [See fig xxx], therefore enticing potential customers with new gift ideas they may not have actively searched for. This is based on user statistics and back end information, letting you know from information captured on your database, which are the most bought/searched for products. The database also helps generate automatic referrals as ‘meta data’ is entered into it. It is this (invisible to the user) meta data that helps ensure that one product will refer another, encouraging more traffic around your site. The new Oxfam shop uses Microsoft Commerce Server 2007 and was built by a multimedia agency for them who help support it along with an Oxfam internal team. It took a year to build from conception to completion. The icing on the proverbial cake is that Oxfam have also included a wedding list facility within their shopping cart application. Again this was first seen on Amazon, but is a useful application for any shopping site, allowing users to set up a wish list and send it on to their guests and friends. A helping hand It is helpful to users to have fully-fledged FAQ (frequently asked questions) pages – informing users, for example, on how to place an order, when they can expect to receive their products, how to get their products delivered, how they query an order and your returns policy. It is worth ensuring that this page is kept up to date by adding answers to common questions that your current users are asking. Also worth considering is how to divide your products into searchable categories to help users find them more easily. For instance, Oxfam splits their offering into the following categories – Gifts that Grow: which include tools for farming, fertilizer, seeds; Working Wonders: supporting farmers or fisher folk, offering financial advice; Positive
Pressies: such as condoms, HIV counselling and training; Emergency Essentials: including shelter and a feeding pack; Four-legged Friends: if you’re looking for a goat or chicken and School Scene: providing anything from educational materials to school rooms. Ensure that your potential user’s transactions are as smooth and convenient as possible, by grouping your products by type, region, price or whatever is most relevant to your organisation. Essentially, Oxfam’s Unwrapped campaigns is one of the most innovative initiatives the charity sector has seen in a while, as it supplies a real demand at the same time raising money and awareness for the charity. A shopping cart on your site can be put to use in the same way. Oxfam believes that there is an increasing demand for ethical gifts and increasing competition in this market. Whilst an online shopping cart will increase demand and traffic, it will need an initial investment to establish and maintain it. So it’s worth remembering Ebay can often do the job just as well and is free….
CHAPTER 9 Social bookmarking
IMAGINE Sam had just been told the baby had Down’s Syndrome. After the initial shock, Sam had turned to her computer and Googled ‘Down’s Syndrome’ – 1,670,000 results. Where should she begin? The people at the hospital had given her some booklets and the name of the local organisation supporting parents of children with learning difficulties. After 20 minutes getting more confused and overwhelmed, she googled the organisation and went to its site. It wasn’t as flashy as some sites but it had the usual navigation including a page called “Information”. On that page were other links: “Latest medical research”, “Benefits and money” and one that caught Sam’s eye: “Just been told your baby has Down’s?” She clicked on it and found herself on a page that brought together bookmarks, news, videos, photos and blog entries all talking about exactly how she was feeling. There was still lots of information, but it was all obviously chosen by people who understood. At the bottom of the page was a request: “If you find any other useful information online, tag it with “Down’s Syndrome” and “Ambridge Learning Difficulties Alliance”, it’ll end up here for the next parent to find. So, you’ve heard of social networking, now explore social bookmarking, brought direct to your web browser with del.icio.us. What this tasty website offers, is a neat little solution for users to collect their favourite websites all in one place. It allows people to keep favourite articles, blogs, music and reviews, and access them from any computer on the web. They can then be easily shared with friends and family as well as the del.icio.us community. There’s a lot of stuff out there. Words and now pictures, video and audio. Google et al do their best
to help us find it, but at best Google is a clever machine. It can’t judge relevancy only how many people link to a page. It can’t recommend: people do that. We have the information and stories we’ve created and we have the one’s we’ve found. Each of us is an expert on something. How often do you tell someone on the phone that they need to talk to Jo, she’s the expert on that. Jo has a lot of knowledge at her fingertips but not everything, and Jo’s not always there. Social bookmarking enables Jo’s knowledge to work harder. If Jo tags all the pieces she writes for the blog, all the photos she takes and all the videos she’s uploaded to YouTube with the right keywords, they’ll all be linked together and people will be able to find them. If she tags all the bookmarks with the same tag, that brings them together too. Take our imaginary example. Ambridge Learning Difficulties Alliance adds the keywords “down’s syndrome”, “learning disabilities”, “learning difficulties” and “Ambridge Learning Difficulties Alliance” to all the postings on its blog. It asks any of its members who post content online to do the same. It also uses the tag “mental handicap”. Now it knows that this term is no longer acceptable but it also knows that a lot of people (maybe new parents) still use the term and may search for it. The Alliance goes further though. It tags content others have created. It uses http://del.icio.us to tag its bookmarks. Rather than having all the bookmarks (the web addresses the Alliance uses most frequently) on the office computer’s browser, they are saved on the del.icio.us site so they can be accessed from anywhere and they are all tagged. Like social networking sites Flickr and YouTube, del.icio.us also allows you to tag the sites that you bookmark, making it much more flexible than your favourites folder on your computer. The tags also mean that you can search the site for links that other people have saved using the same tags – it all
helps build up an organic community. So now all the good information and personally recommended content that Jo and her colleagues have amassed over years in the area is tagged. Anyone around the world using tag search engines like www.technorati.com or www.blogpulse.com find that information. Anyone searching on del.icio.us finds the bookmarks around Down’s Syndrome recommended by Ambridge Learning Difficulties Alliance as well as those recommended by others who really know the subject. The final step in the puzzle is to bring all that information together. You could just provide links to the relevant search engines and del.icio.us or you could pull all that quality content into your own site. A site like www.pageflakes.com allows you to set up a single page (that you could link to from your site), which automatically pulls in the latest content with your tags on. You could have a pageflakes page for the organisation’s tag that pulls in the latest news – from the mainstream media as well as so-called ‘citizen’s media. You could have one that pulls in everything that is tagged with “Down’s Syndrome medical research”. Each page would have blog stories, photos, videos, bookmarks, news... none of which would be hosted on your site so there are no storage or bandwidth problems. You, your organisation and your partners become human filters for the best information. You become an authority. But the real power comes when that authority is shared. To continue our example, there are other Jo’s around the world. If they agree on a common set of tags the information can work harder. Sam can get the expertise of a worldwide collection of experts and Jo can possibly find things that she would never have come across as well as sharing her own finds with similar hard-pressed professionals.
And one other thing, using tags and ‘social bookmarking’ services helps you work more effectively. You no longer have to worry about filing something in just one place. That bookmarked site may have useful information about medical research but also about benefits. You don’t have to decide which ‘folder’ to put it in. Give it two tags: ‘medical research’ and ‘benefits’ and it’s filed under both. It’s not only your clients who can find things, you can too. By tagging information you make it more findable and usable. Bear in mind that del.icio.us is not the only site of its kind. Digg is equally popular and their social bookmarking sites include; Blue Dot, BookmarkSync, Furl, GiveALink.org, My Web, Newsvine and Reddit. PROS and CONS pros: 1. Free. 2. Makes information manageable. 3. More people can find your information. 4. Makes it portable. You can access your bookmarks and even your database from anywhere. 5. Connects your information and you to other experts. cons: 1. Can be difficult to agree on tags. You may have to focus on what people would search for rather than what you would like them to search for. 2. You can’t stop people tagging content, even stuff you don’t want associated with your brand or issue. 3. Bookmarks can go out of date. GET STARTED 1. Agree on set of tags relevant to your organisation and issue. Look online for what others in your area use and match that so you’re connected.
2. Tell everyone across your organisation (and friends outside) to add tags to their blog postings, Flickr photos, YouTube videos etc. 3. Set up an account at http://del.icio.us and import and tag your bookmarks. You can specify which bookmarks are public and which private. 4. Place link on your site to your del.icio.us page. 5. Create page at www.pageflakes.com. 6. Search at www.technorati.com for your tags and right click on the ‘subscribe’ link. Copy link and add the ‘RSS feed’ to your pageflakes page. 7. Add the RSS feeds for the searches, your del.icio.us bookmarks and any other tagged content to your information page. 8. Link to it from your site. TIPS 1. Encourage visitors to your site to add your pages to their del.icio.us and other bookmarking services. You can put a ‘widget’ on your page that allows users to bookmark the story. 2. Publicise your tags. The more people that know them, the more content will be tagged. 3. Use a site like www.bloglines.com to subscribe to tag searches so that you can see what other people are tagging. 4. Make sure everyone in the organisation is doing it. If someone is still guarding their own filing cabinet or bookmarks, you and your clients are missing out. 5. When you’re tagging, try and be specific i.e. not just ‘environment’ but ‘canal, environment, Newcastle’. CASE STUDY There are a lot of techies and geeks helping charities, organisations, or ‘non-profits’ as Americans say, make use of ICT. There is a lot of expertise and ideas around. The problem has been that that information has been on countless different websites and people’s blogs and in their bookmarks etc.
Back in December 2004, a new tag began to appear on del.icio.us: ‘nptech’. It’s difficult to know who started it but it soon took off and the community began to add it to their bookmarks, their blog entries etc. It wasn’t the only tag they used – they used other relevant ones such as ‘content management systems’ or ‘open source’ but all of the content they had around ICT for ‘non profits’ was pulled together by the tag. The tag spread beyond del.icio.us to include PowerPoint slides upload to SlideShare, blog postings, videos... in fact all manner of useful content, pulling the community of like-minded people together. Chris Blow, an activist in the area says: “I think that the development of this tag is arguably the single largest reason for the current (thriving I think) state of what is commonly called the ‘nptech community’.” The specially developed tag has now spawned other np tags including: npblog, npflickr, npsl (nonprofit second life), nptag (nonprofit tagging), npyoutube and others helping the geeks and the organisations they help find the best content.
CHAPTER 10 Online video
IMAGINE Ray had just picked up a text message from Chris on the march. He’d got some film of the group outside Parliament and emailed it to YouTube, should be on the site in a few minutes. If he could he’d get the speeches later too. Greg checked the YouTube page. The site was still formatting the mobile phone video for the site. While he was waiting he saw that Susan in the US had posted a new update to her story about caring for her Dad. While Ray was waiting he copied the embed code from the page and pasted it onto the organisation’s video page. When he refreshed the box appeared and the new ‘episode’ of “Young carers: the American experience” began to play. After watching it and leaving Susan a comment, he found that Chris’ video was ready to embed too. Ray turned back to his own site and clicked through to the “Live March” page. If a few years ago a request for a photo library on your site would have turned your IT person (if you had one) puce. To broach the idea of using online video would have had them on the floor gasping for air. Even if you could find someone to shoot the stuff there were issues of different formats, storage capacity, bandwidth... No, video was for the big boys. Not anymore. The growth in cheap video cameras, particularly mobile phone cameras, the availability of free videoediting software and in particular the explosion in sites that allow you to store, share and then embed your videos on other sites, has meant we can all make films. Running alongside this technological shift has been an equally important cultural shift: we’re now not frightened of the idea of making films.
As we browse through YouTube videos, we’re reassured that we can do that too. Videos don’t have to be perfect to be powerful. They don’t have to be about big things: simple often works best. They don’t have to be long: short windows into a world can make all the difference. It’s almost as if we’ve all been given permission. Video gives your organisation a chance to reach a broad international market, through a YouTube page. Take a leaf out of Pudsey’s book and encourage people to upload their own videos of fundraising activities. The BBC’s 2007 Children in Need took cyberspace by storm this year and raised even more money than ever. http://www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey/cinnews/news/2007/ 10/26/50236.shtml As with all the Live Web media of course, the real power comes in how that story connects to other stories and therefore connects people. YouTube and its competitor sites is not just a gallery or storage space, it’s a place where people leave comments, add videos to their ‘favourites’ lists and use tags to connect videos, stories and issues together. When I upload a video from my computer or direct from my phone, give it a title, description and some tags, I am adding it to a global video conversation about ‘carers’ or ‘the environment’ or whatever. My video will appear alongside others that are similar. People will find it and leave comments. I will find other films and filmmakers who are as passionate and knowledgeable about the issues as I am. When I take the piece of code that YouTube gives me that enables me to ‘embed’ that video on my site, it does more than save bandwidth. Sure, that code means the video plays on my page in a box. As far as the viewer’s concerned, it’s on my site. I don’t pay to stream it or store it but it looks like it’s mine. What is more important is that because it
remains on YouTube where there are millions of visitors rather than on my site where there are perhaps hundreds, it has a bigger reach. People find it on YouTube, find my issue and then my site and then... me. YouTube and video sharing is yet another tool to help your organisation spread the word, increase awareness or raise funds. You can upload your video straight to the site, tag it appropriately and users will engage with your organisation. Video offers a powerful way of telling direct stories. Even just a ‘talking head’ can engage a reader with the story and so the issue in a way that is more difficult in other media. The fact that so many supporters and stakeholders have access to videostorytelling equipment means that it is possible to get many different perspectives and ideas buzzing around your cause or issue. You do not need to hire a professional camera crew to make THE single film. You can ask lots of people – particularly young people – to make films about your community, the parkland that’s under threat, their playground or their homes. They can upload them to YouTube and as long as they include your tag, you can pull them all together. As with all this open source content idea, what a visitor sees is a vibrant and passionate community telling stories, raising awareness and potentially money. Your organisation just brings it all together and helps it happen. It is tempting with video to think that once the film or films have been made, that’s it. People watch them and that’s the end. On the Live Web stories are always beginnings. It is important to remember that viewers of your – or your supporters’ – videos will leave comments. They are active and see your film as the start of a conversation. You need to think about how you will respond and make use of those relationships you have set in motion. Even just a simple ‘thank you’ acknowledgment will do. It will keep the relationship open and who knows, that commenter may end up being one of you best fundraisers or campaigners.
A word of warning; Always make sure you thoroughly check the video content regularly to ensure that there is no self promotion, advertising or material that can offend. It might even be worth specifying this in the guidelines for uploading video. Morwenna Gordon, producer of the Children in Need site 2007, has some advice in particular; “If your charity has a very specific peak (such as a one off event) you need to think about what that means for the interactive activity around this event in the days and months preceding it” For instance, if you are asking users to submit examples of what they are doing for one event in particular on a particular day, remember that these videos won’t actually be available until AFTER the event itself, so you’ll need to put up other previous examples of fundraising, or people explaining online what they will do… You will also need to watch out for rights that aren’t cleared. For example music over 2 minutes will need specific copyright unless it is original. Morwenna also pointed out the need for clear instructions online – ideally an extremely clear video telling users exactly what to do and how to participate. PROS and CONS pros 1. Cheap and easy. 2. Very powerful and direct. 3. Very sexy and popular at the moment. 4. Mobile. You can shoot and ‘report’ from anywhere. cons 1. Difficult to upload longer videos to YouTube etc without broadband connection. 2. People you interview can be intimidated by idea of video. 3. Can be difficult to keep it short and simple. Try telling your subjects: “You have 30 seconds. Tell us about your experience”. 4. As you (and your friends) shoot more, may have
to think about way of archiving all the links on your site and thinking how to guide your visitor through all the stories. GET STARTED 1. Get your phone out and if it has a video camera point it at your colleague and ask them to say what your organisation is and to tell a story about why it’s important. Keep it under a minute. 2. Go to YouTube and create an account. Think of a name that is relevant to your organisation and issue. 3. Upload the film. YouTube will give you an address that you can send your video to from your phone (via email or MMS message). 4. If you have a video camera, try and shoot something a little longer or more complicated. Use free software like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to edit the film. 5. Contact your local media studies teacher to see if any young people want to become part of your film making community. 6. Make a clear call to action to view and submit videos on your own website to ensure your video contributors are on the right track, just as Children in Need has done. This is a link that can take you through to the guidelines for submitting videos. CiN have done this with a large promo box clearly marked ‘Fundraising – submit your own videos’. [See image 1.] Not all of your audience may be familiar with uploading videos, so you might want to give them guidelines on how to do it. You can set up a page with clear bulleted instructions on how to submit their videos to YouTube. 7. Think of tags you want everyone to use on their films. Publicise the new film making community. TIPS 1. Keep it simple. Tell stories and go for the details that people remember. 2. Don’t get too hung up on quality. Go for the passion!
3. Remember that videos have sound. Use it to add to the atmosphere and story. You can always add soundtracks later. 4. Encourage others to add to the film show. 5. Favourite other relevant videos on your page. 6. Offer guidelines on length, format etc. CASE STUDY The International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH) has a website which provides supporters and potential supporters with a range of information (http://www.ilph.org/). It also has a YouTube channel (http://www.YouTube.com/user/horsecharity) where it posts videos it has shot. These range from the CEO explaining what the organisation does, to events and reports on horse rescues. Visitors to the YouTube can subscribe to the channel, rate and leave comments on the videos as well as add them to their own favourites. The channel has attracted a number of ‘subscribers’ and ‘friends’ who are now connected to the organisation and its work. The channel also pulls in other relevant videos so linking it to the broader animal welfare and indeed horse communities. As part of its work, the organisation rehabilitates horses and then loans them to good homes. Many of the people who go on to care for the horses add their own videos of how the horse is progressing. Phil Spiby, Head of Communications says: “It helps people feel part of a club. It gives them a sense of belonging. It’s been a fantastic thing to get feedback.”
CHAPTER 11 Legacy donations online
IMAGINE: It was a sombre day at the Funeral; the deceased, a passionate and committed women’s rights campaigner, would be dearly missed. Mike couldn’t help but smile when he heard the words read on behalf of the deceased by her brother, that she ‘didn’t want flowers or any of that nonsense’ but rather for her friends and loved ones to make a donation to the women’s refugee group to whom she had willed her estate. Her family handed out the usual memoriam cards; only these ones had the refugee group’s url included. Mike promised himself he would log on and donate when he got home. Legacy donations are nothing new, but what about using digital media platforms to help your organisation attract posthumous donations? The World Wildlife Fund uses its website to encourage people to leave money via their will. By promoting this service online, a frequent visitor who may not have previously considered it, may be prompted to include the charity in their will. This can have a substantial affect on future funding. https://secure.wwf.org.uk/core/takeaction/legacy00 00003872.asp The WWF site, points out “leaving a gift to a favoured charity in your will not only helps a good cause but also normally reduces your inheritance tax liability, because any gifts to charities are deducted from the value of your estate prior to taxation”. It seems that legacy donations form a substantial part of what the WWF receives, funding roughly one fifth of the projects that the familiar panda logo-ed organisation completes.
The organisation goes on to offer advice on how to prepare or amend a will – you just need to fill out a form for them to send you a booklet either by post or by email and WWF make it even easier by offering supporters a will-writing service. They also provide info on how to leave a willed gift. These gifts are normally split into three categories G Residual gifts – the residue of your estate; G Partial residuary gifts – a percentage of your estate; G Pecuniary gifts – specifying a particular sum. In return for nominating WWF as legal beneficiaries donors get a tree dedicated in their name, along with the knowledge they are helping to tackle climate change, protect endangered habitats and safeguard the future of animals on the verge of extinction. As a smaller charity you might not be able to offer a tree naming service, but you can certainly publish people’s names in your newsletter or on your website as and when contributors tell you about their legacy donations. One nice feature on the WWF site is the legacy donor interviews. People, who have already named the organisation as a beneficiary, explain their choice and motivations. Its a friendly and informal touch and lets users experience, in a first person sense, why others have nominated the charity as a worthy cause to include in their wills. Similarly your donors would be happy to tell their stories to improve your organisation’s legacy campaigns, to personalise what can be a fairly anonymous procedure and make that daunting decision seem easier. Crucially, however, what WWF does to support both the web pages and the pamphlet is provide a contact – a ‘planned giving adviser’ whose contact details are on the page. Legacy giving is a sensitive subject and not to be taken lightly, so more than
ever in this case, the personal touch is important. Consider how your organisation can tackle the issue, determining the resources required. Sally Burrows, Head of Legacy Management at WWF points out how valuable it is to make sure that you are responding to people’s questions regarding donations from their will. She points out that several years ago she attended a seminar run by a Direct Marketing agency, where the Managing Director had sent request to 50 odd charities for will guides and monitored the response. Whilst some got back to him within a week, others took up to two weeks, others up to a month and some didn’t even bother to respond at all! Sally goes on to emphasise that in order to include your organisation in their will, potential legacy donors need to have complete trust and faith in your charity, and efficiency plays a large part in that. It is therefore important to have a fast and considered response. Her top tip would be to set up a dedicated response team to make sure that you can build a relationship with people just at the time they are beginning to think about writing their wills. Legacy income is just as, if not even more, important than other methods of fundraising so it should be prioritised accordingly. However she does point out that their response team is not trained to give legal advice. The team will respond to basic questions about how the money will be divided, whether it is a registered charity, will send out packs, and answer general questions on a day to day basis but as they do not have indemnity insurance they are not in the business of giving people either financial or legal advice. The team help out with the admin, but will direct potential legacy donor towards legal counsel when it comes to actually changing their will. When going about the tricky task of acquiring
legacy donations online, your target audience is a key consideration. Whilst we may have all heard about the increase in the silver surfers, what is in fact more of a reality is that there are more 30 and 40 year olds surfing the web. These may not be the obvious target market; however they will probably be seeking information, if not for their own wills, possibly for their parents wills. The World Wild Life Fund is not the only organisation that offers the chance to donate through your will. Acorns, a children’s hospice trust based in the West Midlands received £1,171,000 from willed donations in just one year. Like the World Wildlife Fund, Acorns offer a downloadable pamphlet giving advice on how to prepare a will, which is clearly signposted from their navigation. In terms of setting this facility up for donations, one of the key considerations is to sensitively convey the message along a number of channels (online and offline) and ensure that there is appropriate information on the website, focussing on the charitable cause and the “legacy” the supporter will contribute to the cause. Whilst offering appropriate and easily accessible information on how to include the charity in the will. The WWF is also currently looking at adding a ‘pledge’ button to their site. This will mean that users will testify to leaving a certain donation from their will, however whether they carry this through will of course have to be seen at a later date... One of the key issues to bear in mind when seeking to increase your legacy donations is that you are broaching perhaps two of the most taboo areas in the British psyche – money and death. It is certainly worth raising awareness of how to contribute on your website, giving examples of other users who
have pledged donations in their will and getting testimonies where possible, however you will have to deal with this subject with a lot of sensitivity. Ensure that there is a well resourced support function for potential legacy givers and above all – be patient, a strong legacy donor base will take time to establish.
CHAPTER 12 Twitter and mobile communications
IMAGINE The vicar had just phoned. He was going to have to ask them to move the meeting, something about a leak in the hall, would Su be able to move the meeting to the old building down the road. Su knew there was no choice but she had to contact the organising committee, the speakers and the 6 groups who were coming... oh and the local journalist who’d promised to cover the event. She picked up her mobile. She typed: “Save Our Hospital meet moved. Now Old church hall, High Street. Pass the word.” She sent the single message. Within minutes Su’s phoned buzzed. A message from the MP’s secretary. Another from George who was organising the catering. A third from someone in Ireland who was involved in the campaign there, just wishing her luck. A little later she sent another message asking whether the group thought they should lay on some wine. Within a minute, Jo replied from Sainsbury’s he’d pick up a few bottles. Su looked at her watch and thought she’d better phone the journalist. He hadn’t got the hang of Twitter yet. Better just check. There are currently 1.244 billion internet users worldwide, on about a billion PCs. There are 3 billion mobile phones in use. In the UK, 63.8%of the population are Internet users while 79% have mobile phones. The mobile phone is the most widespread and potentially powerful IT tool we have and it crosses the age, class and gender lines. Kids obviously have them, but so do Grannies. Of course it’s possible to make sure your website is mobile-ready so that people can access your site via the new generation of mobile phones. An easy way
to set up a mobile-version of your site is to use a service like www.winksite.com. Winksite allows you to easily create a site that people can see on their small screen. You can create a very simple site with contact details and a page or two that explains what you do but Winksite offers lots of scope to add news (that can be pulled in from your main site) and even chat rooms and forums, all for free. As phones become more sophisticated and people expect to be able to get their news and information on their phone, it will become more important that organisations can be easily reached wherever and whenever people want. Mobile sites are one thing but there are potentially more powerful ways of using the network people carry in their pocket, ways that reach way beyond the early adopters who want to surf the web in the palm of their hand. Twitter is a site that brings together ‘micro-blogging’ and ‘messaging’. At its most basic you can use Twitter as a way to create a mobile micro blog. When you sign up for a free account at www.twitter.com you are given a UK phone number. Any text message you send to that number will appear on your Twitter page. Even if Twitter only did this, it would be good. It means anyone can set up a blog really easily and update it from anywhere, anytime. The runners you have in the London Marathon could micro-blog as they’re going round: “London bridge and it’s starting to hurt. Still, 3 grand on its way to the hospice”. The kids you are working with on an estate could tell stories of their communities and play in short stories (under 140 characters): “10 o’clock. The playground gate’s locked. Back to the carpark I guess.” But Twitter does more. Other Twitter users can choose to ‘follow’ you. When you post something, the message or story gets sent to their mobile phone as a text message. If you have 20 followers, it goes to everyone. You only pay for the one text
message you sent to the site. This is obviously a great (and cheap) way of keeping people up-todate. But it’s also a way of asking for information from your network: “About to go into meeting. Anyone got any new facts we can present?” It’s also a way of sharing ideas or asking questions: “Can you ask around and see if people like the idea of joining forces.” Essentially Twitter takes the power of networks and conversations mobile. Using it with your own group or existing network is one thing but Twitter is worldwide. You could expand your followers (or the people you follow) to include others in your area. Maybe they’ll have information about the latest developments or a fresh perspective. Maybe they’ll have some ideas. Maybe they’ll just be able to offer support. A key thing about Twitter and similar services such as www.tumblr.com and www.jaiku.com is that because they are based on mobile phones, the learning curve is really easy. Users don’t need to have computers or even know about the internet. They don’t have to worry about the protocols or technologies that are behind it. All they need to know is that the Twitter entry in their address book sends a message to everyone in the organisation and that the message they receive has similarly gone around everyone. PROS and CONS pros: 1. Free. 2. Easy to set up and use. Perfect for the computer-phobic! 3. Simple and direct idea. Can use it for simple controlled things like information delivery or free idea sharing and brainstorming. 4. Accessible anywhere and anytime.
cons: 1. Can be difficult to stop being verbose and telling stories in 140 characters (can be seen as a positive thing!). 2. Can be difficult to integrate into your site. There are ways of embedding your ‘Tweets’ but they might need a bit of contextualizing. 3. Can be overwhelming in terms of responses. You can set Twitter to notify your phone or just your Twitter page when those you are following say something. 4. If you are part of a worldwide network, their Tweets might arrive in the middle of the night! You can set Twitter to only notify you at set times. GET STARTED 1. Go to www.twitter.com and set up a free account. 2. Give your Twitter stream a name that’s relevant and attractive. 3. Put a link on your existing site to your new Twitter stream and encourage people to “follow “ you. Twitter will help you send an email to people encouraging them to sign up. 4. Do a short and simple training session at your next meeting to show colleagues and supporters how easy it is. 5. As well as general small story-telling, try to plan using Twitter to help with specific event e.g. conference or lobby. 5. When you have some followers, look at who they are following and see if it might be worth introducing yourself. TIPS 1. As well as using Twitter to get and share information, use it to tell short stories. 2. Twitter in the moment. Tell that story of the family you met as soon as you leave them, when the picture’s still in your mind. 3. Use Twitter to alert people to things you find
online. Include the address 4. Twitter questions as well as answers. Make use of your network. 5. Be creative. See the 140 character limit as a creative challenge not a shortcoming. CASE STUDY YoMo provides practical training for schools, youth & community groups in young peoples participation [http://www.yomo.co.uk/]. It used Twitter at a recent conference to enable attendees to play a full part. Tim Davies set up a conference Twitter page and asked people attending the conference to “follow” the new account. Conference organisers were able to send messages to all attendees throughout the event and in turn they could Twitter their own contributions, which would be added to the conference page, which was projected in the main room, and on tickers running along the top of each PowerPoint presentation being given. The young people attending the conference took up the offer immediately and even the adult participants used it. Tim believes it added an interactive element to gaining feedback and could be used more to help create networks, particularly of young people. “It cost us nothing to set up. And it provided some really insightful gut-reaction instant feedback throughout the event,” Tim says.
CHAPTER 13 About Media Trust and Capacitybuilders
Media Trust works in partnership with the media industry to build effective voluntary and community sector communications. Our aims G resource the communications needs of the voluntary and community sector G harness media and communications industry support G engage the public in the voluntary and community sector G strengthen the impact, reach and effectiveness of our work Our vision We want Media Trust to be at the heart of the media and communications industry, inspiring and enabling the media to reflect, debate and support the goals, achievements and voices of the voluntary and community sector. We aim to bring added value and new opportunities to both sectors and stakeholders in the public and corporate sectors. We want to create a society where the: G voluntary and community sector is widely visible and celebrated for what it achieves – community engagement, volunteering, charitable giving and take-up of voluntary sector services G public can easily access the voluntary and community sector G voluntary sector staff and volunteers can access the resources, skills and contacts to communicate effectively with target audiences via a wide range of media and communications
Our corporate members Media Trust corporate members include: BBC, BSkyB, Channel 4, Daily Mail and General Trust, Discovery Networks Europe, Disney Channel UK, Emap plc, Guardian Media Group, ITV, MTV Networks UK and Ireland, News International, Newsquest Media Group, OMD, Time Warner and WPP Group. Capacitybuilders works in partnership with government and other infrastructure bodies to help voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) work more effectively. Their overall aim is to help create a more effective third sector, so that every third sector organisation is able to access high quality support that meets their needs, when they need it. By improving support, this will strengthen the sector, increasing its ability to create a better quality of life for individuals and communities.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Unless otherwise specified all definitions are from Wikipedia ICT: Acronym referring to Information Communications Technology Web 2.0: a trend in World Wide Web technology, and web design, a second generation of web-based communities and hosted services such as social-networking sites, wikis and blogs which aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration, and sharing among users. Also known as the live web New media: new media relies on digital technologies, allowing for previously separate media to converge. Media convergence is defined as a phenomenon of digital media. Social networking sites: social network services uses software to build online social networks for communities of people who share interests and activities or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most services are primarily web based and provide a collection of various ways for users to interact, such as chat, messaging, email, video, voice chat, file sharing, blogging, discussion groups, and so on. Well known social networking sites include Facebook, MySpace and Bebo. Blog: (web log) is a website where entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. Forum: an internet forum is a web application for holding discussions and posting user generated content. Internet forums are also commonly referred to as Web forums, message boards, discussion boards, (electronic) discussion groups,
discussion forums, bulletin boards, fora (the Latin plural) or simply forums. The terms “forum” and “board” may refer to the entire community or to a specific sub-forum dealing with a distinct topic. Messages within these sub-forums are then displayed either in chronological order or as threaded discussions Flickr: a photo sharing website and web services suite, and an online community platform. It was one of the earliest Web 2.0 applications. In addition to being a popular Web site for users to share personal photographs, the service is widely used by bloggers as a photo repository. Its popularity has been fuelled by its innovative online community tools, allowing photos to be archived, tagged and searched. Wiki: is software that allows users to easily create, edit, and link pages together. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. Online shopping cart: software used in e-commerce to assist people making purchases online, analogous to the American English term ‘shopping cart’. In British English it is generally known as a shopping basket, almost exclusively shortened on websites to ‘basket’. The software allows online shopping customers to place items in the cart. Upon checkout, the software typically calculates a total for the order, including shipping and handling (i.e. postage and packing) charges and the associated taxes, as applicable. Social bookmarking: a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata. In a social bookmarking system, users save links to web pages that they want to remember and/or share. These bookmarks are usually public, and can be saved privately, shared only with specified people or groups, shared only inside certain networks, or another combination of public and private domains. The allowed people can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine e.g. Del.icio.us, Digg or Reddit. Twitter: a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send “updates” (or “tweets”; text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) to the Twitter website, via short message service, instant messaging, or a third-party application such as Twitterrific. www.twitter.com
Media Trust would like to thank the following people for their contributions to this guide. Firstly, a big thank you to all the charities and voluntary organisations who shared their success stories with us. To the writers Paul Caplan is a digital coach, or a digital charabanc as he prefers it. He runs the Internationale which works with Government and the third sector to look at ways of using the new Live Web of social media and the power of conversations. Paul has been a photographer and journalist for 20 years or so and has taught in schools, colleges and universities. You can find out more about him and the digital charabanc at ‘content to be different’ his Blog at www.theinternationale.org Susie Goldring has over 14 years experience in media both on and offline. For the last 8 years Susie has worked at the BBC focussing on arts, music and one of the corporation’s biggest education campaigns. To the Copyeditor Rebecca Heffernan is a Producer and Researcher for Media Trust. She doesn’t like the term new media because the differentiation between ‘traditional’ and ‘digital’ media is increasingly irrelevant. Rebecca wishes she was a digital native, but she is probably a bit too old for that to be honest.
To the Photographers Adrian Lowrie is a London based photographer who graduated with a First-Class Distinction from Newcastle College’s Foundation Degree in Photography in 2007. One of 20 emerging national photography talents to be awarded a prestigious Nikon Discovery Award in London in November 2007, Adrian continues to work on commercial commissions and personal projects. Janine Reilly currently works as a web producer but has been involved with various multimedia, elearning and web projects for over 10 years. She has worked in a variety of editorial, content management and producer roles working for, or with, a mixture of Broadcasting, not-for-profit and digital media companies including the DFes, NCALT, BDP Media and the BBC. Thank you to Capacitybuilders and ICT Hub for their support. Finally, thank you to Jo Inskip at Media Trust for overseeing production of this guide.
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