How do you say "Peace Out" in Italian?

I'm "out of blogosphere" until September 5. My hard-earned vacation will be spent in Italy, and I'll be much too busy eating, sleeping and sipping wine in vineyards and on the med coast to blog. However, I do my best thinkin' about social media when away from a computer, so there should be plenty of pent up pondering ready to pour out once I'm back.

In the meantime, check out the blogs on my blog roll ("Shameless Evangelizing") for some of the best this arena has to offer.

Italian Countryside or Bust: Sicily, Cinque Terre, Almafi Coast, Capri . . . also swinging through the big cities (Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples).

  • The significant other (and fellow social media whore)
  • The BFF since childhood
  • The BFF's significant other
No really, be jealous ;o)

Photo of 5 Terre's Vernazza courtesy of h2okatcher via Flickr


Fellowship of the Blues

"You're the strangest person I ever met, she said & I said you too & we decided we'd know each other a long time."
My dear friend Jocelyn Harmon is blogging (and I will refrain from making jokes about hell freezing over because really, it was just a matter of time).

Jocelyn and I like to teach each other things about life, love, marketing/communications, and the screwed up nonprofit economy. She tells me nice things about smart people she loves, is an avid reader, shares a strong affinity for the Story People and for some reason thinks I am wise beyond my years. (LOVE HER). She also says I am the one who inspired her to start blogging. I am thrilled that she's in the game!

Jocelyn's the Director of Marketing and Development at NPower-DC, and her new online dwelling is aptly called "Nonprofit Technology Blog." Beyond being incredibly insightful and forthcoming, Joc is funny, articulate, brave and a fellow BLUE ("relational communicator"). Here's to your bright blogging future, peanut!


Death by Meetings

Exhibit A: screenshot of my August work calendar

Evidence which - in my experience - makes an important link about something that PR agencies and nonprofits have in common. Dave Barry puts it well:

"Meetings are an addictive, highly self-indulgent activity that corporations and other large organizations habitually engage in only because they cannot actually masturbate."

But they're also what make vacations really swell.


Foray into Facebook

After doing enough research on Facebook, I finally acquiesced yesterday and joined the second largest social network in the world. I'm a latecomer to MySpace, too, having plugged in back in March (ish).

The reluctance to join in stems from my skepticism about the big free-for-all that comes with "putting yourself out there." Having a blog is enough exposure for this introvert! But I'm into some smaller social networks. And in the end, things are what you make of them: MySpace has not been the burden I once thought it would be simply because I don't take it very seriously. No offense to those who are uber engaged, of course.

So I set up a Facebook account but haven't created a profile. It's unfortunate that, after signing up, I inadvertently invited every email contact I've made since 1999 to friend me. It was a complete accident: Facebook makes it way too easy and the wording is misleading. There are a few people who will inevitably question the invite when they receive it, based on years of estrangement or the rare (I mean RARE) falling out. But alas, all are welcome. I'm already getting some confirmations from people, and it's nice "hearing from" folks I haven't connected with in a while. Not to mention validating that they remember who I am!

If I had my druthers, I would have been much more sneaky about my entrance into the Facebook frontier, selectively and strategically seeking out those friends with whom I really want to engage. As it happens, that ain't what this party is about.

So, a toast! To being naked and vulnerable to old friendships and semi-strangers! May they find me an asset to their Facebook network even though I am currently without profile.

And may all of us be willing to dive in to the unknown, whether through joining a social network, commenting on blogs (or blogging), or trying the "crab" at Cafe Asia. (It was not crab.)


Social media is a slow motion water balloon to the face

. . . But my job ("buffer" or "bouncer" comes to mind) is to keep it from feeling that way.

Thanks to Jeff (aka Cap) for forwarding this.


Farewell Omidyar.net - Bienvenido Razoo!

Thomas Kriese :: Omidyar Network

In response to the question: "Why do you do what you do?"

"I understand that I do what I do for my daughters, so that the bubble of love I raise them in won't stop at my front door, nor at the corner, nor at the end of the pavement. I do it so that this world will be a better place for them."

In the summer of 2004, Thomas Kriese spoke at American University's Institute for Strategic Communications (which was held in tandem with that year's Silver Docs festival) about Omidyar.net - the social network buoyed by Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay. I fell in love. First with Thomas, who is this cute west coaster who was a geek like me and loves his daughters. Secondly with his network. Omidyar.net has been a pioneering community for do-gooders to connect with people who care about similar issues and, ultimately, vie for funding from Omidyar Foundation. The complex but super-ahead-of-its-time platform gave users points to distribute to one another based on quality and number of comments, and to a first-timer would seem intimidating. I was lucky enough to be at Thomas' presentation, and having a first-hand demo of the platform lead to a little fanaticism on my part. Hence the photo of Thomas (above) sitting 3 feet from my face to the right of my monitor at work.

While I've been little more than a "lurker" on Omidyar.net, as opposed to the more active participants, I am no less saddened by its dissolution than the some 20,000 members who have recently come to learn, via this message from Thomas in July, that Omidyar.net is, in essence, dissolving. They're smart cookies: the experiment affirmed the power of ugc (user generated content) and now, with the proliferation of other cause-oriented social networks, they are sending their advocates out to be productive on other platforms. It's the end of an era, and Social Signal summarizes the flagstone moment well.

But when one fly dies, 10 come to the funeral, right? Not that Omidyar.net is comparable to an annoying insect. The point is that there really is a wealth of new blood in the veins pumping the now seemingly plentiful cause-oriented online space.

For example, after recognizing similar inroads and missions, Zaadz - a community for the socially conscious - is joining forces with other communities for the socially conscious (Lime, Conscious Enlightenment and Gaiam), as Omidyar followers have been quick to point out given that their ship is . . . well, I disagree that sinking is the appropriate term, but you know what I'm saying.

Maybe it's a stretch to say that those communities are socially conscious - while a few of them are focused on green living, there's a heavy emphasis on personal well-being which is cool but doesn't totally fill Omidyar's void.

I'd venture that microcosms such as Social Edge, Care2, Idealist and Razoo will keep the Omidyar-ers engaged long after the network shuts down camp for good on December 31.

Social Edge, beholden to the super hip and innovative Skoll Foundation, focuses on all aspects of social entrepreneurship and lets the grooviest of the thought leaders in the field stake their claims and step up to the mic on Social Edge blogs, message boards and feature articles.

Care2, the body of almost 8 million bleeding hearts (nonprofit and corporate pros alike) is an extravagant - yet devoutly generous - hub for people who want to stay connected around similar causes or issues. They hold great happy hours with mariachi bands, but beyond that, provide tools to create and distribute issue-specific ecards and petitions. And holla! - they give you your own email account, profile and Care2 toolbar (like the Google toolbar people!) to stay as connected as possible to the network. I love people like Justin Perkins who do the work for me.

Idealist.org aka Action Without Borders is a rockstar for social causes. They renovated their site earlier this year (I blogged about this months ago) and have created a fantastic web2.0-esque zone to champion any and every mission. They're best known for nonprofit employment searches (yes, you can find your dream 'give back' job there), but they also have a solid base of members who are promoting their campaigns and talking about what's hot, whack and actionable across various groups. I'm pissed that I can't join now that I no longer work at a nonprofit, but how's that for INTEGRITY? Good for them.

Might I also add that Idealist can be read three ways: "Idealist," "Idea List" or "Ideal-ist," which harkens to the nature of the name of this blog: "Evange - List" (or "Evangelist").

FINALLY, Razoo, the newest social network for "people who care" hit the scene officially-ish on August 1. About 200 people including yours truly attended their happy hour tonight at the Play Lounge, and while I missed most of the festivities, people seem to genuinely want to make their new network succeed. Me, too. Nick O'Neill of the un-freaking-believable blog AllFacebook.com (which is only 2 months old but already receiving 1,000 site visits a day) is Razoo's "web guy" and, since I met him a few months ago at a DC gathering of Social Media Club, one of my new professional paramours. Nick and I agree that Razoo has its work cut out in terms of finding a niche against the other groups in the mission-oriented mafia (listed above), not to mention those who have already found their niche (i.e., Network for Good, which is striving to own the online fundraising/donation space).

I hope Razoo and the others hone in on their distinct niches so that the evicted members of the Omidyar family aren't aimlessly scattered to the 4 corners of the world. And I hope that anyone who is considering development of a new "make the world a better place" online community will look to the ones that already exist first, to see if there are opportunities to collaborate rather than be redundant. Like my boss-lady (Alison) says: there are a lot of social networks who have no friends.

In the meantime, my absolute best to Thomas and his crew.

And for the record, I am proud of my dual crushes on Thomas and Pierre, thank you very much. The brothas know how to love mankind.

Here’s the deck from the training at the Center this a.m.

Imagine showing up to give a training on blogging and not having internet access. ‘Doh. (Did everything I could to make that happen, to no avail).

Jocelyn Harmon (my old flame, I mean boss) and me gave a presentation at the Center for Nonprofit Advancement this morning. She and I have a rag-tag history from serving as the dynamic duo "communications department" at NCNA (which with a staff or 7 pulled together the national Nonprofit Congress initiative last year). So not having internet – or the correct cables for the projector – was not a catastrophe for us.

However, it prevented us from sharing great blog tools and case studies with the eager minds in the audience. Like somebody pointed out: you have to have good content in order to get on without your deck. Hopefully, we did.

For those who attended this morning, and anyone else wondering whether blogging is right for you, the deck we had every intention of using is available here.