Monthly Archives: January 2009

Podcasting: An Intriguing Way to Talk

I’ve been wondering about how to get started recording audio podcasts. Just my luck, TechSoup and NTEN are at their free webinars again this week, with Corey from 501c3Cast, a podcast for non-profits. He’s covering the VERY basics. I need them!!

Storytelling & Social Media

Storytelling & Social Media

Great reminder–don’t just start podcasing for the heck of it. Do you know if your audience already listens to digital media? If not, you’ll have extra steps of research and marketing to gain listeners.

Plan: Target your audience, write a script, plan to include music and asknowledgements. If this is something you’ll do on a regular basis, you’ll need a schedule and a plan to allow listeners to subscribe. I’m thinking of podcasts as a way to broadcast information I often repeat (organizational basics, volunteer information–the new breed of 101/orientation video!) They could also be a cool way to capture history and stories from the past–a neat tool to celebrate an organization’s anniversary!

Just like a good outline, your script will need an intro, key points, and a conclusion. Corey suggests having a good strong voice (and not too many of them) and some pacing with effects, Q&A with a guest, or ‘commercials’ to pass along other related info. Every good story has a point of intrigue, emotion or inspiration and a theme. There’s a whole organization devoted to telling digital stories (why am I still surprised at these niches?!)

Recording: Find a small, echo-limiting space. You can buy a headset with a mic that plugs into your USB port for around $30. There are more advanced tools such as a condensing (multi-directional ball-shaped) mic, mobile recorders for ‘on the street’ interviews, and soundboards. I have a USB headset that I use for Skype telephone calls and listening to DVDs, so I’ll start there. .WAV files are the most common to record in. You’ll want to id your ‘title, track, etc.’ in your software so downloaders can save and identify your podcast.

Software: Some basic, free software recorders includde Audacity, Garage Band (for Mac), Levelator, and–funny, I just mentioned this–Skype. Skype plug-ins (available for a small cost) such as Pamela, Hot Recorder, & Audio Hijack Pro record each speaker individually. Audacity has a lot of tools. Start with Selection, Silence, Amplify, Fade, Compressor, Import other audio tracks, and Export as an mp3. Export as 64 or 96 bit, or up to 128 to 256 bits for podcasts; the higher the number, the higher the quality although some people won’t be able to effectively download the larger files.

Hosting: Podcasts, especially regular ones, are large files that can take up a lot of your server space. There are several host sites particularly for podcasts: liberated syndication, PodBean.com, ourmedia, blubrry, switchpod.com–these start at $5 per month.

Share: This topic will need more info, input & research. You can upload to iTunes, Podcast Pickle, Podcast Alley, and to your website; find links to these tools and grab the webiner here. Evidently you need a Flash player there to enable listeners to listen directly from your website. FeedBurner Podcast and hosting sites can track your metrics. There were some great examples of organizations giving tours, explaining little known facts, incorporation music, and generally sharing their experiences with listeners.

Organizations are already podcasting!! HOW do they make the time–to both start, and continue, such an endeavor? What have they given up to be able to get into this new media?

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Telling Your Story: Inching In to Tracking Your Social Media Content

Thanks to TechSoup and NTEN as well as Amy Semple Ward of NetSquared, here are some tips on getting a non-profit started on ‘virality’:

Step 1: Listen Gosh, I’ve actually already got that one covered!

Step 2: Share
I use Zotero to bookmark online info that I’m researching, and Delicious to tag interesting things on the web. Also, I’m trying to use Delicious with a group so we can have a shared list of items related to ‘library diversity training’ that each of us finds. Similar is digg . WOW–there’s a plug-in called ‘Post Delicious’ which will pull your Delicious bookmarks into your blog as a post. So, for Delicious users, an automatic blog post would be generated based on what you’re reading and bookmarking!

Many of these tools can be combined to, say, pull your Flickr photos or your bookmarks into your Facebook page. FriendFeed is another feed page that aggregates all of your sharing tools. This seems like it would be most helpful once you have a large online network also using various tools.

There are a few other free webinars in this Storytelling series coming up through February.

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Groundswell


Groundswell: How People with Social Technologies are Changing Everything

In thinking about engaging supporters who are already online, and those that aren’t, Groundswell categorizes them into six typographs of users/non-users. The book–from Forrester Research, who’s pretty into this stuff–uses lots of data and demographics to talk about ‘markets’ and ‘trends’ that are swelling up–so we’d better get ready, like it or not. Check out their blog to keep up with the latest, including how President Obama is right there in the swell, collecting ideas from anyone who wants to have input.

In the same vein, non-profit social media blogger John Haydon writes on Return on Investment:
“The real ROI in social media is manifested when your current supporters start talking to their friends about how much you rock. And as they rave about you, hundreds or thousands of other potential supporters see these conversations.” That’s the ‘viral’ effect you hear about. And you can’t ‘go viral’ with a canned fundraising letter email. He sums it up: “The best way to avoid appearing disingenuous or frivolous is to be genuine and committed.” So, talk about what’s up, what comes to mind, and as if you were writing to a friend–a real one.

Beth Kanter, in her “Cute Dog Theory” says that non-profits should spend 1-5 hours participating in social media and 5-10 hours a week creating content. Her post gives an outline of laying down some steps and goals before diving in.

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Step 1: Listening

One thing you can resolve to do in the new year is observe what others are talking about and doing with nonprofit social media. Just knowing what’s going on in the wide world of nonprofit social media makes you want to get on the bandwagon.

Here’s a list of tools to help you find out what others are saying about your brand, your organization, keywords….

Try these:
GoogleAlerts See what others are saying! Set up a GoogleAlert to search for stories and posts that reference you, your organization, or topics you’re interested. For example, you can type in “Colorado Association of School Libraries” colorado+library+diversity, and you’ll receive a list of links that include either the organization name or that include all of the words colorado, library, and diversity. This will send you published news stories or blog posts, so if someone is blogging about the great volunteer experience they had with your organization, you’ll know about it!

RSS Combine the webpages you visit into one! RSS is a way to aggregate various blogs and webpages so you don’t have to visit them individually. You’ll look at your reader and get a bird’s-eye view of what’s happening at the news sites or topical blogs that you’ve asked it to check on.

To find blogs to read, search for keywords at Google BlogSearch or see Technorati‘s topic list.

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Twitter Tools II

Already on Twitter? Here’s some more in-depth tips & tools:

Wow–the rapid insights of TweetStats into your inner tweeter will blow your mind and are downright scary about the power of exposure that exists in this new internet age. Within SECONDS, you’ll see analysis of what time of day you tweet most, what percent of your tweets are direct replies–and to WHOM, and other eye-opening stats. So, if you’re wondering how to meaure the effectiveness of Twitter, TweetStats is a go-to! TweetBurner is an application you can install that counts links to the websites you tweet out. (Like how you just plug in the word ‘tweet’ for anything?!) Might be useful for stats.

Another quickie is TweetScan, where you can plug in your organization name or keywords and see who’s tweeting about these topics.

Here is a step-by-step (and simple) way at NTEN to have Twitterers share snippets of info at and during events or conferences, by including a tag, which aggregates all the comments together. NTEN “Twitter Me This” Webinar will help you explain–and educate–about what Twitter is!

If you’re a blogger using WordPress, Alex King wrote some tools to share posts between your blog and Twitter. Maybe I’ll show you here soon!

FriendFeed isn’t a Twitter tool–it’s an everything tool. So if you’re getting confused about all these social media sites you’re beginning to work with, check out FriendFeed as a way to share what you’re doing all ALL the various platforms. I don’t feel like I’ve advanced to this level yet, but feel like it’s one of those helps that, if you finally make the leap, it simplifies things.

101: What to Tweet About has great tips about mixing personal, conversational and corporate posts (only 1 out of every 20) and ‘developing relationships with your followers.’ Sound weird? After you try it, you’ll understand.

Here are some management tools to help you get a handle on your Twitter stream. Once you start using Twitter online, you’ll want a more convenient plug-in. I first went with:
BeTwitteredl, which is a plug-in you can add if you iGoogle.

Here are some applications you can download:
Twhirl (you can add multiple twitter accounts, and the feed pops up like IM from your toolbar)
I’m using Twhirl for my @HSNetwork tweets. I like how everything scrolls together in one pop-up, with different background colors for messages sent directly to me and replies I send. There’s a ready-to-go screen where you can type your ‘status’ to send to your Twitter stream.

TweetDeck (downloads everything you need in one fell swoop)
I’m using TweetDeck for my @VirtualHostel account. It separates your messages into 3 columns and thus is a larger window, but shows at a glance when anyone is contacting you directly. This organization would be great for anyone following a large number of people. It has some easy-to-use function buttons to write messages or get an overview of the news on Twititer.

Tweetr

Need more info?! There’s a complete (well, is anything ever complete anymore?!) list of all kinds of Twitter tools at this wiki.

There’s a ton of seemingly ‘full-time’ Twitterers already; I hope they’ll forgive my simple language and overview, and even add to our learning here.

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Segmenting Facebook

Think about new media users as one of three types: Influencers, Advocates & Enthusiasts–do you have a strategy to reach each of these??

Good heavens, no! We all hardly know about this stuff, let alone have THREE separate strategies to reach a market on JUST ONE TOOL!

These guys recommend we get a segmented strategy:
Article from Social Media Today
Beth’s ‘Who-What-How’

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New Year, New Resolve

Want to learn? Resolve! I have a policy of only making fun resolutions–like adding things to my life instead of focusing resolutions on deprivation.

Here are a WHOLE bunch of links and ideas about what others in the social media realm are resolving to do with new technology in the new year. How about you????

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