I spent last Monday with the very interesting team from The Benevolent Society working on their website and discussing their projects within an online context and came away feeling very inspired a) by what they are doing (their innovative programs truly push the social change button) and b) by the realisation that Web 2 opportunities are truly on the side of non-government (NGO) and not-for-profit organisations who often have trouble getting noticed in a world where big budgets generate the most noise.

3 ways NGOs can benefit from the Web 2 evolution

  • Social networking is usually inexpensive (mostly free) which is perfect for organisations on tiny budgets.
  • Being seen as an adapter of the latest technologies makes organisations look relevant and ahead of the curve.
  • NGOs often already have very loyal communities in the offline world (volunteers, supporters etc) so connecting with them online is an extension of this relationship and a way of attracting more people.

Getup! is a great example of what can be achieved by generating a huge ground-swell online. And while the US election campaigns are certainly not being done on small budgets, they’re another good example too. If you haven’t already heard, Barak Obama’s website is being touted as a great example of a Web 2 site. Notice that his homepage is a blog. My, times have changed!

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Spreading the love

September 24, 2008

I just read this little gem on a new blog I’ve subscribed to called OnlineMarketerBlog:

Built into all of the web 2.0 tools is an inherent good – that you help yourself by helping others. Don’t horde your expertise. Show off what you know by helping others and more business will come banging down your down.”

Oooooh, I love this! Maybe it’s the spring sunshine that’s beating into my little office, but it feels like there’s a new ground-swell afoot in the business world and it happens to be really positive!

I’m a huge fan of authentic writing that aims to create a meaningful connection, as I truly believe that the vast majority of us simply vague out when it comes to reading the stock-standard marketese that we’ve been fed for many years. (This thought is by no means new: George Orwell was writing about this very same thing way back in 1946 is his famous essay, Politics and the English Language. Don Watson also picked up the same theme in his popular book, Death Sentence: The Decay of Public Language in 2003.)

So if we can combine this new authentic writing style, with a quiet confidence that sees us sharing our knowledge and helping others when we can, I reckon we’re onto a winner.

I think business language is about to change dramatically – and for the better. What do you think?

Social Media: Just for kids?

September 10, 2008

There’s something about Web 2 which, for content creators, is both exciting and unfulfilling… exciting because of the enormous possibilities and potential opportunities. And unfulfilling because of most of the new content opportunities are very focussed around Gen Y. I love learning from Gen Y, after all they’re the early technology adaptors that the rest of us scramble to follow, but in terms of watching cool stuff on the web such as web TV and video, I’m not overly interested in teen story lines and MySpace pages written in teen speak.

The good news according to MySpace Director of Sales, Andrew Cordwell, who spoke at last week’s AIMIA event on Social Media, is that their Gen X and baby boomer demographics are growing (though teens and 20 somethings still rule). Dominique Hind from Mark also had some good client examples that showed how ‘traditional’ businesses with mixed-age audiences have put their toes in the Web 2 pond and had some success.

So are over 30s capable of embracing Web 2 and making it their own? Many of us already are (just look at Facebook’s success and the very cool Linked In) but hopefully we’ll be soon doing it in a way that makes total sense to us and doesn’t overly waste our time.

What new Web 2 tools do you engage with – happily and readily… without a teen insight?

Do you tweet?

July 16, 2008

I’m doing some research at the moment on new interactivity tools and finally got round to checking out Twitter.com, which allows users (Twitterers) to stay constantly connected with friends by sending and receiving short messages called Tweets. You can tune into someone’s random musings and subscribe to their Twitter feed. Kind of like listening in on a cross-line without speaking up (unless you want to).

Now, whenever I read about some new fandangly Web 2 toy, my usual first thought is: WHO’S GOT THE TIME! But once I get past my Gen X hang-ups, it’s always an interesting process working out what the attraction is and looking at how others are using it.

So far, this is what I’ve learnt and liked about Twitter.

  • As a writer I can get ideas: A lot of what the twitterers publish is predictably mundane but every now and then you stumble across a little gem which gets you thinking. Nice.
  • You can ‘follow’ someone you admire: I recently went to a seminar and heard an interesting futurist speak (Mark Pesce). He shared his Twitter address with the audience so now I can read what he’s up to and thinking, pretty much right now. And we have never even met.
  • Posts are typically very up-to-date: Unlike blogs and websites, a Tweet can be seconds old which makes you feel like you’ve really got your finger on some kind of ball.
  • You can use them in business: One of my London-based colleagues uses her Twitter account to source work contacts, business ideas and trends. She’s a smart cookie that one.

Do you Twitter? Find me at libbyvarcoe.