By Ed Nicholson
My last post regarding the online conversation about the issue of hunger, simply asked the question “Where is it?”
While we await answers, we might look at how other causes, and other non-profits are harnessing the power of social media to build communities and awareness. Today I’m going to point you to a few resources you might consider in your own exploration of the use of social media.
David Neff, with the American Cancer Society, a rising rockstar in non-profit use of social media, has started to make it happen among his organization’s stakeholder group with an excellent social media space. (By the way, he has a very good tips for non-profits who want to experiment with social media with his post "NTEN, Chris Brogan and Guys with Beards" ) David was kind enough to create some awareness of this forum in his own blog. That’s how community gets built: comment, discussion, participation, awareness.
David pointed me to Community Mobilization, a very good blog authored by Randal Moss on how technology can be used to mobilize communties.
For many years, I was what used to be called (without malice) in the CompuServe forum days a "lurker"–someone who read and enjoyed the posting of others without actively participating. But as I’ve discovered, providing commment–whether or not it has earth-shattering relevance–builds your own currency in online communities.
A really interesting piece from Holly Ross—with some good discussion–about the challenges of starting the online conversation is Sharing is Caring, but it’s Also Hard: Why Your Audience Won’t Comment on Your Blog. Now I understand a bit better why we don’t have thirty comments on each post here–but I’ll be patient.
I’d recommend putting all of these folks on your RSS feed.
If you’re involved in the fight against hunger—whether you’re at the food bank level, at the national advocacy level, or just an active participant—consider the power of social media tools to advance the discussion, create awareness and build community.