Where’s the Online Discussion of Hunger?–Using Social Media Tools To Create Community

 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.

Beth Kanter  is a highly-regarded evangelist/guru on How Non-Profits Can Use Social Media (the name of her blog). Here’s a good recent post, “What’s Your Blog Conversation Strategy.” 

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.

2 Replies to “Where’s the Online Discussion of Hunger?–Using Social Media Tools To Create Community”

  1. Michael Clark

    Randy you’re onto something here. Volunteering your expertise and time to engage the online community has tremendous benefit, and you’re making positive strides in Cincinnati, props to you Randy.  It makes me think of a friend of mine who once said I’d love to volunteer to help if I didn’t have to talk to anyone.  Frankly, he was more into cost accounting and analysis than dealing with people, just wasn’t his gig, and that is where he spent his time giving his talents and time.  Keep up the good work in fighting hunger online.

  2. Randy

    Thanks for the link I appreciate it very much. I am now living and working in Cincinnati and as part of my volunteerisim I am helping out at the Cincinnati free store food bank. Yes you are correct – if you want to build some credit to your name get into the ring and participate. Add to the conversation. In these terms there is a lot that web tech can do to help bring awareness and move social action around hunger issues.

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