The most digitally-connected hunger conference I’ve ever attended

Amanda Hite--photo courtesy of No Kid Hungry

Amanda Hite–photo courtesy of No Kid Hungry

When I went to my first Share our Strength Conference of Leaders in the fall of 2000, I was amazed by the vibrant, passionate community of people the organization had put together to address the issue of hunger.

As a relatively early adopter of social media around 2006, I  became really excited about the idea of that community bringing that energy, enthusiasm and spirited conversation online.  I waxed enthusiastically in blog posts here.

We brought the incredible Beth Kanter to the Conference of Leaders in 2008, to try to jump start the social media discussion. Maybe a bit before its time.  John Haydon came in the following year. Another great presentation, but still the online community was limited to a few of us.  Amanda Hite led the social media discussion in 2011, after which she was part of a great group of folks who created the No Kid Hungry Social  Council.

As a result of all the hard work that group has done, this year’s conference last week, was the very first major hunger gathering I’ve attended, where social media happened right. It happened mostly on Twitter.  Two large screens ran the Twitter feed in the plenary sessions. Amanda kicked it off with another great session.  Events saw tremendous traffic with #nokidhungry trending on Twitter at one point. People recognized great content.  High-profile attendees like The Food Network’s Ted Allen and Marc Murphy, and WNBA star Ruth Riley interacted online with attendees. People shared!!!!   The community truly came together.  Now it’s time to keep that momentum going.

Online communities thrive because of real-life  connections. We can have stimulating, compelling online conversations. We can share with each other; educate each other. But the real bonding occurs when we finally see each other face-to-face.  Sometimes it occurs the other way around:  We meet each other at an event, and that initial meeting can set up an online conversation that evolves into genuine friendship.  A lot of both occurred at this year’s conference.

Kudos to No Kid Hungry Online Community Director, Clay Dunn, Amanda Hite, and the No Kid Hungry Social Council and all of the folks who’ve been working to energize and connect the online tribe.  I believe you’ve done it. You’ve set the bar for every hunger organization that might want to mobilize stakeholders online.

One more thing:  the No Kid Hungry folks have put together two cool apps to further the cause:  Their No Kid Hungry app, which integrates gamification to engage people in various program activities.  And an app that features recipes from their Cooking Matters program (Tyson Foods is donating $1 for each of the first 5000 downloads of this app, so get on in to the iTunes Store and check it out).
BTW–Big shoutout to early adopters in this community, like Michael Farver, Bill Shore, Tim Cipriano Joni Doolin (and others whom I’ve no doubt omitted, but can be seen on this Twitter list of hunger advocates we’ve been putting together for the past few years).

Real hunger people don’t talk.

Last week, I asked the question—which I’ve been asking for years—“Where’s the online discussion of hunger?”   Crickets.

Dang folks.  These online channels—blogs, social media, forums, etc.—offer enormous potential for exciting and diverse discourse.  The hunger community is a passionate and opinionated bunch.  There’s enough diversity of thought among those who care about feeding people to have some really interesting discussion going on?  So why don’t we?

When I asked the question last week, social-media-for-social good expert Beth Kanter suggested on twitter that perhaps hunger fighters were too focused on making change offline to be spending energy in online discussion.  I think she’s correct.  To a certain degree.

Here’s my thinking right now (note: There’s a bit of devil’s advocacy here, and the view does not necessarily reflect those of my employer or fellow team members. And it is a generalization, for which there are notable exceptions.  Apologies to those folks, and you know who you are—you’ll likely be the ones who comment here):

Many of the people who are on the front lines, who are the best informed and have the strongest views on the issue of hunger, are not participating online. They’re digital immigrants, if they use technology at all.   They are indeed busy offline.    They have, instead delegated the responsibility of online participation to marketing people.

Many of the marketing people in hunger relief (some working for the largest organizations)  just haven’t yet embraced the concept of online conversations and community building.  Hunger is not their thing. Marketing is. They’re intensely focused on their own organizational objectives and metrics, many of which ultimately direct to fundraising.  That’s how they’re wired.  Consequently, there’s little conversation.  Little sharing of meaningful content.  No engaging with those who aren’t direct stakeholders, especially those who might have a different point of view (or aren’t funders).

Okay.  I’ve poked a hornet’s nest.  Prove me wrong.  Discuss.

Photo by al3xadk1n5 Flickr Creative Commons

Where’s the online discussion about hunger?

This is a post from four years ago, May, 2008.  I didn’t receive much of an answer then.  There were only a few of us involved in hunger relief using social channels back then.  Since then, use of social media has exploded. Most every hunger relief organization has an active social media presence now.  Take a look at the post below.  Disregard the stuff made silly by technology changes (“I even Twitter…:-) But I’m still interested in the subject line question.   Any thoughts? Where’s it really happening?

By Ed Nicholson

For the past few years, those of us in public relations have been receiving a constant stream of reminders that the ground is shifting beneath our feet. That the way we communicate, engage stakeholders,  and participate in communities is being revolutionized by breakthrough communications vehicles.  I’m one who happens to believe that’s true.

While I still can’t start my day without dead trees, more and more of my daily information flow is being delivered to my desktop via RSS.    I author and contribute to several blogs, including this one.  I have a (relatively inactive) Facebook account  and a growing number of Linkedin contacts.
I even Twitter.

I’ve discovered that all over the Web, there are vibrant, stimulating, engaging discussions occurring in ever-growing communities on virtually any subject or any issue one might imagine.

But for the life of me,  I can’t find much more than static content from the hunger community online.  I’ve done Technorati and Google searches.  “Hunger Relief” is on my daily Bloglines feed.  Not much there in the way of active discourse. Lots of folks talking at  people, but not many real conversations.

Beth Scofield put together an incredibly well-built online presence with SOS in Sharingwitness.org, with an all-star cast of contributors. Comments were enabled (and I’m certain encouraged), but one can count the number of comments on two hands. Before its time…?

I know this is a passionate community.  I’ve been to A2H and SOS conferences, and you won’t find a more committed, articulate, educated bunch in the world.  People like Michael Farver (who himself is very hip to technology).  They certainly aren’t afraid to speak out when they’re face-to-face. And they have some remarkable things to contribute.

Helloooo…..Anyone out there?  Maybe, there’s a party going on somewhere to which I’ve simply not been invited.  If so, please let me know.  We’ll put a link up on this site to try to drive more traffic that way.

Meanwhile, we’d appreciate your adding this site to your RSS feed.    We’re bound and determined to play a role in stimulating the online discussion about this issue.

Got a comment?   PLEASE jump in.

Hunger Relief Twitterers

We created this blog in 2007, with the goal of raising awareness of the issue of hunger and supporting the community of people and organizations involved in hunger relief.   Early on I was excited about the potential of social media tools bringing the hunger community together.  In early 2008, I created a list of those in the hunger community using Twitter. It had about twenty accounts.  It’s grown a bit since then–see below. Go follow these folks.   If  you’re interested in having your name attached, message me on Twitter @TysonFoods.

disclaimer–while I do try to keep the list current, it’s three years old, so there might be a few inactive accounts on here.

http://twitter.com/sharestrength    SOS primary account
 http://twitter.com/FeedingAmerica    Feeding America
 http://twitter.com/billshore   Billy Shore, founder of Share Our Strength
 http://twitter.com/dpmichel   Dan Michel–social media for Feeding America
 http://twitter.com/ellendamaschino   Ellen Damaschino SOS OFL Hall of Fame Chef and blogger
 http://twitter.com/hungeractions   Take Action on Hunger
 http://twitter.com/rockforhunger    Rock for Hunger
 http://twitter.com/FTWM    Feed Them With Music
 http://twitter.com/Ddavenport    David Davenport–CEO Second Harvest Food Bank, St. Joseph, Missouri
 http://twitter.com/lisa_goddard      Lisa Goddard, Online Marketing Director, CAFB
 http://twitter.com/jelyon  John Lyon, Faith-Based Capacity Building-VISTA, CAFB
 http://twitter.com/jcdwye r  JC Dwyer, Texas Food Bank Network, Statewide Advocacy Director,
 http://twitter.com/EricaBenavides  San Antonio Food Bank Community Relations Manager
 http://twitter.com/EndChildHunger   Michael Farver
 http://twitter.com/susanapics   Susan Adcock Photoblogger
 http://twitter.com/ederdn   Ed Nicholson, personal account
 http://twitter.com/azganjar     A. Zganjar, Share Our Strength
 http://twitter.com/SuzyTwohig   Suzy Twohig, Share Our Strength
 http://twitter.com/TSARedKettle   The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign
 http://twitter.com/teamlivefeed   Tom Robinson, Live Feed (Music for hunger relief, St. Louis)
 http://twitter.com/FriendsofWFP   Friends of the World Food Program
 http://twitter.com/cookingwithamy   Cooking With Amy– Hunger Challenge Blogger
 http://twitter.com/egratto   Genie Gratto– Hunger Challenge Blogger
 http://twitter.com/marianiles   Maria Niles–Hunger Challenge Blogger
 http://twitter.com/TexansVsHunger    Texas Food Bank Network
 http://twitter.com/whatscooking    Michelle Stern
 http://twitter.com/foodbankccs   Food Bank of ContraCosta and Solano Counties
 http://twitter.com/pdxmission   Portland Rescue Mission, Portland, Oregon
 http://twitter.com/ftmyerssoupktch   Judy–Ft. Myers Soup Kitchen
 http://twitter.com/aafb    Association of Arizona Food Banks
 http://twitter.com/new_community    New Community Mobile Food Pantry, Naperville, IL
 http://twitter.com/markarnoldy   Mark Arnoldy-focuses on international malnutrition
 http://twitter.com/SchoolLunch    Healthful meals & nutrition education for children
 http://twitter.com/suzannenlee    Suzanne Lee, Dir. of Communications & Mktg.   Care & Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado
 http://twitter.com/Deca_Dietician     DeCA Dietician Ft. Lee, VA
 http://twitter.com/CWS_Crop      Church World Service
 http://twitter.com/GPCAH   Greater Philadephia Coalition Against Hunger
 http://twitter.com/SecondHelpings    Second Helpings, Indianapolis
 http://twitter.com/miriamskitchen   Miriam’s Kitchen–serving homeless in DC
 http://twitter.com/BreadfortheCity   Bread for the City, Washington, DC
 http://twitter.com/enklings     Tim Blair, hunger activist
 http://twitter.com/poppypembroke   Poppy Pembroke Communications Mgr.,Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties
 http://twitter.com/heifer    Heifer International
 http://twitter.com/heiferportland    Heifer Portland
 http://twitter.com/kidsfoodbasket    Kids Food Basket.  Grand Rapids, Michigan
 http://twitter.com/BreadHolly   Holly Hight–Bread for the World
 http://twitter.com/hungerthon    WHY  whyhunger.org
 http://twitter.com/fighthunger    World Food Programme
 http://twitter.com/WorldFoodPrize   World Food Prize
 http://twitter.com/StopHunger    MAZON–hunger relief organization
 http://twitter.com/EndChildHunger    End Child Hunger, Michael Farver
 http://twitter.com/firstthebasics   First the Basics (helping people find hot meals)
 http://twitter.com/URMission   Union Rescue Mission, Little Rock
 http://twitter.com/walkforhunger    Kristin–Project Bread–The Walk for Hunger
 http://twitter.com/phxmission   Phoenix Rescue Mission
 http://twitter.com/creativelyme   Sarah Hall
 http://twitter.com/FeedINsHungry   Emily Bryant
 http://twitter.com/WalkandKnock   Mary Chant  Walk and Knock-annual food drive
 http://twitter.com/swong7     Stacy Wong , Greater Boston Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/HandsOnHartford       Hands on Hartford
 http://twitter.com/ChicagoShares   Chicago Shares
 http://twitter.com/localfooddude   Timothy Cipriano, New Haven School Systems and Local Food Dude
 http://twitter.com/MOWFeedMore   Meals on Wheels Serving Central Virginia
 http://twitter.com/AJoyFULLHoliday   A  Joyfull Holiday
 http://twitter.com/dipaolamomma   Lara DiPaola
 http://twitter.com/1millionmeals   Jeffrey Strain, Penny Experiment
 http://twitter.com/foodhunger    The Volunteer Way
 http://twitter.com/Harvest4Hunger   Harvest for Hunger
 http://twitter.com/pghfoodbank   Pittsburgh Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/breadjennifer   Jennifer Stapleton, Bread for the World
 http://twitter.com/bread4theworld   Bread for the World
 http://twitter.com/CCSTB    Community Center of St. Bernard
 http://twitter.com/thelastshow   The Last Show–Karen
 http://twitter.com/rjtbaum     Robert J. Teitelbaum
 http://www.twitter.com/dinnergarden    The Dinner Garden
 http://twitter.com/HartfordFoodSys   Hartford Food System
 http://twitter.com/2harvest   Second Harvest Heartland
 http://twitter.com/2harvestCFL   Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Orlando
 http://twitter.com/2ndharvest    2nd Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara & San Mateo Counties
 http://twitter.com/ACFB   Atlanta Community Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/arfoodbank     Arkansas Foodbank Network
 http://twitter.com/BayAreaFoodBank   Bay Area Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/brfoodbank      Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/CAFB   Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, Inc.
 http://twitter.com/CareandShareFB    Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado
 http://twitter.com/CentralILFoodbk     Central IL Foodbank
 http://twitter.com/centralpafb   Central Pennsylvania Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/CFBFresno    Community Food Bank, Fresno, CA
 http://twitter.com/chattfood   Chattanooga Area Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/CityHarvest     City Harvest   New York,NY
 http://twitter.com/CleveFoodbank   Cleveland Foodbank, Inc.
 http://twitter.com/CommFoodBankNJ   Community Food Bank of New Jersey
 http://twitter.com/CTFoodBank   Connecticut Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/CVFBFeedMore   Central Virginia Foodbank, Inc.
 http://twitter.com/FeedingSFL    Feeding South Florida, Miami
 http://twitter.com/eifoodbank   Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Urbana
 http://twitter.com/FeedAmericaWI   America’s Second Harvest of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
 http://twitter.com/feedingwestmich   Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/FoodBank4NYC   Food Bank For New York City
 http://twitter.com/foodbankccs   Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano
 http://twitter.com/FoodBankCENC   Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, Raleigh
 http://twitter.com/FoodBankNENY   Regional Food Bank Northeastern New York
 http://twitter.com/FoodBankofCC   Food Bank of Corpus Christi
 http://twitter.com/FoodBankofDE   Food Bank of Delaware, Newark
 http://twitter.com/foodbankrgv   Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, Inc.
 http://twitter.com/foodbankrockies   Food Bank of the Rockies, Denver
 http://twitter.com/FoodbankSBC   Foodbank of Santa Barbara County
 http://twitter.com/foodbanksj          Food Bank of South Jersey
 http://twitter.com/FoodBankSTier   Food Bank of the Southern Tier, Elmira, NY
 http://twitter.com/FoodBkNIndiana   Food Bank of Northern Indiana
 http://twitter.com/FoodDepository   Greater Chicago Food Depository
 http://twitter.com/FoodLinkNY     Foodlink Food Bank, Rochester, NY
 http://twitter.com/FoodShuttle   Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Raleigh, NC
 http://twitter.com/FreestoreFB   Freestore FoodBank, Cincinnati
 http://twitter.com/Gleaners   Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan
 http://twitter.com/GleanersFBIndy   Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc.
 http://twitter.com/Gr8BosFoodBank   The Greater Boston Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/growthefoodbank   Capital Area Food Bank, DC
 http://twitter.com/HarvestersORG   Harvesters – The Community Food Network, Kansas City
 http://twitter.com/HoustonFoodBank   Houston Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/hpfoodbank   High Plains Food Bank, Amarillo
 http://twitter.com/lafoodbank   Los Angeles Regional Foodbank
 http://twitter.com/LCFBFoodFIght   Lowcountry Food Bank, Charleston, SC
 http://twitter.com/MANNAFoodBank   MANNA  FoodBank, Ashville NC
 http://twitter.com/mfbn   Montana Food Bank Network
 http://twitter.com/Mid_OHFoodbank    Mid-Ohio FoodBank
 http://twitter.com/missingmeals    Second Harvest Heartland
 http://twitter.com/NEILB   Northern Illinois Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/NNFoodBank   Food Bank of Northern Nevada
 http://twitter.com/northernlakesfb   Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/ntfb   North Texas Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/nwncfoodbank     Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina
 http://twitter.com/onecanonedolla r   Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina
 http://twitter.com/OreFoodBankFA   Oregon Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/ozksfoodharvest   Ozarks Food Harvest, Springfield, MO
 http://twitter.com/PghFoodBank   Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/refb   Redwood Empire Food Bank, Santa Rosa, CA
 http://twitter.com/rfbo   Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma (OKC)
 http://twitter.com/RIFoodBank   Rhode Island Community Food Bank, Providence
 http://twitter.com/safoodbank   San Antonio Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/SecondHarvestOH     Second Harvest Ohio
 http://twitter.com/semofoodbank    Southeast Missouri Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/sffoodbank   San Francisco Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/SHFBofMidTN   Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee
 http://twitter.com/SoTxFoodBank   South Texas Food Bank, Laredo
 http://twitter.com/SPFB   South Plains Food Bank, Lubbock
 http://twitter.com/stlfoodbank   St. Louis Area Foodbank
 http://twitter.com/StMarysFoodBank   St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, Phoenix
 http://twitter.com/TAFoodbank   Tarrant Area Food Bank, Ft. Worth
 http://twitter.com/threesquareLV   Three Square Food Bank, Las Vegas
 http://twitter.com/UnitedFoodBank   United Food Bank, Mesa AZ
 http://twitter.com/utahfoodbank   Utah Food Bank Services, Salt Lake City
 http://twitter.com/VermontFoodbank   Vermont Foodbank, Inc., South Barre
 http://twitter.com/WeldFoodBank   Weld Food Bank, Greeley, CO
 http://twitter.com/WestOhioFB   West Ohio Food Bank
 http://twitter.com/culinarschmooze   Culinary Schmooze
 http://twitter.com/schoolsserve   The National School Food Drive
 http://twitter.com/famtofamily   Family to Family
 http://twitter.com/AggregateND     The Online Carpool for Produce
 http://twitter.com/FoodBanking   Global FoodBanking Network
 http://twitter.com/IowaFBA   Iowa Food Bank Association
 http://twitter.com/northernlakesfb    Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, Duluth
 http://twitter.com/FeedingMaine    Good Shepherd Food Bank, Maine
 http://twitter.com/KimDoyleWille    Kim Doyle Wille
 http://twitter.com/MarlitaH    Marlita H
 http://twitter.com/angelfrmcanada    Robin and Craig
 http://twitter.com/MargaretChoSac    Jeffrey Goldade
 http://www.twitter.com/gransome   Gary Ransome
 http://www.twitter.com/breadrobin   Robin Stephenson, Bread for the World
 https://twitter.com/communityserv    Community Servings, Massachusetts
 https://twitter.com/novusint    Jeremy Lutgen,  Novis International
 https://twitter.com/HeresLife    Here’s Life Inner City
 https://twitter.com/paladinette    Paladinette
 https://twitter.com/MetroCareRing   Metro CareRing, Denver
 http://twitter.com/aarpwi    AARP Wisconsin
 http://twitter.com/onelessmeal    One Less Meal–Double D Diner
 http://twitter.com/Tote4Pgh    Sue Kerr,  The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project
http://twitter.com/NHCOHelps  North Hills Community Outreach
http://twitter.com/Westmoreland  FB  Westmoreland County Food Bank
http://twitter.com/SHIMpgh  South Hills Interfaith Ministeries
 
 

 

Twitter Lists–Hunger Relief (one click following)
 http://twitter.com/sharestrength/lists   Share Our Strength   (@ShareStrength) is doing a wonderful job of categorizing and listing its stakeholders involved in hunger relief on the Twitter List tool.
 http://twitter.com/TysonFoods/hunger-communityh

 

Facebook Poll Results Announced

Thank you for you for rallying your community and raising hunger awareness during Tyson’s Hunger Action Month Facebook Poll . A total of 37,941 votes were cast.

Congratulations to the top three finishers!

The final results are:

Food Bank of the Albemarle- Elizabeth City, NC: (9,467 votes)
Yuma Community Food Bank- Yuma, AZ: (9, 435 votes)
Mississippi Food Network- Jackson, MS: (3, 425 votes)
Montgomery Area Food Bank, Inc.: (3, 136 votes)
Central Virginia Food Bank- Richmond, VA: (2,665 votes)
Mid-South Food Bank- Memphis, TN: (2, 515 votes)
Lowcountry Food Bank- Charleston, SC: (2,236 votes)
Second Harvest of South Georgia, Inc.: (1,931 votes)
Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana- Monroe, LA: (1,867 votes)
Feeding the Valley Food Bank- Columbus, GA: (1,264 votes)

The top three finishers will receive a truckload of food in the next month or so. BUT, since participation has been so great, we’ve decided that sometime in the next year, all the participating foodbanks will get a truckload of food. It will probably take us a while to get to everyone, but we will. Thanks again for your participation.

Please stay involved in hunger relief.   A great way to start is by connecting with our local foodbank or going to Feeding America’s Hunger Action Center.   The need is so great, and there’s so much to be done.