Danny Horn from the Muppet Wiki left a very valuable comment on my wiki post. He shares some tips about building wiki communities. Thanks Danny!
Hi Beth: I'm one of the founders of Muppet Wiki, and I think I can answer
some of those questions about how wiki communities magically happen.
The most important thing, which a lot of people don't recognize, is that you
have to treat your contributors like they're people. You have to welcome them,
help them, and encourage them. People who work on wikis are doing the most
outlandish thing -- spending hours adding to a site without getting paid or even
having their name attached to their work. People who host wikis should never
stop telling our contributors how beautiful and amazing they are.
I've written down some specifics about how to do that on my Wikia user page,
so if anybody's interested, you can see it here...
Leng Sopharath is the girl in the middle. She is smiling and next two other young women who are being sponsored for college by the Sharing Foundation. I just received her April, 2007 letter where she shared what her daily schedule is like. I look forward to these quarterly updates and the photos. I also look forward to writing the quarterly letters that I send back to Cambodia with Dr. Hendrie. It provides a close connection and I am happy to share it with all the generous donors to the campaign like Scott via my blog.
On the Web, you can
become a messenger for your cause by adding a charity badge or
fundraising widget to your blog or web site. With one click, visitors
can contribute dollars to your cause! In Second Life, you can build a
3-D display and donation box where avatars can contribute Linden
dollars. That's my avatar sitting on top of the donation box (it
spins!) after making a contribution to Make A Wish.
curious because this effort was not put together by the nonprofit
organization, but by an individual, an avatar named "Yonder Doesburg," who decided to
raise money in this virtual world for his favorite charity. He shared
a lot about what works with fundraising in Second Life. Although the
amounts raised in Linden Dollars sound impressive, the USD amounts are
still modest. But, avatars who raising money in Second Life for their
causes are also spreading the word to others.
I caught up with him to learn more about his personal fundraising campaign:
Why are you raising money for Make A Wish Foundation?
In real life I have two nephews who both have Muscular Dystrophy or MD.
MD has ruined their bodies and neither of them can walk. They live in
their wheel chairs and can not get around with out them. They are 15
and 13 years old and will not likely live to 20 years old. The oldest
one is very bitter. He has become anti-social and hates the world for
his disease. He is fully aware of his impending death, and has a very
difficult time dealing with it. It has caused a great strain on their
family and those close to them. A couple years ago the Make A Wish
Foundation granted their wishes and sent them with their family to
Disney World. It was the highlight of their lives. For a week the boys
were able to forget about their problems and enjoy life.
My motivation for collecting Lindens in Second Life is to help grant other children their wishes. How did you get started?
contribute to this charity in real life too. I donate money every
month through the Combined Federal Campaign. My brother in-law (the
boy's father) has an account in SL and together we designed the Make A
Wish donation boxes and set up the first donation site in 2006.
January, 2006, we had purchased some land and were playing around with
ideas for what to build and make. We did the typical thing most folks
do like throw up houses and trees and try out our building skills.
Often when we were on SL together, we would talk about his sons and the
help many people and charities had given to them. In the past they have
received a wheel chair van at a discount and the boys have attended
summer camps with other kids with MD. The trip the boys enjoyed the
most was the trip to Disney World.
These stories got to me, I
get choked up easily, and it stays with me for a while. I had a tip jar
in my avatar’s inventory, and thought it would be a great way to raise
money for the Make A Wish Foundation. We put it together and built a
small kiosk to place it in.
Tell me about your fundraising strategies in Second Life?
has been pretty basic. At first I bought small affordable plot of land
and placed my Donation Cubes on them. I also purchased other plots that
were selling for inexpensively and then resell them and put the
proceeds towards my monthly donations to Make A Wish. These early
efforts didn’t net as much as my main kiosk, but I managed to sell a
couple plots and raise money for the charity.
collections have come from placing my Donation Cubes in the same
location as the vendors I use to sell my built items. In the past I
would rent stalls at popular malls or shops and place the cubes
prominently in front of my vendors. These did well for while, but
would soon decrease. I think because many of the same patrons visited
the same shops and I rarely received repeat donations.
all my land at one point when I moved to Alaska. When I bought my new
land, I decided to have only one location with a much larger Kiosk and
more information about the Make A Wish Foundation. I advertise the land
with a few key words.
Currently I have two locations to
collect donations in Second Life. In the Sim of Iris, where I have my
Make A Wish site, and in the sim of Paradise Isles. A friend of mine,
Tabatha Binder, is an enthusiastic supporter of the Make A Wish
Foundation and has one of my Donation Cubes in the center of her Palms
How much did you raise last year?
for Make A Wish came to L$ 41,356 in 2006 or close to $200 USD. I
watched the exchanged rate and exchanged my Lindens for real dollars
when the rate was good. When I forward the donation money to Make a
Wish, I use my avatars name as the donor and in the comments/message
place I type “From the generous citizens of Second Life”.
I gladly accept any and all donations from people while they are in Second Life. In the real world people should visit www.wish.org to make donations or see how they can help.
In the past few months, a growing number of social networking, social change, and fundraising sites have made their debut. The space is heating up! Just this week there were posts about LinkedIn, Change.org, and Facebook/Project Agape in the nptech space. This week another site launches, Bring Light, and combines social networks and philanthropy and is designed to help small to mid-sized nonprofits connect with potential supporters. With number of options for social networking and fundraising out there, maybe we will see an Idealware article that does a point by point comparison of features and functionality?
The NetSquared Conference is just days away and the NetSquared blogs are buzzing with activity! Each of the 21 Featured Projects has a project champion who will guide and support the project through conference. They are posting their introductions and photos here. If you're on Facebook, search for the n2y2 group!
You can find the complete conference agenda here. Not attending the NetSquared Conference but want to follow the tag stream? You can subscribe to the Yahoo Pipe. Find out more here. The conference tag is n2y2.
Peter Deitz has been working tirelessly on his personal fundraising campaign to raise an extra $500 for each of the 21 featured projects. His most recent update lists campaign donors. A big thank you! Sean Stannard-Stockton, author of the Tactical Philthanthropy blog, has posted a podcast interview with Daniel Ben-Horin, founder and president CompuMentor and TechSoup where they talk about the NetSquared project and the usefulness of "wisdom of crowd" techniques for nonprofits and philthanthropy.
The conference participant introductions keep coming in! Eduardo Bejar, of Fundapi, representing Yankana, one of the featured projects, says "Hola Mundo" with a photo of himself with his right foot on the southern hemisphere and left foot on the northern hemisphere. I just love this video introduction from the good folks from Freedom for IP.
Expect lots of tweets from Netsquared next week and make friends with NetSquared on Twitter if you haven't already!
The NpTech Summary
I noticed a lot of "Top Ten" blog posts this week. So, this is going to be a NpTech Power of Ten roundup, noting ten themes from the week. A little Zen, but it is really hectic this week. And, speaking of Zen, the Zen Buddhist Center is looking for an IT director.
Marnie Webb has been too busy to blog much this past month, but she finds time to tag!. Marnie tagged more than ten really good useful resources, including FullCodePress. Looks like a teams from Australia and New Zealand will compete to build a fully-operational website for a non-profit organization in 24 hours. Sort of like a Social Media Amish Barn Raising?
Lots buzz about Facebook's new platform on blogs and especially on twitter (when it wasn't down for maintenance). Buzz in NpTech space -- from blog to blog to tagged bookmarks. If haven't ventured into facebook, check Michele Martin's "Using Facebook in Your Nonprofit" roundup. If you're on Facebook, join the NpTech group so we can find each other! I bet there are more than ten nptechers on Facebook.
JournaMarketing points to a blog post from Kayta's Nonprofit Marketing Blog called "Don't Speak Doglish" about clear communication guidelines. Marnie Webb tagged "Stories for Change," an online community of digital storytellers. Check out the curriculum resource section which has a lot more than ten resources, but not too many to cause information overload.
The title makes me think of a Alan Levine's (Cogdog) recent presentation on social media called "Being There" where he offers a rather hilarious expired, tired, and wired metaphor about dogs and the Web. This slide show has at least ten visual jokes .... can you find them all?
Some geek fun that nonprofit techies will appreciate. Here's YouTube video about Ruby on Rails vs Java (in the style of an apple ad). Following the links, I discovered "Rails Envy"- "It's not the size of the app that matters, it's how you code it." It would have fit nicely if there ten episodes of this show, but this was too funny to pass up.
I lost count after ten in terms of the number of Disney Movies incorporated into this brilliant Disney mashup, a Fair(y) Use Tale that pushes the definition of fair use, directed by Eric Faden and came out of Stanford University's Fair Use Project Documentary Film Program.
And finally, if you are drowning in email overload, here's "10 Ways to get a grip on your email." I'm off to tame my email box because I have way more than ten unanswered emails.
I'm honored to be on the team of live blogging (that is, blogging about an event during an event) for the NetSquared Conference. The team is being coordinated by Britt Bravo, who must be the most organized person on the planet! As Britt notes in her live blogging guidelines:
The main goal of your posts is to provide information about the Projects that voters can refer to when it comes time to cast their ballot since they won't be able to attend all of the sessions.
So, our live blogging assignment is also an important reporting task because conference participants may need to refer to these notes to cast their votes. We aren't just taking notes for ourself.
Talk about pressure ... I hope that parachute works ... I need to reflect back on my live blogging/reporting experience ... It always helps to reflect back on your experience so you don't replicate too many of your mistakes - so I'm giving myself pointers on how to live blog. Perhaps it may be helpful to others who be live blogging at the conference (either part of the team or not!) A big problem with live blogging is that sometimes the results aren't good. We often see disclaimers to live blog posts like this one by Nancy White of Full Circle Online Interaction Blog. “Normal live blogging disclaimer - I don't catch it all, I don't get it all right, but if I don't post it as is, it won't get posted!"
The reason why live blogging posts can suffer in quality is that you are writing on the fly - no editing, no reflection. Many people live blog to take notes. According to Seth Godin's I'm liveblogging this:"The act of writing things down triggers different areas of our brain, it focuses attention, it makes it easier to remember things."
So, as Stephen Downes points out it is hard to serve two purposes: reporting for people to read and taking notes for yourself.
It's hard, but doable with respectable results. You have to be both a transcriber and a reporter, simultaneously capturing what is being said in the form of direct quotes as it is unfolding, summarizing key points and spinning into an somewhat organized narrative at the same time.
One of the things that will improve your live blogging is to get organized before the session begins. Before the conference, I create a draft post for each session I will live blog. I cut and paste the session description as well as any useful background links. I also add in the conference technorati tag at the bottom. (see example below) The NetSquared conference tag is n2y2.
I also use a blog editor which lets me write my post offline (in the event that the wireless Internet flakes out and it always does no matter where the conference is) and I avoid that very frustrating situation of completely loosing your post. I hate when the that happens.
During the session, I might capture photos of any visuals that help summarize a key point or key quote. Once the session is over, I immediately review my notes and make sure there are at least complete sentences and no major typos. I do a spell check and with a deep breath, hit publish.
I found the Wikipedia entry for Ken Burns. That's a start ..
That's why I so happy to discover that my colleague, Daniela Faris, at Icommons has written a blog post profiling ten fascinating wiki communities hosted by Mediawiki software. Her analysis of the communities focuses on how these communities have collected useful reference material and resources,
people who have used wiki software in an innovative way, and
communities who have been motivated to contribute on niche topics and
popular cultures. As she notes, "There’s the wiki weird and the wiki wonderful ..."
One of my favorite examples was the Muppet Wiki Here's what Daniela had to say:
Established on 5 December 2005, Muppet wiki is a collaborative site
about the Muppets and their creator, Jim Henson. With just over 14 000
articles collected to date, the Muppets seem to have a host of loyal
supporters who are ready to contribute information about the ‘world
according to the Muppets’.
For example, I was interested in the Muppet take on ‘the president of the United States’. The entry
outlines the involvement of Muppets in the race for the presidency and
other politicking, and lists the presidents, presidential candidates
and first ladies who have worked closely with the Muppets. According to
the entry, “At least one Muppet has apparently succeeded in reaching
the office, [however]. A Whatnot appeared as President in Muppets
Tonight episode 202, undergoing therapy with Meepzorp in the
Independence Day spoof “Co-dependents Day: CD4.”
Whether you’re of the Muppet generation or not, this site can be
poured over for hours, so set some time aside. Content is available
under a GNU Free Documentation licence
Of course online communities don't magically happen. So, in thinking of the practical application, one would need to study the patterns of wiki growth and development as well as the challenges. Wiki Patterns is a good resource for this information.
The conference is focused on the opportunities that new and emerging digital technologies create for media makers. My workshop is called the "Social Media Game: Market yourself and your film using blogging, tagging, wikis, photo sharing and social networking sites." I've remixed David Wilcox's Social Media game -- I've focused it on more individuals versus organizations and of course, on media creation. Here's the wiki I created with resources, links, and examples. The cards are here and I have to figure out a way to cut them evenly this time.
It marks the first time I'm incorporating Twitter in a presentation. So, I just had to tweet about the presentation. Chris Brogan noticed and blogged it.
Anyway, looking for feedback and pointers to other filmmakers using Social Media.
What I did was the discussion for the first 3/4 and saved the how-to QA for the end. If I had inserted the how-to demo in the moment when we discussed it, not sure if that would have been confusing or helpful.
I also experimented with pointing to other people's tutorials in the exercise instructions versus recreating my own which was probably less helpful to the beginner taggers.
I gained some valuable insights about participants approach and reflections about tagging. I realized that I have three distinct styles for tagging depending on whether I'm:
-actively researching a topic for workshop curriculum -tagging links for my link blog -general finding resources that I might want to refer to later
I'm ready to go back and read this articles and improve my own tagging habits:
According to Mashable, LinkedIn (Myspace for grown-ups) will:
announce tomorrow its new LinkedIn for Good, which is a philanthropic initiative for raising awareness and raising funds for nonprofits around the world.
Nonprofit organizations will be able to use LinkedIn as a platform
for involving the LinkedIn community with their causes, leveraging the
11 million users that are present within the online community. Provided
with this new feature are free badges to be placed on profiles, and
registered nonprofits free job listings in order to find new members to
join their teams. British rockstar James Blunt is already using
LinkedIn to raise over $23,000 for Doctors Without Borders. Other
featured LinkedIn for Good organizations include American Red Cross,
the World Wildlife Fund and Unitis and Kiva, microfiance organizations.
There's also another charitable donation social networking site that facilitates free surgery. The site itself looks like spoof site, but it isn't a joke. Personally, I'm very disgusted. I much rather see organizations that provided essential cosmetic surgery to children in the developing receive this type of media attention. I'm talking about organizations such as Interplast.
I've been enjoying email threads with Steve Song about teaching tagging. He pinged me today to point me to his reflection on a recent tagging workshop. His blog looks like a valuable resource and I just subscribed. If you're interested in collaboration and facilitation from an nonprofit perspective, you should subscribe too.
The ten minute movie, directed by Eric Faden, came out of Stanford University's Fair Use Project Documentary Film Program. Stanford's Fair Use Project--to which Stanford Law professor, Copyright guru, Creative Commons advocate and Wired
writer Lawrence Lessig contributes--was founded last year to "support
to a range of projects designed to clarify, and extend, the boundaries
of fair use in order to enhance creative freedom." And, well, the movie
is damn sure creative, and certainly seems to take the boundaries of
fair use about as far as they can go
This slide came from a presentation by Rashimi Sinha that I stumbled upon and is focused on a different topic, but I pulled out this slide for "Popularity Metrics." It connected with some thinking about metrics for measuring blog success and some comments from Stephen Downes:
blog's outcome" is ridiculous. It's like measuring 'friendship'.
measuring 'reflective moments'. As Beth Kanter says,
"numbers and data alone are almost meaningless." I don't think they get
a lot more meaningful even if you add them to qualitative data.
I'm sure Stephen would say you can't measure popularity either ...
Catherine Carey riffed a bit in the comments about measuring friendship:
In addition to "best friend" other words for 'friends' include:
Fair weather friend
Friend of the family
Love of my life
Someone I know
These 'friends' are not simply gradations of friendship. Though that
may be one way to think of measuring. It seems to me that we make
judgments about our relationships with people when we call them an
acquaintance, a confidant or a dear friend. The relationship differs
among the three.
Thus it is with blog outcomes and learning. If my blog is about
making friends or putting information out in the world my outcomes
differ from a blog that seeks to encourage commerce.
I wanted to circle back to where Stephen and I disagree. I think there is some usefulness in combining
numbers with qualitative reflection on how to improve your blog.
Whether you want to make money or educate people or just deepened your
own learning -- setting some realistic benchmarks or goals, figuring
out a way to determine if you reached them, and reflecting on why or
why not - can lead to continuous improvements in the quality of your
Conversation Rate (measuring success in a social medium)
Technorati “Authority” (measuring your impact on the world!)
Return on Investment (what’s in it for you/your business)
I discovered that I had problem figuring out how many total feed subscribers and the trends over time because I had four feeds (three built into the typepad blogging platform) and another one in feedburner which offers the stats tracking feature.
I asked the question on my blog: Is there some way to consolidate the feeds into so they can be tracked in feedburner and not disrupt current subscribers (make the unsubscribe and resubscribe?) Chris Blow, one of my readers, was kind enough to send me clear instructions that quickly solved my problem:
The trick is with something called "redirection".
Your blogging platform typepad runs on a server. The server works like a butler: visitors come to the door, the butler answers, the visitor requests a file, and the butler gives it to them. (or gives them a polite apology and a 404 message).
So if you are doing analytics it means that the butler makes a little note of everything that goes out the door (including the address of who asked for it, and exactly what they asked for). Then you can gather up all those scribbled notes of the floor and make pretty graphs. And if you are doing redirection it means that you whisper in your butler's ear: "whenever a visitor asks for file X give them file Y."
You can do redirection for any file that you can serve ... including your feeds. ... So we need to tell the server that when someone asks for any of your feeds on typepad, to give them the feed on feedburner.
Based on my research, it looks like there used to not be a way to do this, but now there is one built into Typepad.
Global Kids, a nonprofit that worked virtually with a group of youth in Teen Second Life last summer on their chosen issue of child sex trafficking, shares its best practices for nonprofits
who want to work in Second Life. These include general tips (e.g.,
document your virtual work through photos/video to show other programs
and funders who may not be in SL), tips for bringing a youth
development model into Teen SL (e.g., create as many opportunities as
possible for teens to express themselves through building things and
designing avatars), and tips for workshop design and facilitation in SL
(e.g., use real world content when addressing real world issues).
Of his own accord, philanthropy consultant, Peter Deitz, has launched a 10-day campaign across multiple online fundraising platforms to raise $500 for each of the 21 Featured Projects going to the NetSquared Conference.
Britt Bravo points us to "Socially Responsible Idol" a write up about the NetSquared Innovation Award nomination and voting process by Jessica Guynn on SFGate.
We're hearing some early tweets about Netsquared on twitter ....
hearing some complaints about the distract-ability of social media.
So, blog posts with tips on productivity are very much appreciated.
Here's a terrific article from the Nonprofit Communications blog called
"10 Ways Communicators Can Stay Productive" and from the Blog Bash event here's some tips specifically for bloggers on productivity.
Pew Internet and America Life Project recently released report on the
"Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users" has
created a buzz in the nonprofit tech spaces. The big question, what about that other 41%?
you were not lucky enough to get to Australia to attend the Connecting
Up 2007 Conference (the nonprofit technology conference for Aussies!),
you can catch up with Mike Seyfang's live blogs, twitters, pipe, and more, including this interview with Daniel Ben-Horin from CompuMentor.
A roundup of five online video editing suites.
None of these free services is going to put installed desktop video
editors out of business, but they provide some easy ways to get started
with video editing.
We all know what a pain it is to schedule meetings via email. There are online applications that are designed to make that an task easy. Here's one that showed up in the NpTech Tag Stream: Doodle.
Stephen Downes summarized my post on Social Media Metrics and Measuring Blog Outcomes and added some commentary. I agree with some of his points and disagree with others.
My post wasa riff on evaluating the effectiveness of blogs, and in particular, a set of metrics from Avinash Kaushik:
"Raw Author Contribution (posts and words in post)
Unique Blog Readers (content consumption - Unique Visitors and Feed Subscribers)
Conversation Rate (measuring success in a social medium)
Technorati "Authority" (measuring your impact on the world!)
Return on Investment (what's in it for you/your business)"
Stephen offers a snarky comment that I actually agree with:
Would this newsletter be twice as good if I wrote twice as many posts
or wroite them twice as long? If I wrote about a more popular topic -
educational policy, say - I would have more readers. Would that be
better? Is Will Richardson better than me because he gets more
comments? Am I better than you because I have a higher Technorati rank?
Would it be better if I made money and spent less on my website?
I agree with you that it is meaningless to use the numbers to get into
"mine is bigger than yours" comparisons to measure quality or
popularity. Some pr professionals agree.
Stephen goes on to say:
Measuring "your blog's outcome" is ridiculous. It's like measuring 'friendship'. measuring 'reflective moments'. As Beth Kanter says,
"numbers and data alone are almost meaningless." I don't think they get
a lot more meaningful even if you add them to qualitative data.
Yes, you can't measure friendship or reflective moments, just like in the nonprofit sector we can't measure world peace.
With all due respect, I think you really missed the point about the usefulness of combining numbers with qualitative reflection on how to improve your blog. Whether you want to make money or educate people or just deepened your own learning -- setting some realistic benchmarks or goals, figuring out a way to determine if you reached them, and reflecting on why or why not - can lead to continuous improvements in the quality of your blog writing.
AND, if that leads to more readers, higher ranking, more subscribers, more comments - that's the icing on the cake!
Kathy Paine left an interesting comment on Kaushik's blog "you’re trying to engage employees or customers in a conversation, and improve your relationships, these metrics fall short." I hope she will unpack that a bit more.
My post yesterday on measuring your blog's success had generated some reaction, from the comments to Tony Karrer to Beth Kanter,
who says I "missed the point' - "Whether you want to make money or educate people or just deepened your own learning -- setting some realistic benchmarks or goals, figuring out a way to determine if you reached them, and reflecting on why or why not - can lead to continuous improvements in the quality of your blog writing." One of my posts from earlier today constitutes part of a response - but also I want to point to Karrer's reasons for blogging - personal learning and network
building. My point is that there is no quantitative indicator of successful personal learning or of a valuable network contact, and that any attempt at such will misrepresent what it is we actually value in learning or network contacts.