In the past two weeks, I have been mulling around what type of New Year's post to write. Should I do best of, predictions, resolutions, or something else. I'm not as creative as Chris Brogan who wrote about 2008 needs or CogDog Blog's Top Zero List. The day after Christmas, I stumbled upon Chris Penn's list of reflection tips and it gave some ideas.
During the holidays, one tradition in this house is to try to get things organized. So, I've spent the last couple of days in the home office and throughout out house - organizing, prioritizing, and deciding what items should be given away to charity or free cycled. Putting things back in their or cleaning or clearing. My desk, pictured above, has never been this clear and uncluttered.
It made me think about the question, "What if I could start all my social media and nonprofits work over from scratch? What would I do differently? What lessons have I learned that will stick with me for 2008?"
Here are my lessons:
1. Don't Join New Social Networks Without Thinking. This is especially important if you got an email invitation from a friend. If I learned anything from the Shelfari and the Spock, it is to use your critical thinking skills before joining a social network that a trusted friend has invited you to join. Ask your friend why they invited you. Refrain from joining as a knee jerk response until you know that your friend has really checked out the service and has not been duped. (Thanks Nancy White)
2. Size doesn't matter: It isn't how many people are in your network, it is how you well you know them and your relationship. It isn't about quantity or friend collecting. It isn't about broadcasting your message or lecturing. Grow your network slowly and get to know your friends and be helpful. And, if you find yourself in the position I was in - with lots of people requesting to be friends, find out why first. Don't just accept them. Seek out tools that will help you manage your relationships efficiently, not gather or collect more friends. Connie Benson's advice on networking will continue to stick with me.
3. Deep engagement in one community is better than being spread too thin across many communities. I can't be on every social network. Yes, I check many out because I might be writing about it or interviewing some nonprofit who has done something interesting. But, through trial and error I've found the communities that really are important to my goals and where "my people are." I hope to find ways to efficiently and effectively engage. Beth Dunn has some great reflections on how to do this and why it is important. (Thanks Beth)
4. Translation skills are really, really, really important. Beth Dunn and I got into a conversation about this right before the holiday. The social media mavens move fast -- and if you follow them - you learn a lot. I can't begin to say how much I've learned from reading people like Chris Brogan or Jeremiah Owyang. Or following the twitter streams and blogs posts of people like Pistachio and Connie Reece. But the social media crowd moves faster than the speed of light and nonprofits move a little slower. So, we often find ourselves in the role of translator and often seeking small interventions that really matter. The better you can keep one foot running fast with the social media conversation and the other in the real world of the nonprofit work place, the more effective you'll be as a translator.
I'm going to tag a few folks to share their lessons learned about social media and nonprofits and tag others.
What are your four lessons learned about nonprofits and social media?