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Jeff Trexler

"Different social networks are popular in different parts of the world. So the yes or no or it depends on your audience, who you want to reach."

Excellent point, and one that many of us need to hear. It's honestly something I didn't think too much about until teaching a wide range of international students.

Beth Kanter

Jeff,

Can you tell more about how you might now be thinking about it?

Jeff Trexler

I haven't been using Hi5 myself--yet--but that's not a function of the site so much as my current student base. One thing I have done, though, is to incorporate leading multinational options in my classes--say, when teaching online social networks or business apps.

In my experience, anyway, we really do seem to be getting to a point in the younger generation where the global perspective is standard, even when dealing solely with kids who've grown up in the U.S. I can always count on a fair number of students to be looking to interact or to work with people in other countries.

For any enterprise--non- or for-profit--with an international reach it seems to me this broader perspective is essential. It's an extension, really, of the same practical philosophy that says you need to be grounded in local culture and history when engaging in cross-border social reform. You are most effective when you adapt to where people are.

For nonprofits working, say, solely in the U.S., branching out like this might not be an optimal allocation of time for everyone, especially if they're struggling to incorporate Twitter, Facebook, etc. Yet at the same time, it could also be a relatively easy way to gain new perspectives on one's own work. For example, I learned a lot from a recent meeting with a group of nonprofit visitors from a certain Asian country, and now I'm thinking--after the semester ends, of course--of branching out in this direction online.

Speaking of bringing things together, that brings to mind another area that seems to be a Next Big Thing: social network aggregators. I've been playing with Yoono myself, which provides an accessible way to bring together Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed and such in an accessible web browser toolbar. (Pardon me if you've covered this here--I'm running on fumes about now!) This sort of thing is going to be crucial for me, and I imagine for some other folks too; the easier it is to access the tools all at once, the more likely I am to use them.

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