As of March 23, 2009, I started my 9-month journey as the Visiting Scholar in Residence at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Under this program, the Foundation invites a mid-career professional, accomplished in their field to be in residence at the Foundation to be a resource to staff and complete a project to benefit the field.
What does that mean? Some of my time will be spent on Foundation work, including exposing Foundation staff to social media strategies and tools and assisting in the enhancing of some of the offerings of their Organizational Effectiveness program with services adapted to networks. My field work will include continuing to write this blog (infused with lots of new thinking and ideas, no doubt) and co-authoring a book. I will continue to do a limited amount of outside work, primarily the NTEN WeAreMedia Wiki project.
What does this NOT mean! I am not responsible for making any funding decisions. So please respect that. Also, what I write on this blog is my personal opinion just as I've been doing for the past six years. My writing on this blog does not in anyway reflect official Packard Foundation policy.
I am truly honored to have this opportunity for research and reflection on the effective use of social media by nonprofits and networks and be exposed to experts and thinkers here at the Foundation from many different disciplines. The staff at the Packard Foundation has given me a warm welcome and made me feel right at home.
Over the past 29 years that I worked in the nonprofit field, I've held many different titles, but never scholar. I looked up the term "scholar" in the dictionary. It has three definitions:
1: a person who attends a school or studies under a teacher : pupil
2: person who has done advanced study in a special field b: a learned person
3: a holder of a scholarship
My work here in a way embodies all three definitions. And while the term scholar implies "expert," it also means to be a learner. That's an important distinction for me because it is the key to using social media successfully. It's about constant and dynamic learning that is learning from doing and doing from learning.
On a personal note, over the next three months I will be commuting from Boston to Palo Alto and at the end of June my family and I will relocate to the West Coast. It is going to be a very busy time for me as I learn to navigate in a new environment! So, please understand that my email responses will be very slow and the best way to connect with me is via commenting on this blog or Twitter.
Speaking of navigation, for the first time many years, I am actually able to commute to an office by bike, walking, or public transit (5 miles each way). I am lucky that Stephanie McAuliffe lent me her bicycle, that Curt Riffle loaned me an extra helmet, and that Matt Sharp helped me figure out a bike route, so I'm now biking to work. On my first ride, I saw a hawk, got off the bike, and tweeted it. The prompted a couple of hawk riding a bike jokes!
I look forward to this journey and hope you'll enjoy coming along for the ride!