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Michele Martin

Beth, what a meaty post with so much to chew on. I have thoughts percolating around exactly this issue of the intersection between the individual and the organizational after reading your earlier post on the Overbrook Foundation report. I'm hoping to get them crystallized for a post soon and what you have here gives me more food for thought.

In response to your final question, I do think that network effects will impact nonprofits as well. Almost a year ago I wrote a whole series of posts on nonprofit networking and at the time I was really intrigued by how poorly most nonprofits actually implement networks--lots of reasons for it, the biggest being that they usually form networks or partnerships in response to a grant opportunity. But if nonprofits start to have networks developing as a natural part of doing business in this kind of networked world, I think that the NPOs that figure that out will leapfrog over everyone else. Could be wrong, but I think that's the case. We'll see though.

Thanks for the great info!

Kevin Gamble

Thank you for the mention and the good read. Stowe has been on a terror of late, and I very much enjoyed your analysis.

I have had the same thoughts about the higher education community as you surface on the non-profits. We're all struggling to figure it out.

Rosetta Thurman


Thanks for connecting all of these ideas! What Boyd points out about hyperconnectedness actually being a tool for increased productivity really grabbed me. While nonprofits are so concerned with putting the time commitment into social networks, we also don't realize the value they could add to getting our work done faster and easier in the long run.


Terrific, thought-provoking post. Smart employers have always valued employees' connections and invested in helping them develop their professional networks by sending them to conferences, etc...

But there's something about digital connections that established organizations (rightly, I think) perceive as threatening. With online social networking, the individuals assume a higher profile vis a vis their employer than in the past. That undermines traditional notions of brand. Also, individuals most likely to take advantage of these opportunities tend to be younger -- and perhaps more prone to indiscreet or inappropriate activity under the "banner" of their employer. I understand why this keeps senior management at high profile organizations up at night.

But while I sympathize with established organization's reluctance to just let it rip, there's no putting the genie back in the bottle and they're going to have to adapt.

And while they struggle to figure this out, the upstarts in the long tail will continue to nibble away their once-unassailable dominance.

Michelle Murrain


Thanks for the great posts, and links. Although I am, of course, still a bit curmudgeonly on web 2.0 (getting a bit less so over time,) what came to mind about how this might translate to nonprofits is success stories. Find the concrete stories of the use of social media tools, and I think folks will begin to see how to put the pieces together.

That's one of the issues about open source software - people need to hear how other organizations have used these tools, and used them well. That will start making a difference, and also ease the anxiety factor a lot.

Beth Kanter

Great ideas. Eric, I'm struck by your rallying cry and I wonder if it would convince a senior management type or would they resist with a counter argument. If the latter, what would that argument be?

Given these adoption issues, do you think there is any low-hanging fruit to be picked with the use of social networking sites like Facebook?

social media consultant

truly the productivity of a firm will be effected as in Australia, if their workers keep on working on these platforms

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