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« Mashable Post: 4 Ways Social Media Is Changing the Nonprofit World | Main | The Twitter Book: Must-Read Book for Simple, Practical Advice »


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dave cormier

I don't know why I just don't come here and read your blog before i go off and 'think' things.

I wonder this too. wrote a long comment here talking about this.

What exactly are they trying to do... do they know i wonder.

Wendy Kloiber

Would be really interesting to know if there's strategic thinking behind this or if someone just said "Hey, we should open it up on YouTube! That would be cool." (It IS cool, but that's only because it's novel. Five years from now, if there's not a real way to harvest insights, it'll be cynicism-inducing.)


why youtube? Is there need for other reason rather than because its by far the most visited, it has other institution's brief isnt it the fastest way to have your video social network up and running?.

James G. Leventhal

I am interested to see that using YouTube like this, feels like doing something else all together. And I am not sure what I mean by that.

I'd be very interested to see how the Smithsonian has diagramed all of this. Why is YouTube different? In what quadrant does it reside?

The Smithsonian has been very effective, thanks in large part to Mike Edson, Nancy Proctor and others in embracing technological engagement.

This feels like "network t.v." somehow to me. Is it the production value -- the look and feel? Is it YouTube itself?

Is twitter neat because it's more lo-fi w/lots of cutting and pasting?

Wendy Kloiber

Thanks for the invite to come back and look again!

The answer to Dave Cormier made me start to think of a taxonomy of usage of social by nonprofits. (Like him, I'm worried I should check your archive before I go "think" something - but here goes anyway.)

There's a stage of full-on, two way, strategically optimal use (Obama campaign) that actually is crowdsourcing work.

There's a stage of partially two-way use that is intended to broaden existing conversations and evangelize social internally as well as evangelize the institution externally (Smithsonian; the student-run blog I'm pushing for in my school district.) Work at this stage isn't actually being "crowdsourced" - there's still a gatekeeping person sifting/winnowing/featuring on the back end - but opportunity for input has opened way up.

Last there's a stage of one-way use that uses social to simply replace an earlier tech within a traditional public input process. (Smithsonian originally looked like this, but the response to Cormier makes it two-way.) Out of system responses such as Cormier's aren't tracked or answered; systemwide evaluation for more advanced/optimal ways of using social aren't explored afterwards. A one-shot.

Fun to see what the Smithsonian had to say: essentially, no, this isn't fully strategic; we're experimenting/learning. That's a fine answer. Good for them!

Dylan Johnson

Two other museums currently using YouTube in creative ways:

Brooklyn Museum -
Mattress Factory -

Nina Simon

The wiki effort ( is particularly impressive. Mike Edson is doing a great job making the new media strategic planning as open and accessible as possible. The Smithsonian is a HUGE organization with many different opinions and authorities. This content is just as much (if not more) for internal audiences as external, which affects the messaging. They are doing internal selling in a public venue, which ups the stakes but also keeps the pressure active, due to all of us interested outsiders!

Michael Edson

(thought I posted a comment earlier but it's not showing up... Moderated, or user error?)

My colleague Marc Bretzfelder did a nice job on the westmuse blog describing the motivation and circumstances behind the youtube contest. It's really just one idea we decided to try, somewhat serendipitously and spontaneously (for us), in support of the overall web and new media strategy process.

The main focus of the strategy process currently underway is the public-facing wiki that Nina mentioned, . (I need to do a better job of linking the wiki and the youtube contest to each other and making the connection clearer. Tomorrow.) I encourage Beth's Blog readers to join the wiki and weigh in. Chief Wiggum said something to the effect of "if you don't tell me how to do my job I'll never know."


Beth, first of all thanks for sharing all this usefull information with us. It is wonderful to see that this site with its blogs and comments provides such useful knowledge.

I tumbled on this article Smithsonian: Crowdsourcing An Institution's Vision on Youtube describing the use of youtube and crowdsourcing. I would like to add some useful information about a platform, where I am working that is using the same features. Pifworld, which stands for Play It Forward for a better world, is the online social network platform that connects people and charity worldwide.

The principle behind pifworld is crowdsourcing; a lot of different people donate small amounts to make social projects possible worldwide. You don’t need to be rich or famous to contribute to positive change. Secondly people who like specific projects can become an ambassador and promote their favorite project through social networking principles. At last supporters and ambassador are being kept involved through video updates through youtube and personal involvement.

Pifworld is only launched some weeks ago, and I guess it is very interesting for the people following Beth’s blogs, since all the new features involving online fundraising, like new technology, video, social networking etc etc are used in pifworld.

You can check out the website through: If you are interested and want to know more and have any tips or feedback, feel free to contact me on [email protected]


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