The Third Tuesday liveblog from the Network Hub on Richards Street will begin at 7:00pm PT today. Please stay tuned for tonight’s speaker, Joe Solomon:
Joe will discuss amazing case studies of how nonprofits and social change makers are using Web 2.0 tools to get the word out and inspire action. Joe will also talk about his recent experiences working on the Knowmore.org Firefox Extension, which won 2nd place at the NetSquared Conference. [Meetup.com]
Update: Gathering at the Network Hub after a quick pint at The Century and securing my seat for the live blog. Reminding everyone to enter the door prize draw by dropping their business card or leaving a comment on this post.
Update: Tod is here with the intro and notes that those who participate and become a part of tonight’s dialogue could win a cool book prize. Joe is now sharing the fact that while we’re all here tonight, Barack Obama’s fan page on Facebook could hit 1 million fans. First item of business, what is social media?
Update: People who would like to connect for a common cause and get their message out to the masses have a lot to gain from using social media. “Social media is really about engaging,” states Joe.
Joe says he’s not going to talk about projects like ChangeEverything or happyfrog, but other options like meeting your users on Twitter, Facebook and Second Life.
(Case Study) Genocide Intervention went on Facebook and looked up constituents that were in a home state of a senator and encouraged folks to call up campaign donors of the senator to help press for change.
(Case Study) Another cause was trying to get a major cola company to use their distribution channels in the developing world to help spread the word about dehydration, alternatively they used Facebook and social media to have the same reach.
Update: Speaking about the reach of YouTube, “everything you know about viral videos is wrong.” Viral is encouraging users to make their own version and to pass it on. Joe says a great example is a Greenpeace video that encouraged users to record their own short clip of putting a message in a bottle and passing it from one side of the screen to the other. Stitched together, it looked like one long chain message in YouTube.
(Side note: Colleen has interrupted three times so she wins the book, “Ultimate Blogs” by Sarah Boxer).
Question from Raul: “I’m not on Facebook, how do you reach people like me?”
Answer: Email, traditional marketing and cross-platform. On the way here Joe saw a poster for “Green Girls Gone Wild,” be creative in the corporate world and include new twists to help your cause. Also, be authentic don’t try to spin something for a cause that doesn’t look sincere.
“We can learn a lot from successes but we can also learn a lot from the failures,” says Joe.
Update: On to Twitter, using the hashtag system (like Twemes) to find relative thoughts, emotions, feelings and initiatives. Imagine collecting data that was hastagged like #girlfriend, if you just broke up in a relationship, then rating your happiness on a 1 to 10 scale. You could track topics like depression and find other users to form a support group and reach out or at least bring awareness.
Joe mentions the Frozen Pea Fund and how it raised support, money, awareness and how it became a huge thread on Twitter.
Tod, “is [the success] because it comes from a person and not a corporation?” do campaigns like this have more effectiveness because they have an actual voice and an authentic person behind them?
Tod, “do we turn to our internal people and make them the commercial? Do we find people who happen to work for the corporation and celebrate them?”
Joe quotes the Wired article by Clive Thompson, The See-Through CEO: “All of which explains why the cult of transparency has so many high tech converts these days. Transparency is a judo move. Your customers are going to poke around in your business anyway, and your workers are going to blab about internal info – so why not make it work for you by turning everyone into a partner in the process and inviting them to do so?”
Update: On to widgets, “then something cool,” although personally I think widgets are cool. Widgets are embeddable on blogs and show instant numbers and results, examples: Every Human Has Rights and The Nature Conservancy.
Update: Moving on to browsers… Firefox. You can create wiki profiles that anyone can edit that are available in a browser extension when you Google a company. For example, you Google Wal-Mart and you can see how many responses there are about the company and their accountability. I remember this platform from a DemoCamp a while back I think it was called RaytTheNet (this may not be the same thing but it sounds similar, and it’s from Joe). I believe the new name is “Know More”.
Question: How do you moderate the entries and make sure there is no messages of pure hate for the companies? How to balance criticism and praise? Should we fear the crowd-powered content?
My question: Is this like RaytTheNet?
Joe: “No, because that failed miserably.” All comments are moderated on KnowMore and we bring the data to the users, RaytTheNet was too lop-sided in term of being user-friendly.
A comment from the audience looks for a case study or example of a grassroots campaign of which a major company caught wind then took it on, spearheading the initiative that was already grown from the ground up by the ‘crowd’. Some social causes might not want to give up their grassroots cause and hard work simply for cash and a big brand name – or will they?
Update: Final note from Joe, “I am for hire!”
Wrapping up now, Tod asks if folks would be interested in a meetup in August and a poll will be going out soon to the Meetup group. Also, the group is looking for a venue that would be free and have enough room for everyone (or at least somewhere we know we can charge and put out the notice ahead of time).
Last item of the day, Tod’s got a book swap err.. sale including a super deal on an Apple Airport Extreme.