This week we read chapters 3 and 4 in Networked Nonprofits, called "Understanding Social Networks" and "Creating a Social Culture" respectively. In the previous chapters, they discussed the importance of social media in creating a successful nonprofit while these chapters discuss the logistical details and how to fully utilize social media to the advantage of an organization. I'll start by talking about chapter 3.
Chapter 3 starts by blunting stating that an organization can no longer think it is the most important thing around. People and other organizations are constantly moving and changing; your organization has to do the same or it will be lost in the world of social media. This chapter also introduces a lot of social media lingo that I am not familiar with, like "ecosystem" (in reference to social networks) which I think is pretty self-explanatory. These ecosystems are not random; they have structure. This structure is made up of nodes (people or organizations), ties (the connections between them), and hubs (larger "nodes" with lots of "ties", the influencers). Again, pretty self-explanatory. The hubs are the heavy-weights of the social media world. They are the ones with thousands of Twitter followers and Facebook friends. They are the ones whose blogs are read all over the world. Basically, they're important for a nonprofit to get the word out. Other social media definitions: core - the people who do most of the work, and power law of distribution - the imbalance that applies to most social networks where a small number of people have the biggest influence/do the most work. Finally the chapter discusses different ways to map an organization's social network. Mapping can be useful to realize and understand the different ties/relationships that exist and which ties don't exist but should.
The second half of this chapter talks about the importance of "social capital." Social capital is important because it is what makes relationships meaningful and is how you make real progress in creating social change. With social capital "two things generally exist: trust and reciprocity." This idea is elaborated in the next chapter that discusses creating a social culture.
Chapter 4 goes back to what we learned in introductory PR classes was one of the most important aspects of PR: relationships. This book, however, shows how relationships are changing. They are no longer just your neighbors and old roommates (though those are still important too), rather you can create and maintain relationship entirely online. But like with social capital, trust and reciprocity must exist. The basic qualities of a relationship are the same, whether in person or not.
This chapter also focuses on the idea that "social-ness" is more than just individuals using social media; it is the entire organization shifting the way it works fundamentally. An organization cannot just rely on young staffers and interns to handle social media. For social media to be used to its full potential, the leadership of an organization must be involved. Everyone connected to the organization should engage in social media. The book suggests that rather than making interns do all the work regarding social media, have them teach executives how to use social media so that they can use it themselves after the interns move on.