Friday, October 8, 2010

"the operative word: social"

This week we started reading our second class book, Networked Nonprofits. Though I've just read the first two chapters, I'm already excited about this book. I had no idea when I first bought this book what networked nonprofits meant. Now that I know, I think it is pretty awesome. The idea of empowering people to do their own work through an organization rather than telling people what to do is kind of cool. Scratch that - it's really cool.

Let's start off with the introduction. The book defines a networked nonprofit was an organization that "resembles a social network rather than a traditional stand-alone organization" in which "the foundation is devoted to building meaningful relationships with supporters that go far beyond asking for donations." I really like that comparison of a social network. It embodies the idea of public relations of, well, relationships. With networked nonprofits, the entire organization is defined by relationships rather than just the communications department. They take the philosophy of social media and apply it to all aspects of the organizations. This leads to "free agents." Like in social media, individuals have the power for social change and utilizing these free agents is a foundation of networked nonprofits.

This chapter continues to detail social media, its importance for social change and how it can be used. There are so many tools of social media (for example, Twitter, Facebook, wikis, blogs and YouTube) and so many different types of people who use these that an organization cannot just use one and cannot target one audience through just one medium. The successful use of social media relies on learning the strategies and principles of social media rather than the mechanisms of each one.

The chapter then goes over some myths about social media, but luckily, as one of the "millenials" talked about in the next chapter, I already knew all of these were myths!

Finally, I like how this chapter ends. It defines social change as "any effort by people and organizations to make the world a better place." I like this definition because it encompasses so many things that organizations do to make our society better.

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