30 October 2009

Friday Top 5

I'm not a big horror movie fan, but there are some good scary movies out there. In honor of the season, my top 5 favorite scary movies:
  1. Scream. The first - and still the best - horror/comedy mashup. Wes Craven, you're the man.
  2. Blair Witch Project. I know "nothing happens!" but if you've ever spent much time in the woods alone or in small groups, you can totally see something like this going down, and it will scare the hoo-has out of you.
  3. Psycho. It's a classic, and the first Hitchcock movie I ever saw, I think when I was in the 5th or 6th grade. Yes, I went through a period afterwards when I was afraid to take showers.
  4. Night of the Living Dead. The first - and still the best - zombie movie.
  5. Halloween. Yes, the original. How could I have this list and NOT include Ms. Jamie Lee Curtis, the scream queen?
Go get your spooky on!

28 October 2009

@DMAW Association Day

I'm at the Direct Marketing Association of Washington's annual Association Day today, facilitating a round table and then presenting on the Web and e-Marketing with Caroline Fuchs of SmithBucklin. Our session description is:

Join two seasoned association marketing pros as we present case studies of association and nonprofit marketing campaigns. We will discuss our experiences creating campaigns that integrate online options (email, websites, landing pages and microsites, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, mashups) with more traditional offline channels. And we will walk you through a variety ways to measure your outcomes, allowing you to adjust campaigns to achieve better results while they’re still in process.
It's not too late to join us if you're free today, and I'll post the slides and a recap early next week.

27 October 2009

Hospitals and Social Media

Ed Bennett, Director of Web Strategy for the UMD medical center, is one of the recognized experts on social media use in health care. Check out his latest presentation (complete with audio!):

26 October 2009

12 for 12K - Using Social Media for Social Change

One of the big problems in social media is that it encourage shallow connections. I was at a conference about a year ago where I heard a speaker complaining about the fact that their 35K FB friends didn't donate any money, and they didn't really know what else to do with them. People are happy to "fan" your page or install the Causes app, but they don't actually *do* anything for your organization.

12 for 12K aims to change that.

The group seeks to combine social media awareness and fund-raising to change the lives of millions worldwide. The goal is to raise awareness and funds for 12 charities over the course of 2009, with a new charity being supported every month - 1 charity a month for 12 months, $12K a month.

How are they doing it? Word of Mouth (which I'm helping with by this post :)

23 October 2009

Friday Top 5

Even though we have no kids, my spouse and I always make sure to carve a pumpkin around this time of year. And, per usual, it's on tap for this weekend. We try to be clever in what we carve. My top 5 favorite pumpkin carving ideas we've executed over the years:
  1. Pumpkenstein - complete with neck bolts
  2. Pumpcula - complete with fangs
  3. Have a Day - like the iconic smiley face, but with a line for a mouth rather than a smile
  4. Pumpcasso - 3 eyes, nose on the side of the face, mouth carved vertically
  5. Massacre on 7th Street - we made a fake knife out of cardboard, which was stabbed into the side of the pumpkin, with seeds & pumpkin guts spilling out of the mouth
Need some inspiration for your own carving? Check out Extreme Pumpkins.

Image credit: Photographic Society of America

22 October 2009


Independent Sector is challenging the nonprofit community to chart a "vibrant" picture of what 2020 will look like at FutureLab.

I quote:
We are challenging people across the nonprofit and philanthropic community to come together to develop transformative ideas that will make our organizations more powerful forces in creating the kind of society we all want.

FutureLab from Independent Sector on Vimeo.

What constitutes a good contribution?
  • Applies to the broad nonprofit community
  • Has a 10-year time horizon
  • Questions traditional assumptions
  • Breaks down existing barriers
Login and share your ideas!

21 October 2009

What I'm Reading

  • Baseball, motherhood, apple pie, and technology: Why Netbooks are better than Smart Phones. This article nicely captures why I chose the Macbook Air, at an admittedly considerably higher cost than either a Netbook or a Smart Phone. (Shout out to Maggie McGary for the link)
  • All the amazing posts from last week's blog action day. Be sure to check out the posts on whitehouse.gov, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown's blog, Change.org, the Huffington Post, Beth Kanter....
  • Will Xers just quit? It would fit nicely with our early 90s slacker image :)
  • The post that is perhaps the apex of the Xer meme Maddie started a few weeks ago. HEE! Kevin Holland's awesome.
  • Curious about what happened at the NACHRI annual meeting? Check out Connected Thinking, our conference blog.
  • Jeff De Cagna encourages us to quit trying to be relevant. Jamie Notter says be human instead.
  • Quick primer on how one association is using social media outposts for awesomeness in serving their members.
  • Planning a social media campaign? Read this first.

20 October 2009

Always the Last to Know - Google Insights

Find out what people are looking for, so you can help them find you - Google Insights can show you the way.

19 October 2009

Viva la Revolucion!

Again, shoutout to Leslie White for the link

16 October 2009

Friday Top 5

My second trip to Orlando in as many weeks has me thinking about vacation destinations. Not that I've had much time for relaxing, seeing as I was attending a conference and then helping run one, but I *wish* I were on vacation. My Top 5 favorite places for R&R (so far!):
  1. New Orleans (of course) - music, food, attitude - it's the place I truly feel at home
  2. NYC - buzz/energy, shopping, amazing walking city - it's the place I don't feel like I'm moving faster than everyone else
  3. Milan - rare pick for Italy, I know, but the eye candy (architecture, people, and shopping) just blow me away
  4. Paris - speaking of pretty...but my favorite thing about Paris is the incredible night life
  5. The All Tide Up - few things are more relaxing than hanging with friends on their beautiful yacht! The best boat to have is a friend's boat.

15 October 2009

Blog Action Day - Climate Change

I saw An Inconvenient Truth by myself in the theater shortly after it was released, back in 2006. It had a profound effect on me, as I suspect it did on everyone who is writing about climate change today. The most moving part of the experience, though, was the credits. Al Gore spends the entire movie building this overwhelming case that we're killing the planet. By the end of the movie, you feel ready to cash in the 401K and retire to a tropical island and await the end of the world. And then it finishes up with all these things people can do - can DO - to help, over a beautiful song written for the movie by Melissa Etheridge. We can act. We can change things. It makes me tear up even now.

So based on that and on my continuing theme of local action, I want to bring attention to programs that exist in and around the District to make change.
  • Capitol Hill Energy Co-op. Bringing solar power to the District, one house at a time.
  • If you do go solar (or wind) powered, Pepco has a GreenPower Connection program to allow you to feed electricity back into the grid (and reduce your electric bill in the process). The availability of green power through Pepco is a little fuzzy, but I'm digging for info.
  • DC Greenworks. Storm water management, with a heavy focus on green roofs and urban forestry. They'll work with you to get a green roof installed and help you navigate the DC government subsidy process for it.
  • River smart homes. Speaking of the DC government, this is project of the DC Department of the Environment to help manage storm water run off in ways that are better for our watershed and local rivers. DC DOE will also do a FREE home energy audit for you.
  • #2 on the Top 10 list of things you can do (at Climate Crisis) is to drive less. Despite some recent hiccups, the DC metro area has one of the best public transportation systems in the country: Metro! Take the bus (many are natural gas powered, which, while still a fossil fuel, emits very little carbon dioxide), save the planet.
  • #3 on the list? Recycle more. Did you know that in DC, you can recycle nearly everything? Not all of it is curbside, but the disallowed items list is very short.
  • Eating locally is the next step beyond eating organically. There are TONS of farmers' markets and CSAs in the DC area.
What did I miss? What else can we do in our local area to reduce our carbon footprint?

14 October 2009

What I'm Reading

  • What Mad Men tells us about millennials. This post provides an interesting take on the whole "I'm special" thing.
  • The Freak Revolution - I don't agree with everything in this (as a political scientist by training, I would never encourage people to opt out of civic engagement/voting/politics, for instance), but it does fit the "the master's tools will never dismatle the master's house" advice Audre Lorde shared so many years ago. (Shout out to John Haydon for the link)
  • The 3 key roles in social media. Do you know who's doing what at your org?
  • Acronym contributor Brian Birch identifies 5 things to think about for 2010. We usually don't see these until the end of the year. Couple of good comments, too.
  • Are you, unlike this blogger, reviewing and endorsing products for money on your blog? Andy Sernovitz breaks down how to stay in compliance with the new FTC rules.
  • I'm also finally reading the novel Sideways by Rex Pickett. It's fairly similar to the movie, but a little harder edged. I recommend it, particularly if you liked the movie.

13 October 2009

Paradox of Choice

I recently had the opportunity to hear Barry Schwartz speak. He's a professor at Swarthmore who is most well known for his work on the Paradox of Choice (I had linked to his TED talk on the topic about a year ago).

So what's the deal with the Paradox of Choice?

In a nutshell, we act as if the following syllogism is true:

More freedom = more well-being
More choice = more freedom
More choice = more well-being

In reality, it generally doesn’t work out that way.

So is choice good or bad? It’s good, but it’s not ONLY good.

Too much choice leads to:
  • Paralysis – just can’t decide
  • Bad choices – too many options increases one’s chances of picking the wrong one – people are not good at thinking through all the implications of complicated futures, don’t understand probability, don’t want to lose, and don’t want to spend money
  • Lower satisfaction – even if you choose well, you worry that you didn’t, feel the opportunity costs more acutely, and have escalated expectations (if there are many options, one of them should be PERFECT, rather than just good enough)
The severity of problem depends on whether one approaches choice as a maximizer (you want THE BEST) or a satisficer (you just want something that’s good enough). Satisficers are generally happier. Maximizers generally choose better but feel worse about their choices. And as choices become more portentous, we’re more likely to want to be maximizers, which means we’re less likely to be happy about the outcomes.

So what can we do? What’s the solution?

Schwartz postulates libertarian paternalism. Design a system so that people acting as expected will mostly get what they want but always allow them the ability to opt out. In a world with no limits, people end up disorganized, paralyzed, and unhappy. We need some constraints, but, as he points out, it’s very hard to figure out the right number.

I highly recommend following the link above to get to his TED talk - it's only 20 minutes, and it's definitely time well spent.

12 October 2009

09 October 2009

Friday Top 5

This tribute comes a little late, but John Hughes died not too long ago. His movies had, as for any Child of the 80's, a profound effect on me growing up. And, as my spouse has observed, most of the actors were actually in (or close to) high school when the movies were made AND looked and dressed like people you could actually, you know, know.

Hence this late tribute - my top 5 favorite quotes from John Hughes movies.
  1. "Not that I condone fascism, or any 'ism' for that matter. Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: 'I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.' Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus, I'd still have to bum rides off of people. " Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  2. "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Also Ferris
  3. "I can't believe I gave my panties to a geek." Sixteen Candles
  4. "Lake. Big lake." Also Sixteen Candles (and ties with "Oh sexy girlfriend!" which my spouse is known to warble at me at random intervals)
  5. "Love's a bitch, Duck. Love's a bitch. " Pretty in Pink
Nostalgic now? Check out this nice tribute at Salon.com.

07 October 2009

What I'm Reading

  • The much-anticipated SocialFish white paper on the top white label social media platforms for associations is out, and IT ROCKS. Go download it right now. I'll wait...
  • Ogilvy writes about how hospitals are quietly leading the way in social media, and children's hospitals are quietly leading the way among hospitals. Case in point? 18 of the top 20 hospitals on Facebook are children's hospitals! Go us!
  • I was going to write all about Sidewiki, but Mads beat me to it. Short version? You need to pay attention to this.
  • Lindy reminds us - once again - that social media requires us to give up control. But what should we replace it with? Clarity.
  • Jamie muses on forests, trees, leadership, hierarchy, mirco and macro approaches, and, ultimately, getting problems solved for members. Smart stuff.
  • Maggie busts the "house party" concept, big time (in the interest of full disclosure, I was the one who posted the video to FB, and if she does get selected, I'm first in line for shots), just at the time the FTC is getting involved in this issue too. Bloggers should not be corporate shills, and if they want to be, at least the FTC has said they have to own up. It's about time, and, bloggers, have some pride, yo.
  • Associations Now is doing more crowdsourcing - go vote on article topics that interest you!
  • NACHRI is big on consultants and theories and staff development and all that stuff that can be both good for the organization and bring out my GenX cynical/snarky side. Latest case in point? I just read Uniting the Virtual Workforce on my last business trip. "Virtual distance" is, apparently, our latest management concept. The warm-n-fuzzy part of me says that this can help us identify where breakdowns in communication are likely to take place and take steps ahead of time to ameliorate them. The snarky part of me says, "We needed an expensive (both in staff time and actual dollars spent) consulting engagement and a book to tell us that electronic means complicate communication and many people don't use them very well? In other shocking news, grass still green, sky still blue, gravity still working." The BIG training comes later, so we'll see what I think after we've dug into it more.
  • Finally, I'm just finishing up another great T.C. Boyle book, A Friend of the Earth. He is, if not my favorite fiction author, at least in the top 5. Delicious prose, clever plots, fairly dark outlook on the world. Yummy! If you've never read anything of his, I highly recommend him and I'd probably start with either Tortilla Coast or Drop City.

06 October 2009

Crowdsourcing Marketing Insights

Know anything about associations, marketing, and/or crowdsourcing? The ASAE Marketing Section Council is crowdsourcing the section newsletter, Marketing Insights.

How can you help?

Lindy lays it all out (and some of the options seriously take less than 5 minutes).

Go check it out - you know you want to....

05 October 2009

Always the Last to Know - WebAnywhere

Screen readers are a God-send to the visually impaired, allowing them to use the Internet. But what if you're blind and traveling without your own computer and need to check in for your flight or check your email on a hotel or other public computer? You used to be out of luck. But not now, thanks to WebAnywhere, a browser-based screen reader.

The inventor, Jeffrey Bigham, is one of this year's TR35.

02 October 2009

Friday Top 5

I'm currently in Orlando, and I'll be back here again in two weeks. Now, normally, I'm not a fan - WAY too much Disney for this childfree cynic - but I have to find some positives, or I'll go nuts. The Top 5 great things about Orlando:
  1. Sea World! Way cooler than Disney (sorry Mr. Mouse). Cheaper, too.
  2. NFi Studios! Hoping to see Sterling on one of these trips.
  3. NACHRI has two (soon to be three) great member hospitals in Orlando: Florida Hospital for Children, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, and (coming soon) Nemours Children's Hospital.
  4. This resort is the bomb-diggity.
  5. Spouse's best friend and all-around fun person Dave recently moved to Tampa, so I hope to see him, too, on one of these trips. (OK, Tampa was a stretch, but I'm really not a big Florida fan.)

01 October 2009

Video for Thought

Even though reports indicate that the recession is drawing to a close, the economic picture out there is still pretty bleak. Associations are justifiably concerned about our ability to recruit and retain members. And yet many of us are still doing the same old same old when it comes to reaching out to potential new members.

Not the Virginia Association of REALTORS:

VAR Infomercial from Virginia Association of Realtors on Vimeo.

What risks are you willing to take to create awesomeness in your new member recruitment plans?