30 June 2011

Here Comes Clay Shirky

Another entry in my irregular "What I highlighted and why while reading Here Comes Everybody" series.
Now the highly motivated people can create a context more easily in which the barely motivated people can be effective without having to become activists themselves.

Shirky, chapter 7, page 182
This can be encouraging or discouraging, depending on how you look at it.

On the "yay!" side, it used to be really hard to organize people for collective action whether against something negative or for something positive. If people were going to help, they had to really commit. Which really reduced the population of potential supporters.

On the "boo!" side, now it's really easy to "support" things, particularly through social media. But what, if anything, does adding a badge or twibbon to your avatar or changing your status for a few hours accomplish, either in you or in other people?

The real question is: what are those weak ties we tend to form in social spaces truly worth? I don't know that anyone has a fully satisfactory answer yet.

29 June 2011

What I'm Reading

  • As a community manager, it's important to match your tone to the tone of your community - in other words, don't be excessively polite/formal if they aren't, or you'll sound like a doofus.
  • Social comes inside the organization (according to Cisco, anyway, which given their relationship with Quora might not be totally unbiased advice).
  • Creating versus curating - which are you doing? Which should you be doing?
  • Advice from the master (Guy Kawasaki) on being a better presenter. Personally, I tell everyone the 10-20-30 rule.
  • Diversity: shut up and do the work.
  • Jamie Notter encourages us to be learners, not learned.
  • I'm still working my way through Gardening at the Dragon's Gate and currently enjoying the chapter on composting. I'm also still working my way through Ego and Archetype. I've been taking it slow because I've been reading it a chapter a month with a friend and then getting together to discuss. It's an excellent way to be introduced to Jungian psychology, particularly since my friend knows a lot more about it than I do.

28 June 2011

Unplugging, part....3? 4?

It must be that time again. A friend and colleague is updating a resource for ASAE on timesavers to promote work/life balance, and it got me thinking about some of my principles for work/life balance more generally:

Give yourself permission to set boundaries. Do the same for your staff members.

Beware false urgency – just because you *can* respond in 30 seconds doesn’t mean you need to or should.

Your smartphone is supposed to serve you, not the other way around. Unless you’re an obstetrician, under indictment, or the President, default to turning off email synch outside work hours.

Spend some time away from technology every day, even if it’s only a few minutes, and outside if possible.

Read for pleasure as well as business.

Have a sanctuary in your home with no smartphones, tablets, laptops or TVs. Mine is my bedroom (which also promotes good sleep hygiene), but it can be your den, a meditation room, your workshop, workout space or sewing room, your back porch, the spot where you eat breakfast, etc.

When you go on vacation, GO ON VACATION. Trust your staff to be able to handle things in your absence. Don’t check in. Make sure at least one person knows how to reach you in case of a true emergency, and make sure that person can actually determine what constitutes a true emergency, and other than that, demonstrate your confidence in your employees’ abilities.

Have at least one absorbing hobby or outside activity that has nothing to do with work. I learned this one in grad school. I was in an academic program, which has a truly unique and odd set of pressures, and I quickly noticed that students who had nothing major in their lives to offset grad school tended to lose perspective on a regular basis. You will, too.

Get some exercise. You don’t have to get up at 5 am every morning to train for an Ironman, but find some way you enjoy moving your body and do it on a regular basis. What constitutes “regular”? That’s for you to decide.

Remember: attention doesn’t scale. Choose carefully where you spend your limited supply.

What do you do to ensure - or at least promote - work/life balance? What does that concept mean to you?

Image credit: grendelkhan

27 June 2011

Always the Last to Know: ShortStack

Hate trying to program for Facebook, but want custom tabs anyway? ShortStack to the rescue. It's also useful for creating custom widgets and for team administration of pages.

24 June 2011

Friday Top 5

Now that school is letting out, we're moving into the height of tourist season here in DC. My Friday Top 5 is in their honor: Top 5 Tips for Visiting DC
  1. Don't all dress alike. Street crime is WAY down from where it was several years ago, but you really don't want to make yourself any more of a target than you already appear to be just by virtue of moving in large herds.
  2. It's hot as HELL, we know, but remember that many of the sites you're likely to visit command a certain level of solemnity. Dress appropriately, please.
  3. "The Mall" doesn't have shops (yes, that's an actual question I've answered).
  4. The big pointy thing is the Washington Monument. The big domey thing is the Capitol Building (yes, that's another actual question I've answered).
  5. Thanks for visiting and spending money in our city, really, we appreciate it and could use the revenue, but for God's sake remember it's stand RIGHT, walk LEFT.

23 June 2011

Peanut Goes to Washington

Every year, N.A.C.H., NACHRI's affiliated 501(c)6, runs an advocacy event where government relations staff at our member hospitals bring patients and their families to DC to advocate for children's hospitals. One of our participants from last year, Joey "Peanut" Benton, was interviewed for a news segment that recently won an Emmy! Check out the segment below.

22 June 2011

What I'm Reading

Happy Take Back Your Lunch day. I ate at the small table in my office while reading some articles in Associations Now, but I did go for a 30 minute walk as part of picking up my lunch.

Anyway, lots of good stuff this week, as it's two weeks' worth of reading:
  • Think your brain doesn't develop any more past childhood? Think again.
  • Two weeks ago, Jeffrey Cufaude started a series of posts on creating a more sustainable self. So far, there have been two entries: one on learning appropriate limits on responsibility and one on learning to say no.
  • Can Apple and Twitter break Facebook's stranglehold on social sign on?
  • How can you tell if your online community is succeeding? FeverBee has some ideas.
  • "Disruptive hypotheses" are the keys to innovation. Here's how you create one.
  • Do you network within your organization as well as you do outside it?
  • Breaking news: substance still more important that flash.
  • Slashdot argues that not only should they not be penalized or prohibited, but Google has a responsibility to create dummy accounts to spider Facebook to help us all see the holes in our privacy settings.
  • Just in case you weren't already convinced, Maggie McGary (writing for the Social Fish) provides yet another reason why silos are harmful.
  • Deirdre Reid is doing a great series on writing for the web, with reminders and advice we could all use.
  • Shelly Alcorn has posted the final entry in her Words Make Worlds series: advocacy v. storytelling.
  • Having friends, fans, and followers is great, but do you know how to ask for the sale?
  • Getting more out of your "like" button.
  • Don't be afraid to apologize.
  • Philanthropic giving *appears* to be recovering, but what's below the surface?
  • The goal isn't to capture the email address - it's to continue the conversation.
  • A dear friend and fellow gardener gave me Gardening at the Dragon's Gate by Wendy Johnson as a birthday present this past spring, and I'm finally reading it. By the end of the introduction, it was clear how much the book has influenced my friend's approach to gardening, and so I'm enjoying the book on two levels, both for itself and also for providing insight into my friend. I think the book that's most profoundly affected my approach to gardening is probably Noah's Garden by Sara Stein. Both are excellent resources on working with your land and watershed.

21 June 2011

Slave to...my smartphone?

A long-time Palm Pilot user, I recently upgraded to a smart phone. I had delayed for a variety of reasons:
  1. I tend not to throw out any tech devices until they actually stop working.
  2. My Palm and my dumb phone were both still in good order.
  3. I was worried about a smart phone turning into an electronic leash.
When my dumb phone gave up the ghost in the beginning of December, I knew my days were numbered. Fortunately, my spouse had an even older but still functional dumb phone that (amazingly) was able to hold a charge after being stored in a drawer for quite literally years, so I popped in my sim card, charged it up, and could still at least text and make calls. Of course, the phone was about the size of a shoe, but....

After about 6 weeks of considering my options, I choose an iPhone in mid-January.

Here’s what I’ve learned in the intervening months:

I have a bunch of apps (nearly all free), of which I regularly use only a handful.

That handful of apps is really, really useful.

I can work from anywhere now.

But I don't have to. I am rigorous about turning off synch of my email outside business hours.
The Kindle app is really handy if you find yourself unexpectedly having to wait somewhere. But make sure you're reading a book of essays or one that you know well, since there will be a lot of picking up and putting down a given text.

I still need my iPod, because I have WAY too much music for even my 32 GB version.

I still miss my Palm, because I still haven't found a satisfactory method for managing both personal and work tasks and calendars in a way that keeps them separate but lets me easily see both at the same time.

AT&T sucks.

By the way, the Oatmeal (and there is no greater authority) is with me on this one.

20 June 2011

Always the Last to Know: BackTweets

Twitter analytics are not for the faint of heart. Enter BackTweet, an analytics platform from BackType that allows you to measure statuses, mentions, replies, retweets, impressions, reach, and follower growth and even integrate with your Google Analytics account.

12 June 2011

In Memory


March 28, 1995 - June 11, 2011

We named her for the Egyptian Goddess of Joy, which is what she brought us for 16 years.

Her memory will be a blessing.

10 June 2011

Friday Top 5

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a retirement party for a colleague and friend at the first association I worked for. I actually moved to DC in 1997 to take the job, and I've been here ever since. I spent 7 years at the organization and formed many friendships there that continue to this day, although I don't see that crew nearly as often as I'd like.

Top 5 things that are great about catching up with old friends and colleagues:
  1. Seeing how much everyone has changed
  2. Hearing how much we're all still the same
  3. Telling - and laughing over - all the old stories again
  4. Knowing that this probably means we'll all get together "just because" in the next few months
  5. Getting a chance to celebrate a truly excellent person (at least last night)

09 June 2011

Ever Been Treated by a Pediatrician?

There's this thing called Children's Hospitals Graduate Medical Education (CHGME) funding. It amounts to a few hundred million a year, so a drop in the proverbial federal budget bucket, but it's critical to the hospitals that train upwards of 40% of all pediatricians (yes, including the person you take your toddler to for treating the sniffles and getting vaccines) and over half the pediatric specialists (aka, the people who know how to treat really sick kids) in the US.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Congressional Republicans are in budgetary slash and burn mode, and Obama hasn't been doing much to stand up to them. He even proposed ELIMINATING CHGME in his FY 2012 budget.

Our public policy team has been working like maniacs to undo that damage, putting together a bipartisan coalition to support the program over the last few months.

Well, it's up for a vote NOW, and we could really use your help. What can you do?
  • Send a letter to your Representative and Senators. There are lots of places you can go to do that, but you can also do it through the N.A.C.H. legislative action center.
  • Send a message to Congress through Facebook (aren't we high-tech)?
  • Follow N.A.C.H. on Twitter to stay up to date on this issue (hashtag #CHGME). 
  • Help us spread the word by sharing those links or this blog post on your own social networks.

08 June 2011

What I'm Reading

  • Two good pieces from Jeff Hurt, both related to association membership: one on the myth of exclusivity and the other on membership and millennials.
  • Buttons,  buttons everywhere. Legibility of your website? Nowhere to be found, dude.
  • 10 mistakes you  - yes, you, reading this - are making in digital marketing right now.
  • Talk about making the punishment fit the crime.
  • Twitter: embrace the chaos (by the way, this is really smart, and the use of the term "panoptic" makes my little social-scientist-by-training heart flutter).
  • Just finally cracked the April issue of Associations Now, and I'm blown away by the goodness. I want to read pretty much every article, after which I know I'll need to read the Hourglass Blog's responses to Jeff De Cagna's article on (what else?) innovation. 
  • And I'm trying NOT to read the weather forecast. If I wanted 100 degrees and 90 percent humidity, I'd move to Houston (actually, probably not, but you get my point).

07 June 2011

A Red Tie Affair

If you read this blog regularly, you should definitely be familiar with the fabulous KiKi L'Italien, Delcor senior consultant, makeup artist to the stars (and belly dancers), and all around amazing person.

You might not be aware that she's also from Joplin, MO.Yes, the same Joplin that was recently devastated by an EF5 tornado.

True to form, KiKi is not only not taking this lying down, she's mobilized her community (that would be us, people) to put together a benefit Monday, June 13 from 6-9 pm at Union Station here in DC.

The benefit is being billed as a "red tie" event, and will feature southern cooking, live music, and a presentation by families struggling to rebuild their lives and community. Proceeds will benefit Habitat for Humanity.

I trust I'll see you there?

06 June 2011

Always the Last to Know: Twilert

Ever noticed how Google alerts seem to pick up items from Twitter WEEKS after they were tweeted? Ever get tired of trying to keep track of a bunch of hashtags and key words in your current Twitter platform, most of which aren't really set up for that? Enter Twilert, aka Google alerts for Twitter. Your desired search terms come to you via email, but on a far more timely basis that Google alerts seem capable of managing.

03 June 2011

Friday Top 5

This weekend is the annual Louisiana Swamp Romp at Wolf Trap. We go every year, and the group gets bigger and bigger. We're attempting to annex the entire right side of the lawn. It's always a good time, but there are some things that stand out. My Top 5 Favorite Memories from Swamp Romp:
  1. Dancing with the guy in the wheelchair (see photo, right)
  2. Slip-n-slide the year it rained (until the Park Service shut us down)
  3. Hooking up with Team Crawfish for the first time
  4. Marcia Ball singing "Louisiana" the year after Katrina hit
  5. Every year when Jim yells: "Who wants a mint julep?" to the crowd around us, and people realize he's serious.
Not doing anything Sunday? There's still time to join us...

02 June 2011

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Per my usual practice, today I'm giving a presentation for the Association Media & Publishing annual meeting with my colleagues Sallie Strang and Nicolette Daleske, and I'm posting all the resources we reference here.
And, last but not least, the slides:

01 June 2011

What I'm Reading

  • Is Apple actually a religion?
  • Maddie Grant rounds up the recaps of BlogWorld Expo (I really have to go to this some year).
  • Why rejection can be a good thing.
  • Between books at the moment, but I have a few good ones waiting in the wings. Any recommendations for excellent summer reads?