Monday, November 19, 2007

Plugging In to Advocacy and Life

Well, I have been quite "unplugged" in recent weeks due to a crazy travel and work schedule. Thank goodness I had so many electronic gadgets to keep me focused and organized!

I know I haven't shared lately, but no worries. Here are a couple great pieces for the tech-savvy to enjoy:

I wrote a piece for the American Society of Association Executives (yes, the association of associations) on using social networks in advocacy campaigns. While the five tips outlined are oriented toward government relations and grassroots, they can definitely be useful for anyone hoping to get started in this brave new world.

For anyone who doesn't get Parade Magazine in your Sunday paper (or who doesn't read it), you might want to check out the online version. The lead story this last week was how technology can help you Get Connected! (hmmm, or maybe "Plugged In?). The main point of the piece was that people use technology to be active and involved in politics, meet people across the planet and organize / focus their lives.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Humane Treatment of Animals in a Virtual World

According to a recent Media Post article, the Humane Society of the United States (one of my favorite organizations) is partnering with to promote membership in HSUS with a new demographic. Users of the site will be able to learn more about HSUS and even purchase memberships for their avatars.

I find this one of the more innovative approaches I've seen an association take to member recuitment and retention (full disclosure, HSUS is one of my clients, although not on this project). It doesn't surprise me that HSUS would be a leader. They already have Facebook and MySpace pages, contirbute regularly to their vlog and podcast and their CEO, Wayne Pacelle, regularly posts interesting and insightful entries into his blog. I do have one small quibble. The blog isn't open, meaning that HSUS reviews comments and posts only samples. While I understand that they are probably a lightening rod for many groups and there are probably a huge range of negative comments, I'm thinking HSUS would be able to get more positive responses and viewers of its blog if they had an open comment policy.

At any rate, while for many of us a couple social networks a podcast and a blog might not sound so "cutting edge," considering the fact that many associations aren't even willing to set up a blog, HSUS seems to have it going on with the new technology.

Now if I could only teach my dog to listen to the podcasts. Then we'd be all set...

Monday, October 29, 2007

How did I miss it?

Did you know that last Friday October 27th, or today, October 29th, was World Internet Day? Yeah, me neither. Read more about it here, here and here. Interesting, though, that considering how connected we've all become through the Internet, no one really knew about it or celebrated it in any significant way.

Frankly, I'm not even sure who decided it was World Internet Day. And whoever did decide should have at least designed some cards, put together a gift-giving protocol and, of course, outlined an appropriate budget for the event. I have no idea how much I'm supposed to spend on my loved ones for this auspicious occasion. Where's the leadership?

I mean, geez, if we can all start declaring things, I'm going to declare this "World Give Stephanie 10 dollars Day" (or the currency of your choice). Has a nice ring to it.

Go ahead, send in the cash. Be part of the celebration

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'm glad this wasn't around when I was in College

Partida Tequila is hosting a "Tequila Confessions" site at Apparently, you can send in your story online and the roving tequila team might, when they're in your home town, come to your house and film your confession.

It's certainly an interesting branding technique -- relating your product to what might be some of the worst experiences of some people's lives. Sure, I love tequila, but there are some things I'm just not going to confess either online or on video. Let's just say that one involved Disneyland and the other involved the Japanese Embassy. That's all I'm going to say.

That said, I'm sure there are braver people out there that will enjoy this unique approach and I say "more power to them." Just don't drag me into it...

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Rich Read People Magazine Too

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I am a member of the "business elite" and "affluent." I don't really think of it that way, but according to new research I fall in to both these categories and am, as such, to be courted by businesses selling to the "well-off." (Rolex, here I am -- start marketing away).

The two reports, one from a Paris research firm called Iposos and the other from Monroe Mendelsohn Research define the "business elite" as anyone with a "C-level" title or their senior managers (Iposos) and the affluent as anyone in a household making over $85,000 per year (MMR). Well, I own my own business (Advocacy Associates) and I make a decent living, so I guess I qualify!

The more important finding from these reports, though, is that this group of people uses new media to a surprising degree. Those conducting the research expected, frankly, to find that the middle aged, white guys comprising the bulk of the business elite would have no use for blogs and the Internet. Turns out, they were wrong. In fact, nearly 1/3rd of business elite read a blog at least once a month, and almost 25% dowloaded a podcast.

But have no fear that we're getting too big for a britches in the "business elite" and "affluent" crowd. According to the report, our favorite magazines are People, National Geographic and Sports Illustrated. You'd think it would be Fortune or the Economist, but, well, that's just what we tell everyone else.

See you around the country club!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The iPhone Tsunami

It seems odd to me that Apple's announcement that it will open the iPhone to outside applications isn't on the front page of every online news source in the country. Sure, some publications like the New York Times and AFP have released short stories about Steve Jobs recent announcement. And, of course, Techie publications like Wired have covered it in a little more detail.

For those who missed it, Jobs says "Let me just say it. We want native third party applications on the iPhone." That seemingly innocuous statement will, in my opinion, open up whole new avenues for software developers and iPhone / iPod users alike. It's HUGE -- yeah, I know it doesn't seem huge, but it is.

Why? Because the iPhone and its cousin, the iPod Touch are more than just simple hand held devices. With their WiFi, e-mail, file storage and keyboard capabilities the devices are, in fact, mini-computers, and have the potential to operate as such -- especially if fitted out with some of the third party applications envisioned by developers. Imagine having all the functionality of your current laptop available in your iPod.

In opening up the possibility for developers to work WITH Apple (not against them), Jobs is part of a continuing positive trend in the Web 2.0 world. Larger players, such as MySpace, Facebook and Google recognize that in order to thrive they need to accept and embrace third party applications as opposed to control against them.

Sure, it seems like a new way of doing business. I mean, can you imagine Ford Motor Company unlocking the secrets of its production process so that outsiders could create new, better components for Ford vehicles?

But to me, what Apple and others are doing is building a new component into their brand image. That new component is called "flexibility" and its what successful companies must incorporate into their products and services to have any success in the future.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Well Past the Tip of the Iceberg on the TV/Computer Merger

So, it occured to me the other day that I have really gotten in to the habit of jumping online whenever and wherever we want. We have a wireless network in our house, so that rather than make the long trek upstairs to our office computer, I can log on to whatever sites I want from the safety of my couch.

Of course, I currently have to keep a laptop on hand downstairs to enjoy that luxury, but as more and more people are watching TV on the Internet (and starting to access the Internet from their television sets), I can see that changing.

I know, I know -- the merger of television and computer has been discussed for years, and I'm not saying we're there yet. But recent reports indicating that online television show viewing has DOUBLED in the last year has got me thinking this merger is coming sooner rather than later. In fact, according to a study by the Conference Board and TNS, close to 16% of American households who use the Internet watch TV online.

At first I thought that was just something those young folks do until I realized that my own husband -- a not very technologically literate boomer (he just learned how to text) -- watches some programming online, especially sporting events that aren't available on one of our 8.000 cable channels. If he does it, then we're past the tip of the iceberg -- we're in the thick of it.