Social Networks

This category contains 6 posts

Social Fundraising


A fascinating development on the internet is the current number of sites that aid individuals, groups, and organizations with the ability to raise funds for a range of purposes.

Instead of opting for the [formerly] traditional method of utilizing loan options from a bank or family members, many are now deciding to go directly to their core supporters for support; and it seems to work.

Some of these groups allow people to post requests for help – others deal more towards non-profit groups and community issues.

Make no mistake, though: this is a huge new field of opportunity, as a quick review of various solicitations will prove that many people are warming up to this ‘one-on-one’ approach to help.

What I really like about this, is that this is one-on-one. People supporting their friends, neighbors, and total strangers. It’s so refreshing to see this homegrown form of stimulus starting to take root on the internet, and I would urge you to visit these sites to learn more about this:

After all, you never know who you might meet…


Awesome? Me?

First, this is a great domain name… now that I’ve gotten past that observation, let me endorse your taking a look at this site.

What is ‘’ you ask? Another social network? Another entry into the glut of social media? Not really… though it does relate to social media/networking.

While most social media sites facilitate interaction, they do little in relation to the acquisition of new conversations/contacts.  In fact, the best description of their approach comes from them:

Although a few companies like Dell, Starbucks, and Comcast have shown some decent success in utilizing social media, but a study by Yankee Groups shows otherwise for most companies. Other studies show Facebook and Twitter do not bring in leads. Such channels can be used as channels to engage with your existing customers, but not as a tool for generating leads which has been seen as a discouraging data point. I am not claiming will completely fill that gap (at least not initially until some more features are added to the product), but certainly it is taking a first step toward that direction.

Social Networks and the Workplace

social networking sites

  • “technology is not just for the geeks, technology is part of our lifestyle…it is part of who we are. However, as we are all coming to learn, it’s not in what we have, it’s in how we use it that says everything about us.”
    Brian Solis 

Do you twitter while at work? Update your Facebook status? Yammer away at colleagues?How does this affect your performance – does it enhance or detract from your efficiency?

Many positions today require the use / integration of social media/networks in order to efficiently service their clients. However; does this integration represent a positive or negative for employers?

This can be a tough call – especially when you consider the paradigm shift in communication that has occurred over the past couple of years. Just as corporate leaders are getting used to email – the shift to social networks begins and the whole game is changing; leaving corporate policies in the dust…

While the inefficient use of social networks within a work environment can be an enormous time-waster, the question is: who determines the valid use within a work environment? It is often made by people who have little (if any) understanding of the capabilities of this new communication medium.

Other companies are rapidly utilizing social networking sites – in ways that could seriously affect you and your future career. A recent study stated that out of 2,667 managers and human resource employers, 45 percent reported they used social networking sites to screen potential employees. (

Be aware of the reasons for utilizing these networks within the parameters of your job, and able to show results that this interaction brings.

Publishing cute kitten photos while at work is not appropriate (unless you work at the Humane Society) – however: getting involved in conversations with people who are involved with your company/organization is a requirement. Be aware of how you / your company is perceived and act accordingly; interface with your clients in a responsible and pro-active manner, to ensure that their needs are met.

A couple of related articles from opposing sides of the issues:

Facebook and other social media cost UK billions
(By Paul Casciato, Reuters August 9, 2010)

Social media and the workplace: Dealing with a new phenomenon
(By James Chilton, The Daily News, April 15 2011)

New Media Driver’s License

New Media Driver's License Logo

image from website

Now that the holiday season has retreated, and my life is calming down a bit, I wanted to revisit the New Media Driver’s License course that I recently took at Michigan State University this past fall.  I’ve developed this blog to focus on Social Media/Networking – and this course really contributed to the excitement I have towards this developing field.

As an introduction to my background: I currently support an online MS program at MSU for the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

My interest in enrolling in the New Media Driver’s License course was centered around my career:  I wanted to ensure that my (and my department’s) efforts in social media marketing / networking were being utilized effectively. I’ve been active on the Internet since the mid-1990’s (when there were all of five or six people out there), but I wanted to make sure that I was headed in a direction that would be productive.

My initial interest was captured by the fact that it is offered predominantly online: there are only two classroom meetings – at the beginning and the end of the course. The rest of the material is shared in an online learning environment, and that is where the true strength of this course lies.

Derek Mehraban of Ingenex Digital Marketing in Ann Arbor, MI and Michael Lorenc of Google AdWords (Canada) are the two instructors of the course.  Their experience in the field is extensive, and they share this through a well-designed series of assignments that actually require you to become an active presence in social media.

This hands-on approach to the subject is where the learning happens. I’ve always been more effective in courses that involved me – made me participate in some way (as opposed to sitting and listening to lectures). That’s exactly what this course does, and the end result is a sense of proficiency and accomplishment that I’ve found in few educational courses.  Your assignments get you involved in the world of social media, help you create your online identity, make you feel comfortable in this electronic-relationship-building world of tweets, blog posts, and online conversations.

For anyone interested in social marketing, social networking, online relationship building – this course provides some solid information, helps you to develop effective and novel approaches to creating/marketing a brand identity, and provides a solid support system.

The final class meeting surrounded effective Powerpoint presentations, through utilizing style examined in the book Presentation Zen.  The students were asked to choose a company, and develop a 10 slide powerpoint that would effectively convey a marketing concept for the product/company/brand they selected.  These presentations were then posted to – and a selected group of them were shared with the class on the final day.

Check out some of the student work at the NMDL site.

I Survived…

Well, it’s over. The social media course that I was part of (New Media Driver’s License) at Michigan State University has ended. I survived. In fact, I did pretty well.

The fact that it culminated with a presentation in front of 150 students (virtually all of them at least 20 years younger than me) was mildly intimidating, but I pushed myself out there and did it.

You know what? I’m glad I did.

The course was outstanding in that it forces you to practice what you’re being taught. It gets you involved from the start, keeps you going, is clear in its expectations – and by the end of it, you sink or swim.

I swam.

And it felt good…

Getting to Know You…

(originally posted on my other blog – (b)logout )

I’ve always considered myself a ‘child of the ’60’s’ – and came across this cartoon from the legendary Robert Crumb (“Fritz the Cat” and thousands of underground comics) – whose vision of the future has become freakishly real…

Robert Crumb cartoon

For the past few months, I’ve been part of a Social Media class at Michigan State University – the New Media Drivers License course (see NMDL tab at the top of the page).

I went back to school, due to my current position. I am the point of first contact for two online MS programs at MSU, and was convinced that the department could use someone who was comfortable with the concepts of online marketing and social networking, in order to reach out and find the applicants who would benefit from these programs.

Now that I’m wrapping up the course, I’m really excited by the possibilities that exist online.

Blogging, tweeting, Facebooking – opportunities available to introducing our MS programs to a wide audience, are limited only by the inability to think creatively, about how to reach people who are interested what you have to offer.

Getting to know you is incredibly important. My responsibilities at work are varied (and enjoyable) – but reaching out to new applicants via networking online has been truly exciting. It has opened up the world to the department that I work for. Literally.  We continue to experience solid growth, generating interest in our offerings worldwide.

The people I’ve met are fascinating, their work is diverse, their reasons for expanding their education as unique as their fingerprints.

The New Media Driver’s License has opened my eyes to a world of possibility by interacting with a truly global audience.

It seems I’ve had an epiphany:  I love my job…

Going back to college (as I near retirement age) was terrifying initially; the first day of class, I was definitely the “elder” in the room. Then I realized that I’ve put myself in the same position as the applicants that I speak to every day. I’ve decided to expand my knowledge, and after some initial apprehension, I’ve discovered that it’s a lot of fun…

I love epiphanies…