August 27th, 2008

Natural blog cycle

I’d love to say that I meant to pause blogging, but I did not plan it that way. Now I think it’s maybe just the natural cycle of things. Maybe I should plan for blog obsolescence every 18 months or so, and move somewhere else, somewhere new; before my passion for writing begins to feel routine.

I’ve done my best to stay visible by consistently sharing stuff I feel is of value to others on Twitter, on Facebook and in face to face conversations.

I still should’ve let you know earlier… but I’m now blogging over here.

By Steve Bridger filed under blogging

Technorati blogging

November 16th, 2007

Buzz Director: the spacewalk metaphor


Confused by the title? It’s just another metaphor I’ve started using to describe how brands should distribute more trust to their communities.

I slipped it into this interview, which Geoff Livingston has published on his influential Buzz Bin blog. It gave me another chance to flesh out my previous buzz director posts.

Geoff has kindly shipped me a copy of his new book, Now is Gone, which I began to read on my commute today. I’ll post a review here in due course, but I can tell you I like it already… especially its emphasis on community building. Thanks, Geoff!

It’s good to be back blogging… more about that later.

Technorati buzz director, net2, online communities

July 18th, 2007

Group fundraising primer

Too much going on at the moment to blog consistently, which is a pity given that I’ve lots of things to say, regarding Facebook et al.

Anyway, this SlideShare version of Peter Deitz’s powerpoint presentation from yesterday’s webinar, Group Fundraising 101: From Benchmarks to Success Stories does a pretty excellent job of reviewing the current (and rapidly evolving) “Group fundraising” landscape.

Peter defines Group Fundraising as:

The process of gathering money and other gifts in kind over the internet,

by empowering individuals to covey the value of a program or project to prospective donors of their own choosing

through the use of blogs, widgets, images, video and social networking websites.

Technorati group fundraising, personal fundraising

June 15th, 2007

When pictures speak a thousand words

Meant to blog this last week, but other (actually, quite important) stuff got in the way.

Thanks to Britt Bravo for tipping me off (via Netsquared) about Amnesty’s Eyes on Darfur website, where it is asking supporters to monitor 12 villages in Darfur that they have deemed “vulnerable” to attack via satellite.

Eyes on Darfur - Amnesty International

And get a load of this.

Listen to the gasps from the audience as Microsoft Live Labs Architect, Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos Seadragon and Photosynth at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference in California.Is it just me, or is the pace of innovation speeding up by the day?

Hat tip to cxpartners.

Technorati eyes on darfur, flickr, microsoft, photosynth, seadragon

June 15th, 2007

Another shout for a Netsquared Europe

Amnesty’s Dan McQuillan has made a rallying call for a Netsquared this side of the pond – which could be an “incubator for web-enabled social change in the UK & Europe”.

An idea. Photo: LeopoldoDan identifies some possible goals:

  • To stimulate web-enabled social innovation
  • To create a an online-offline community for learning skills, sharing experiences and developing expertise
  • To sustain socially progressive activity through alternative business & organisational models

I like the emphasis Dan gives to “activism”, and “the organisational question” in particular…

Perhaps, like the second Netsquared conference, it could aim to incubate a new generation of web-enabled non-profits that use new forms of organising to deliver more directly on their missions.

There is a very real tension between where social media is taking us and how charities are responding (although there needn’t be). Web 2.0 requires Leadership 2.0. Surely two sides of the same coin.

All this may well dovetail with the initiative soon to be unveiled by Bertie Bosredon, the Head of New Media at Breast Cancer Care. Bertie gave me an update earlier this week.

Yesterday, I happened to get a call from Richard Saunders, who is head of website development at NCH, the children’s charity. He also hinted he would welcome a forum along these lines. And Rob Bowker at the BTCV has flagged his interest to me via this blog.

I also know from many of the conversations I had in Brussels last week that there would be an appetite for this elsewhere in Europe, too. Paolo Ferrara left a comment on my recent Buzz Director post to let me know that they are starting to unpick this concept in their own Italian context.

I hope many others will be up for it. But it won’t all be plain sailing; David Wilcox recently held up a mirror to reflect that in the UK at least, the sector has not always been good at being generous in this way.

I’m optimistic. At the start of the year, when I was considering some of the trends that might drive charities in 2007, I wrote that I was “thinking of co-organising an open-space event for those championing social media tools (and change management) within their organisations.” But Dan is right, this is much bigger than a single event.

I would only add that I’d like to see people from all ‘disciplines’ involved in this – I’ve had enough of silo-thinking .

Thank you, Dan; count me in.

Technorati innovation, net2, netsquared, nptech, nptechuk

June 14th, 2007

Communicating the soul of your non-profit

This is bloody brilliant.

A bunch of creative types in New York are hiring and did this video one night after work. You can see by the comments, that they’ve received no shortage of offers. Could this be a tactic for a non-profit to communicate the energy and passion of its staff to supporters and potential employees… or vice-versa?

Hat tip to Carnet Williams.

Technorati communication, connected ventures, video recruitment

June 9th, 2007

My Fundraising 2.0 presentation

On Tuesday (…it already seems much longer than that), I facilitated an “online fundraising” workshop for a number of wonderful development NGO-people in Brussels. We were all attending the Euforic AGM. Scarily, a few photos have appeared on Flickr.

Not sure how much sense my presentation will make without the narrative, but here it is anyway:

I peppered the session with examples of charities (and donors) already using social media to raise money for their causes. Participants raised some challenging questions. So challenging in fact, that I need to chew on these for a bit before I can adequately respond. And I didn’t really have time to work in my re-mix of David Wilcox’s card game. I have that for another time.

It was great to meet and talk with fellow blogger Paolo Ferrara, along with Agnes Philippart and Andreas Vogt of Concord.

All told, a whirlwind (and almost sleep-deprived) 24-hours, but I did manage an evening stroll around the Grand Place, fuelled by some Belgian sausages and washed down with a glass or two of Chimay Bleu in the company of Nancy White and Joitske Hulsebosch…to name just two. Many thanks to Peter Ballantyne for the invite, and to Birthe Paul and Martin Behrens for making it easy for me on the day.

Here’s the Slideshare link, in case the presentation doesn’t load.

Technorati concord, euforic, fundraising, giving

June 7th, 2007

Buzz Director: help me write a job description

Buzz Lightyear. Photo: Thomas HawkI thought it was about time to re-visit the role of the “buzz director” – flesh out the role I first floated last October.

This is especially urgent given that much of the action is now taking place away from your own (increasingly irrelevant) website, ‘out there’, in social networks and online communities.

A good example of this is the dispersed hoohah generated by the London 2012 Olympic logo. An immediate ‘loss of control’ if ever there was one. Ben Whitnall asks whether the powers that be will be happy to engage with the debate where it is already happening (e.g the 100+ groups set up on Facebook in the last few days)… or will this be a job turned over to the suits and bean counters in the Ministry for Herding Cats?

Through this post, I’ll ping Jeremy Gould, who hints that heads of “e-communication” in government departments regularly re-assess their “roles and skillsets” now the goalposts have moved. But I reckon this awareness is unlikely to have yet ‘trickled up’ to the accountants.

Another favourite blogger of mine, Jeremiah Owyang, has also chipped in with some suggestions.

Last month I noticed that Shane Atchison included elements of the buzz director role in this post describing what a “Social Network Analyst” might do. I emailed Shane via the ClickZ website. Hope he received it.

Perhaps the “buzz director” label (which was always just a working title) sounds too marketing-centric; I don’t mean it to be; buzz directors need to be able to apply this thinking to online communities and activist networks. I’m talking ‘people’ rather than products.

Anyway, I’m going to quickly throw down some further thoughts. I fear they’ll come out in no particular order, but you’re invited to help me knock this into shape by commenting below. I’ll also set up a wiki (Update: here’s the link).

Oh, by the way… when you do come to recruit for this role, consider putting the word out like this!

Job description

You will:

  • Learn how to be in more than one place at once!! i.e. not just a space ranger but a ‘ranger of spaces’.
  • Co-create targeted engagement strategies with appropriate colleagues, especially social reporters and community technology stewards (if you have them), brand ‘ambassadors’, and ’cause evangelists’.
  • Bring the senior management team with you; earn their respect and backing.
  • Photo: Steve BridgerDevelop and coach on tactics, seeding networks, ‘brand’ positioning, etc.
  • Expect the unexpected, and be resourceful in responding in the moment. Improvise.
  • Funnel organisational strategy into focused activity.
  • Be pivotal in mapping the organisational structure onto web innovation.
  • Be generous. Eat like a bird, poop like an elephant.
  • Recruit virtual volunteers and sprinkle confetti liberally, so that you yourself can leave a ‘light footprint’.

Photos: Marta Motti & Anna Pleteneva
Photos: Marta Motti and Anna Pleteneva

  • Identify and define new measures of engagement, social capital and social impact.
  • Encourage culture of collaboration and joined-up thinking and confront ‘silo’ thinking wherever you encounter it.
  • ParachutistsCall on ‘peace-keepers’ (strictly non-combatants) to follow guidelines (which you yourself have drawn up co-created with key stakeholders.
  • Pull the highlights from the ‘dashboard’ [see below...] and prepare monthly reports of activity and impact. Distribute widely within the organisation and beyond.


  • Be able to see the wood from the trees and ideally have an eye for visualising data.
  • Be the consummate diplomat and demonstrate the ability to slip into the role of chameleon or conductor when appropriate… and very very occasionally don an invisible cloak (but leave dagger behind).
  • Show good judgement.
  • Some legal nous would be desirable, as would be the ability to conduct risk assessments around ‘user-generated content’.
  • Know how to take calculated risks.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Be inspired and inspire others.
  • Coach.
  • Possess a sixth sense.
  • Be as light on your feet as a prizefighter. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
  • Instinctively recognise when serendipity occurs; capture it, bottle it… and pass on the recipe.


Back in the 1980s we had the press cuttings service (as well as the telephone tree). New functions and responsibilities require new tools and devices.

Ed Mitchell, Nigel Dunn and I have been discussing the concept of a “dashboard”. Now, none of us is absolutely certain yet how or what to measure – well, not everything – although I think we’ve got a pretty good foundation.

Bear with me. I visualise this dashboard as a ‘virtual’ mixing desk… with levers and buttons, dials, green and amber lights, a few scary red ones, a built-in early warning system. Basically, this ‘thing’ would be so cool that nobody will want to be without one. Not if you’re a buzz director, anyway.

Mixing desk

The dashboard would reflect the different activities and behaviours around ‘your’ cause. It would aggregate all the conversations (see Pageflakes, Netvibes, and coComment), but be much more than that.

Check out London-based Onalytica who have updated their website. It now features live graphs offering – as they put it – “an unprecedented X-ray of the stakeholder universe”.



Right, need to set up that wiki…


Caveat: this is a work in progress.

Technorati buzz director, community dashboard, net2, nptechuk, social media measurement

June 1st, 2007

Doing things together…

What is Language? by Dave Gray. Publsihed with permission

Dave Gray’s Communication Nation blog is always one that jumps out at me from my rather cluttered web feed.

Dave has just created this neat little image following some conversations he had with Stefano Mastrogiacomo, and from this book that Stefano lent him.

Perfect for a Friday!

Technorati communication nation, language, visual thinking, xplane

May 31st, 2007

Blogging the impact of giving

Suddenly Sudan blog screenshot

Thanks to Steve Andrews of Whitewater for this post pointing to a terrific example of how Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) is using blogs to put donors directly in touch with the work they’re supporting.

Canadian doctor, James Maskalyk, is working for MSF in Abyei, Sudan. He is writing a blog about his experiences. It’s truly inspirational stuff; particularly because it comes directly from him in real time, not in a sanitised quarterly charity newsletter. He shares his doubts, his fears, his hopes and his triumphs. He happens to write beautifully, but it doesn’t matter when he leaves uncorrected typos or uses poor grammar. Because it’s real.

Here’s the link to Dr. Maskalyk’s MSF blog.

One commenter / donor wrote:

I have been a monthly donor to MSF for some time. On Tuesday, I will ramp up by contribution, because I have a house, a job, a healthy beautiful sometimes-maddening daughter, a garden, rain, food – and hope. I wish I could give those things to the mother whose baby you tried to save. I cannot, so I will do what I can.

Steve titles his post “Real Close”, which I think is right on the money.

Technorati blogging, msf, net2, social impact, sudan