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Weekend Wrap-up: What’s new?

September 18, 2009
  1. The School of Social Policy & Practice has launched their new website: http://www.sp2.upenn.edu. Congratulations to Lizza Robb, SP2’s Electronic Publishing Specialist and a current student in the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, who has done a magnificent job in amplifying the School’s web presence.
  2. Seth Godin, founder of Squidoo and author/blogger on marketing and new media, wrote an article on Tuesday, The problem with non, in which he criticized the nonprofit sector for not using social media tools the way for-profits have used them to communicate their message. Here is an excerpt:

The marketing world has changed completely. So has the environment for philanthropic giving. So have the attitudes of a new generation of philanthropists. But if you look at the biggest charities in the country, you couldn’t tell. Because they’re ‘non’ first, change second.

Of course, his post sparked responses from many nonprofit and philanthropy bloggers, writers, and insiders in the sector, including (but not limited to) the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Sean Stannard-Stockton of Tactical Philanthropy Advisors, Tom Watson of CauseWired, Steve MacLaughlin of Blackbaud, and Geoff Livingston of the BuzzBin. I might add, that I follow all of these entities and people (and many more) on twitter, a microblogging platform that Godin also refers to in his controversial article. He calls attention to the fact that the list of the Top 100 twitterers do not include nonprofits or charities.

But what does the number of followers mean- that everyone who is following you is actually paying attention? Or they clicked the “Follow” button and have just as soon forgotten your twitter handle? I’m reminded of a post by Lucy Bernholz on her Philanthropy 2173 blog back in April, Metrics are good. Unless they’re bad. In the article, she ponders whether twitter is meaningful only if you are retweeted, or if you have thousands of followers. I’m also reminded of Kris Putnam-Walkerly’s list of “90 Foundations That Tweet,” which seems to keep growing everyday.

The University of Pennsylvania and other Ivies have joined the twitter community, per this recent article in the Daily PennsylvanianPenn embraces Twitter for sharing campus news. The Center for High Impact Philanthropy has also been experimenting with social media and knowledge-sharing technologies: we have a presence on twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Wikipedia, Delicious, Xigi, SlideShare, and various others. The ongoing question is, how do we measure the social impact of social media? We welcome your thoughts.

Note: You can find the people mentioned in this article on twitter by the following twitter handles:

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