While my job here at Microsoft consumes much of my waking life, I spend a little of my spare time volunteering with a small charitable organization called HEAL Africa. They do work in the Democratic Republic of Congo healing victims of sexual violence from the ongoing civil war there. It’s a compelling story of how an organization is changing lives in an appalling situation, but I digress from the purpose of this entry.
One area they asked me to think about is how they can use social media effectively – a question that many charities and non-profit organizations wrestle with. And of course, it’s an area of great interest to evangelists like myself: an area that is a daily focus as we attempt to change perceptions of emerging technologies like IE9 and Silverlight.
So I thought I’d share a few thoughts here, both as a forcing function for me to distil a few ideas and hopefully as something that might be of interest to others.
What do you think? What would you add? What are your most effective strategies? Have you seen good counter-examples where the “accepted wisdom” is in fact the wrong way to engage?
Hi Tim, I'm Ruairi from Peace Direct, who publish the Insight on Conflict website. Many thanks for linking to our story. The work of HEAL Africa is indeed extremely inspiring, in some of the most difficult conditions on earth. Congratulations for volunteering your time to help them - I presume you help with their site, which looks great. And the tips for social media are excellent too!
Loved this and agree. Many of the "causes" I've seen are nothing but a waste of time. People don't seem to understand that even posting gripes about current events - with no intention of providing a solution or even a suggestion about what can be done about it does a lot more harm than good. Yes there are a lot of horrible things going on in our world but if I spend all my time seeing/hearing about every horrible thing over and over I'm going to become, at the very least, severely depressed. Like energies do attract and these are NOT the kinds of things I want to attract to me.
Great article, offering more insights that likewise articles.
One thing I would add is to supply a good Gravatar at gravatar.com and update a recent and decent picture to services that do not use that portrait. It only helps in humanizing your message when you actually use a photo in stead of your Xbox/Kinetic gameface or other comic or funny picture. It replaces the anonymous catch-all images next to your posts and comments with your real face. It adds to the openness and integrity you should represent.