Online communication tips

For all the wonderful people I met today at the Triangle United Way’s communication seminar for nonprofits, here are all the links mentioned during my workshop:

In each case, the hyperlinked ‘example’ will take you to my own personal page on that site. One of the important aspects of online social networking is that individuals can create and manage their own identity with which to interact with the community.

  1. blogging
    There are so many tools, and the right just depends on what your needs are. The most social one is Live Journal, the absolutely simplest is Blogger, the most powerful is Drupal. MovableType and it’s hosted version TypePad are also popular. I usually recommend WordPress because it is powerful and flexible without being difficult to use. Free hosted blogs are available at (example – one of my wordpress blogs)When you blog, your posts go into a standardized feed (see ‘bloglines’ below), which can be understood by other sites.
  2. Technorati searching blogs
    This site collects, sorts, and indexes millions of blogs. You can use it to search by topic and to give your own blog a wider audience. You can automatically ‘ping’ sites like Technorati and tag your posts when you publish so that more people will be able to find your blog. (example)
    Save and organize bookmarks with tags, and browse the tags of others. (example)
  4. flickr photo & album sharing
    Upload and tag photos and add them to groups. Browse photos by personal contacts, tag, date, or “interestingness.” (example)
  5. bloglines aggregator
    Collect and organize RSS feeds. See how many other users subscribe to each feed. Now you can read (or at least skim) lots of blogs and other sites with feeds. (example)
  6. friendster the original social networking site
    Make your own profile, connect to friends, browse by connections, interests, geography, etc. Send announcements to your network, make matches between friends and colleagues. Facebook, tribe net, orkut, linked in, and my space are also popular with different communities. (example)
  7. wikipedia collaborative wisdom
    This is a great place to find information, on everything from global politics to new technology. You can contribute your own knowledge for public benefit, and even create new pages for topics you think are missing. (example – “nonprofit technology” entry)
  8. 43things sharing and supporting goals
    List your personal goals, find people with common goals and support each other. See also 43people, and 43places. (example)
  9. instant messaging
    As with blogging, there are many viable choices. For IM (instant messaging), get a multi-protocol client so you can use different systems with one application (Windows: Trillian, Mac: Adium or Fire). The different protocols or networks include: AOL, Yahoo, Google Talk.
  10. Internet phone
    VOIP (voice over IP) not only allows you to talk person-to-person for free, it allows for conference calling and other features. Skype is the most widely adopted, but Gizmo is also a good option.

With all of the examples above I have now given you 10 new ways to communicate with and relate to me and any of your potential clients, volunteers, activists, or donors!

Also, I did not spend much time on it, but I do highly recommend Jon Stahl’s suggestions for online communication planning. Even if you don’t use all of it, some will probably be helpful to spur new thinking.

Here is the “technology trap” that you should always keep in mind to help your organizations manage technological change:
The Technology Trap

And finally, here is a printer-friendly PDF of my presentation. Please enjoy!

5 thoughts on “Online communication tips

  1. Ruby, this is so useful. Thank you for putting this out there. Students always asked for advice on should they and how to use those internet resources in the workplace. Now i have an handout for them. Gracias amiga!

  2. Great article – thanks! One question/comment: why not mention the FOSS options for multi-protocol IM on Windows? I realize you’re trying to get new folks on board with these technologies, and so want to recommend stable, easy-to-use software. But both Miranda and WinGAIM are stable and easy to install in my experience.

  3. Hey, Ruby, I think you might be interested to check this out, and possibly add it to the list. Meta-Aggregator: combine all the social networks and Web 2.0 services together.

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