Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
The key to managing your RSS feeds is setting yourself up with a good reader. Google Reader is a great tool (and a personal favorite) to easily keep up with all your favorite blogs, but there are also a number of other subscription services available. These services pull the latest news and updates from all your favorite sites directly into one page, making information easy to manage. Once again, the folks at CommonCraft have another great video that sums it up in less than four minutes and provides a step-by-step how to set up your RSS feeds.
Although a little dated, this piece from Tech Soup gives ten solid reasons why the non-profit world should be using RSS feeds. The No. 1 reason on TechSoup’s Top Ten is top for a reason: RSS makes the web easier to read – saving all of us time. And of course, if your organization has a blog, having an RSS feed available to your readers, is critical if you want to get your site noticed and build some buzz on the Web.
You can get started by setting up an RSS feed of NeighborWorks news.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
That first paragraph reads so nicely because I lifted much of it from a press release that went out shortly after we launched the site. It's a very well-written, manicured introduction, but when contributing to a social or professional networking site, the voice of the contributor tends to become much more familiar, less formal...like this blog entry. I think that's part of the appeal of belonging to an online community. In fact, I find that the more conversational and relaxed users are with their tone on the site, while maintaining the appropriate level of professionalism, the more interested I am in reading.
Recently, we surveyed our site members to find out what they had to say about LeadersforCommunities.org.
“I love to hear what is happening across our nation in the housing market...I love being able to bump ideas off of others who may have already gone through what I am going through with my organization. Being young and new to the non-profit housing market, it is great to learn from seasoned individuals and organizations.”
“The opportunity to network with other non profit organizations has assisted in increasing my capacity and that of the organization.”
“Good platform for exploring our work and movement for change.”
These are the voices of our site members speaking to the impact a well-managed professional networking site can offer. This is why people join and engage. Users contribute, comment, ask, answer, and learn from one another. It reminds me of the model our instructor used in my Community Economic Development class to represent a well run community where capital circulates and helps the community to flourish. In this scenario, the capital is information and the members of the community are the ones who govern the process.
This is the part of the blog where my supervisor stops and thinks to herself, “Ah, very good grasshopper. You are learning!”
And, I am learning…as we all are. That's the whole point. LeadersforCommunities.org, as with many professional networking sites, subsists mainly on user-generated content. I learn from you, and you learn from me. That’s why it works.
Debbie Wise writes a blog for LeadersforCommunities.org called, New to the Neighborhood and this is her voice.
If one measure of an organization’s effectiveness is its ability to communicate frequently with its constituents, then an active blog is an important tool. Blogs have become one of the most powerful sources of news on the web.
Short for “web log,” Merriam-Webster defines a blog as “a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.” Probably the most straightforward (and ubiquitous) tool in social media, blogs are only as strong as their content, readership, and ability to connect with other sites.
While most successful blogs allow readers to comment on postings, blogs are noticeably more static than some of their social media counterparts. This static structure demands that bloggers keep their site interesting. While an eye-appealing web design and interesting topics (along with solid writing, of course) are huge, the key lies in keeping content fresh. (and yes, this blogger can attest to the challenge!)
According to EchoDitto, there are three basic keys to building a successful blog:
- Engage with other blogs and your own readers
- Keep the material fresh and exciting
- Give people a reason to return