#Aging: AARP Flips, Then Flops, On Defending Social Security During Budget Debate

Franklin Roosevelt signs the Social Security act of 1935

Bipartisan Support in 1935

The American Association of Retired People (AARP) was founded in 1958 to further the political, economic, and social needs of Americans 50 and older. The association was established to present “collective purpose, collective voice and the collective power of the 50 and over population to change the market based on their needs.”

One of the many political battles the AARP has fought over the years has been in defending Social Security, itself established in the US in 1935 after over a half-century of political and economic upheavals. Social Security has, arguably, been the most successful government program that did not involve war. As Paul Krugman noted last year on Social Security’s 50th birthday, “It should have been a joyous occasion, a time to celebrate a program that has brought dignity and decency to the lives of older Americans. But the program is under attack, with some Democrats as well as nearly all Republicans joining the assault.” (quoted from The New York Times, 15 August 2010)

AARP has resisted the assault. Until it didn’t. And recently it might resist again.


| Category Communications, Community, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Nonprofit, Opinion, Politics, Retirement Living, Seniors Life | | Comments Off on #Aging: AARP Flips, Then Flops, On Defending Social Security During Budget Debate

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#Social Media: Can Google’s Expanding Social Networking Distort Your Ranking? Maybe.

Google's Search Engine Optimization Takes On Social MediaGoogle’s credentials have traditionally been built up by scouring the web for key words and web links that human browsers then wanted to find via the search box. As more and more of those searchers clicked a particular listing established by Google, that listing moved up through the tens to millions of sites that had a particular set of words or links. Getting your nonprofit or charity in the Top 10 pretty much ensured that when someone searched for a keyword that also was on your site, the searcher – any searcher – would see you.

In recent months, though, Google has been drawing on many of its searchers’ social networks to adjust the rankings according to each person’s own connections. Randfish has posted a debate-provoking story on about how rankings of sites he writes for can instantly rise or fall depending on how he has set up his Google account. Will Google no longer be accepted as an unbiased arbiter of the internet?


| Category Blogs, Communications, Facebook, Facebook, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Measurement, Media Review, Nonprofit, Opinion, Permission Marketing, Public Media, Site Administration, Social Media, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off on #Social Media: Can Google’s Expanding Social Networking Distort Your Ranking? Maybe.

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#HowTo: Organizing Your Twitter Account With Lists Makes Mobile Use Easier Still

Twitter has become the go-to social-media portal for sharing tidbits of breaking news, personal thoughts, and serendipitous discoveries. Most people access their Twitter feeds – postings from those they follow – via portable devices, especially smartphones. Concurrently, smartphones are the devices that conveniently allow people to send tweets from conferences, crises, field work, and sporting events. The numbers of smartphones and the amount of data moved to and from them continue to explode, and Twitter is the major driver of those numbers.

But Twitter can easily overwhelm: follow a dozen people, and some of their followers’ posts will come to you as well, and the next thing you know you’ve quit using it because you don’t want to scroll through hundreds of tweets to find something that might be specifically relevant to your organization’s efforts. Thankfully, a bit of tweaking of your Twitter account and you’ll have lists to sort topics or hash tags (#) or particular people. Then you can tackle each list when time and interest permit. See how:


| Category Communications, Community, How-to, iDevice, iPad Apps, iPad/Tablet, iPhone Apps, Social Media, Software Review, Technology, Twitter | | Comments Off on #HowTo: Organizing Your Twitter Account With Lists Makes Mobile Use Easier Still

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#Health: Stroke Comeback Center (DC) Allows Those with Aphasia to Communicate Using New Technologies

Aphasia and its symptomsThis month has been Aphasia Awareness Month, a special demarcation we first noted last year on this blog. Aphasia is a condition of neurological disruption, most commonly caused by a stroke or by a head injury, that makes oral and/or written communication difficult. The language center in the brain can not make a smooth or direct connetion to the mouth or to the understanding of letters and words.

The Snyder Center for Aphasia Life Enhancement (SCALE) in northern Baltimore marked the event this year by recognizing the efforts of local businesses to provide aphasia-friendly materials and staff for their customers. At the luncheon, some of the speakers were themselves stroke survivors who lived with aphasia. They delivered heartwarming, uplifting, and eloquent, accounts of their personal experiences and the projects they had accomplished while at SCALE.

They did so largely through a technology called VAST, which combines video and audio cues for a person with aphasia to get her or his ideas out. We spoke with Darlene S. Williamson (MA, CCC-SLP) Founder and Executive Director of The Stroke Comeback Center in Washington DC about this exciting technology.


| Category Communications, Community, Health, Healthcare, Interview, iPad Apps, iPad/Tablet, iPhone Apps, Technology, Tools | | 1 Comments

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#Tech: Apple May Plan to Remotely Shut-Down iPhone Cameras at Live Events

It is arguably one of the most famous commercials for technology ever made. It marked a revolution in personal computing and it spurred the interests of people like this writer to watch the Super Bowl if for no other reason than the commercials. Apple’s ‘1984’:


| Category Apple, Communications, iDevice, iPhone Apps, Marketing, National/International, News and Current Affairs, Opinion, Permission Marketing, Politics, Public Media, Public Relations, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off on #Tech: Apple May Plan to Remotely Shut-Down iPhone Cameras at Live Events

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#Development: Should You be Focused On Donor Retention Rather Than Acquisition?

| Category Advice, Blogs, Case Study, Communications, Cross-Post, Crowdfunding, Development, Donor Acquisition, Fundraising, Grants, Major Gifts, Marketing, Measurement, Nonprofit, Research, Resource, Storytelling, Study | | Comments Off on #Development: Should You be Focused On Donor Retention Rather Than Acquisition?

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#Social Networking: Entrance Is Free. Influence Is Not.

A Social-Media Bandwagon

Are you following a funeral home? Really?!

The voices questioning the impact of social media are legion, and we have shared some of those voices with you over the last eighteen months. Most of those voices that question the value of social media question not its presence or influence, but the way so many sectors of modern ‘connected’ society assume ‘social media presence’ equals profits or political change.

A counterweight to such unfounded optimism helps keep us all in check. But such arguments, again, challenge an exponential formula linking ‘free’ social media with economic growth or social change.

MP Mueller takes a slightly different approach to offering challenges to the social-media bandwagon, suggesting that small businesses should think about social media as they would any other investment: does it pay dividends to the organization?


| Category Advertising, Advice, Cross-Post, Facebook, Facebook, Marketing, Marketing Budget, Measurement, Nonprofit, Social Media, Twitter | | 3 Comments

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#How-To: Mobile Apps (iPhone & Android) For Office Productivity


The mobile office just a few years ago

We have to grow comfortable with the oxymoron “mobile office.” As mobile technologies improve, the expectations are rising that a nonprofit’s pitching staff and a charity’s road warriors are not just getting content from the office (a la 2002), they are making content on the road. At the least, they are expected to tweak previous content to fit the next meeting with the new prospect.

The limits to such a mobile office have been issues like the memory of the devices carried about, the possibility that local networks can not carry the large files/content to the devices, and the buggy software that struggled to do more than show what had been created on a ‘real’ computer.

In recent months, all three limits have been broken, though, for me, ‘office software’ has remained the broken bat in the lineup. Two apps might be greatly strengthening the roster, though.


| Category Communications, iDevice, iPad Apps, iPad/Tablet, iPhone Apps, Software Review, Storytelling, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off on #How-To: Mobile Apps (iPhone & Android) For Office Productivity

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#Development: National Technology Network Conference Encouraged Networking Beyond The Net

The NTEN (National Technology Network) annual conference wound up earlier this spring in Washington DC, and the focus was on building relations through and beyond social media. The NTEN website offers access to videos of the conference keynote addresses, and a number of write-ups are available from the participants.

Because no one formula for building a network of contributors and actors exists, a nonprofit must be ready to draw from a number of sources and to build a model that meets its own needs. Conferences like the one hosted by NTEN (and to be held in San Francisco next April 3-5) provide a wealth of tools, blueprints, and – most importantly – people. We want to share a couple of highlights that we garnered from the materials covered.


| Category Communications, Fundraising, Marketing Skills, Nonprofit, Public Relations, Slide Presentations, Storytelling, Technology | | Comments Off on #Development: National Technology Network Conference Encouraged Networking Beyond The Net

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#Tech: Does The Smartphone Move Us To A Post-PC, Post-Camera, Post-mp3 player… World?

The Buggles' 'Video Killed The Radio Star'

But does anybody watch music videos any more?

Few things in life are more futile, and such great fun, as predicting the future. From Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History to Harold Camping’s Time Has An End (the web design exhibited here ended, thankfully, about 1997), we invariably misunderstand what will be the next big thing. And when we get it wrong we tend to argue that we were misunderstood. Or the true meaning will be revealed/discovered later.

But throwing caution to the wind can be one of the perks of blog writing, so we thought we’d follow PCWorld‘s Jeff Bertolucci into the abyss, as he argues all the (10) technologies that the smartphone has killed off over the last 5-6 years. I’ll go first: my pocket/academic calendar, still received each September as a quaint reminder of a simpler age, goes straight to the recycling bin. My phone’s multi-sync, multi-repeat, alarm-tweaking calendar keeps track of my mess of a schedule.

You can play along at home, of course: what technologies have you given up over the last few years thanks to your phone-cum-computer? What technologies do you use now that you suspect your phone will be doing before the Cubs with the Series? Before you click for ‘more,’ take a moment to consider…


| Category Advice, iPhone Apps, Media Review, Opinion, Software Review, Technology, Thought for the Day, Tools | | Comments Off on #Tech: Does The Smartphone Move Us To A Post-PC, Post-Camera, Post-mp3 player… World?

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#Aging: Bill Thomas – Elderhood Rising: The Dawn of a New World Age (Video)

As a followup to an article written by Dr. Ronch, Interim Dean at the Erickson School for Management of Aging Services (and an MKCREATIVE client) — where he discusses the paucity of Gerontologists in the USA — I thought it useful to post a link to a compelling video presentation made by another Erickson School faculty member, William Thomas, MD, at TEDx San Francisco recently.

In the early 1990’s, Dr. Thomas and his wife Judith Meyers-Thomas developed the Eden Alternative. Dr. Thomas’ groundbreaking work in person-directed care also led him to imagine a new approach to long-term care that became known as the Green House.

In the video, Dr. Thomas argues that a new lifestage might well evolve out of the growing number of baby boomers in our ranks so that the human lifecycle may soon come to be defined as “Childhood”, “Adulthood” and “Elderhood.”

Thomas suggests that the obsession with “Adulthood” is misplaced and that our elders are “disappeared” into retirement communities simply because they don’t fit the model of existence that has been defined for the “rest of us”. One could also argue that relocation is foisted upon many seniors because they are perceived as having nothing “new” to contribute to society, they are “unproductive”, and consume goods to a lesser degree than other members of the community. This argument is false, argues Thomas (as does this blogger).

Thomas suggests that the Baby Boomers will redefine aging in the same way, and to the same extent, that they redefined adolescence and youthful rebellion.

Watch this amusingly presented, but ultimately, sobering talk by the self-appointed ambassador of “Elderhood.”


| Category Adult Kids, Aging, Assisted Living, Communications, Community, Grandparents, Independent Living, Nursing Home, Retirement Living, Reviews, Seniors Life, Storytelling | | Comments Off on #Aging: Bill Thomas – Elderhood Rising: The Dawn of a New World Age (Video)

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#SN: Are Nonprofits Mellowing Their Expectations For Facebook?

Facebook's Tombstone from 2008

News of its demise have been greatly exaggerated

Facebook hemorrhaged users last month: some 5% of its US, Canadian, and UK users left the service – some 6 million folks unfriended the social network in the US alone. The drop is statistically significant in scope, but not in time, because numbers of participants vary as wildly as the unemployment rate from month to month.

That said, the possibility of a Facebook IPO in early 2012 means investors, and thus the media, will be keeping an eye on those numbers to see if a trend is being established. A handy synopsis of reactions to the falloff from Facebook can be found by Richi Jennings at ComputerWorld.

What is better established through surveys of use of Facebook over a longer period of time is that nonprofits and charities are growing more nuanced in their understanding of what to expect with engagement with their donors and volunteers through the network. Idealware has just published the results of its survey of over 500 nonprofit staff members to get a sense of what they in their organizations’ Facebook activities. The premise of the survey and study was to see if the romance with the beauty of Facebook were already waning: “Nonprofits are increasingly told that they “need to be on Facebook,” and countless gurus and experts offer them advice for maximizing their Facebook presence to get the most return. But are nonprofits actually seeing results, or is Facebook just a bandwagon that’s not going anywhere?”


| Category Communications, Crowdfunding, Event, Facebook, Facebook, Fundraising, Marketing, Nonprofit, Social Media, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off on #SN: Are Nonprofits Mellowing Their Expectations For Facebook?

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#SN: Apple Integrates Twitter In Operating System-Whither Facebook?

An Apple Logo With Twitter BirdFor the Apple-centric, Apple-desirers, and Apple-nutcases, a Steve Jobs keynote at the WWDC (World Wide Developers’ Conference) is worth two offered by mere mortals – even those on Cupertino’s payroll. This past week in California, Apple announced a number of features that focused on a ‘post-pc’ world (not a world without personal computers, but a world in which the personal computer is but one device among various access points to ‘the cloud’).

The features were all a part of new operating systems – iOS 5 for iPhones and iPads and OS X, Lion, for the computers. For our chat today, though, we want to focus on one aspect of iOS that is getting some attention for how it might skew social networks come September: Apple integrated Twitter access throughout its iOS 5 package.


| Category Apple, Communications, Facebook, iDevice, iPad Apps, iPhone Apps, Marketing, Opinion, Social Media, Software Review, Technology, Twitter | | Comments Off on #SN: Apple Integrates Twitter In Operating System-Whither Facebook?

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#How-To: Review & Refresh Settings On Your Facebook Business Page

A window of Facebook privacy settingsWe have discussed the ways to set up a Facebook account as either an individual or a business, and how the differences can be important for how your organization wants to reach out to people. We have also encouraged the use of the ‘Events’ feature in Facebook to advertise upcoming functions. But with so much new stuff to learn in/about Facebook (including face recognition, which we shall discuss in the near future), one might forget the need to check up on the basics to make sure they are also working to your best advantage.

For example, how many people have access to edit your organization’s Facebook account? Probably at the start one person did most of the work. But what if that person is not available or has moved to another company? Can someone else take over the duties of keeping your organization’s page current?

Remember: a business page serves a whole different set of needs from a personal page. You want the world to find your page, find it often, and share it with anyone and everyone (something few of us over 20 want to have happen to our personal pages). So, as Facebook periodically adjusts its privacy settings, you should periodically review those settings.


| Category Advice, Communications, Design, Facebook, Marketing, Technology | | 1 Comments

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#Tech: Collaboration Tools To Navigate The Cloud

Hands Clasped In CollaborationEveryone in the tech and communications worlds is talking about ‘The Cloud.’ And so have we. The concept might seem new, but really it’s the term, not the technology, that’s new.

But even as we send our entertainment, files, and photos to iCloud, Dropbox, and Flickr (etc.), we might feel like the cloud provides a one-to-one relationship. I send my stuff to a service, you sign in to the service, you see my stuff.

But as JD Lasica shows us with one of his great Top 10 lists, there’s plenty of free-to-inexpensive software out there to make the cloud a viable medium for collaboration. Nonprofits and charities really should take advantage of these technologies: collaboration in the cloud means fewer trips to regional offices (saving fuel and money), quicker turn around on on-house projects to keep them timely, and convenient ways to update colleagues on-the-fly when the big donor comes through.

We picked three of these gems of the ten that we would like to call a bit extra attention to.


| Category Communications, Dashboards, Desktop Apps, iPhone Apps, Nonprofit, Social Media, Software Review, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off on #Tech: Collaboration Tools To Navigate The Cloud

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#Aging: Getting Older and Still Consuming

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

The New York Times reports that a new marketing effort by AARP will promote the baby boom generation, as it ages, as a viable consumer target for advertisers. The campaign, which includes print and digital ads, will run in trade publications like Advertising Age starting Monday.

“Our sense is that we’ve reached a tipping point,” said Patricia Lippe Davis, the vice president for marketing at AARP media sales. “People are really recognizing the value of the audience that we speak to.”

The campaign is intended to reach what Ms. Davis calls “thought leaders,” senior marketing executives who tend to be middle-aged, and “media mavericks,” media planners and buyers who tend to be younger. She said she hoped it would debunk myths about older Americans.Joseph Perello, a managing partner of the marketing and advertising agency Catch New York, which created the campaign, said its tone was intended to show that baby boomers, the generation born from 1946 to 1964, were “still very energetic, still active, still working.” Many media buyers “are probably under 35, and they have a very outdated notion of what AARP is and certainly an outdated notion of what it means to be over 50,” Mr. Perello said.

In addition to print advertisements in AdAge, ads will run in two of the trade magazine’s e-mail newsletters and on the Adweek‘s AdFreak blog. Digital ads will be featured on, e-mail newsletters from, and other industry trade communications.

Ads will also run on the Web site LinkedIn. The ability to reach users by job title, location, company and through groups on LinkedIn made it ideal for the ads, Mr. Perello said.

| Category Adult Kids, Advertising, Aging, Campaigns, Independent Living, Marketing, Press Release, Retirement Living, Seniors Life, Social Media | | Comments Off on #Aging: Getting Older and Still Consuming

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#Social Networks: How to Block Facebook’s Face Recognition & Tighten Other Privacy Settings

Fast Company magazine cover: June 2010

Image by karen horton via Flickr

Facebook continues to push the edge of the envelope when it comes to making inroads into what users can consider “private” or not. The latest foray into this porous arena is face recognition technology.

I quote heavily from a Fast Company magazine article:

“By adjusting its interface, Facebook has now enabled “tag suggestions” to many more of its users around the world, which means your friends will get an alert if someone uploads a photo that Facebook thinks contains your image. They’ll be invited to tag it, and then your ID’s associated with that image. … [the] system is actually turned on by default–which is Facebook’s privacy boundary creep in action.

Here’s how to turn it off, with a reminder of how to enable other privacy measures.”

On a somewhat related note, The Guardian newspaper continues its exposure of Rupert Murdock’s News Corporation illegal eaves-dropping and reselling of personal information gleaned from a variety of politicians, celebrities, and law enforcement figures in the UK (See: Phone-hacking scandal widens to include Kate Middleton and Tony Blair).

Personal privacy, whether online or off, continues to erode as we firmly embed ourselves in the “Cloud.”

| Category Advice, Facebook, Facebook, News and Current Affairs, Opinion, Permission Marketing, Resource, Social Media, Technology | | Comments Off on #Social Networks: How to Block Facebook’s Face Recognition & Tighten Other Privacy Settings

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#SocialNetworking: Best Practices – Using Twitter’s 140 Characters Effectively

Twitter Has A Limit of 140 Characters

One of the blessings of Twitter is its convenient speed: sign into a myriad (if dwindling number of) portals or software – or straight into the Twitter site – and your genius is on its way to through the intertubes in only 140 characters.

One of the curses of Twitter is its convenient speed: sign into a myriad (if dwindling number of) portals or software – or straight into the Twitter site – and your genitals  are on their way to through the intertubes in only 140 characters. Anybody following Representative Anthony Wiener? Anybody?

But how does a nonprofit get its important messages out in a mere 140 characters? For 1 thing, use abbrevs. &…


| Category Advice, Campaigns, Communications, Marketing, Social Media, Twitter | | Comments Off on #SocialNetworking: Best Practices – Using Twitter’s 140 Characters Effectively

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#Tech: How to Print a Document from Your Mobile Device

Cloud computing is going through some growing pains that are not likely to end in these hot summer months. Nevertheless, all tech-watchers argue that cloud storage of documents and software is the future of computing. Working on one’s fundraising pitch at home, synching to one’s online storage service (some of which will be reviewed next week!), then showing one’s potential donors on an iDevice or tablet certainly seems a convenience and a way to demonstrate efficiency and a commitment to going paper free.

But sometime you’ve just got to print the document you’ve just shown on your handheld device. Without a USB connection, how do you do that?


| Category Desktop Apps, iDevice, iPad Apps, iPad/Tablet, iPhone Apps, Reviews, Software Review, Technology, Web and Print | | Comments Off on #Tech: How to Print a Document from Your Mobile Device

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#Communications: Tips On Engaging & Retaining Your Social Media Constituents

Social Media Logos

If you have been following our blog for a little while, then you are likely engaged in social networks for your nonprofit, charity, or business. We have sought to provide advice and guidance both by drawing on our experience and by putting our readers in touch with other experts in the field.

Today we happily return to some foundational issues to bring readers to your social-media outreach program, and to keep them connected to your organization. Never hurts to be reminded of some of the basic tenets of social-networking communications.

Ellisa Nauful of Ballywho Interactive reminds us of the need to be brief, bright, and playful. “Our social networks are a marketing tool, but they’re not the place to regurgitate marketing collateral. Save the brochure-speak for…brochures.”


| Category Advice, Blogs, Communications, E-Mail, Marketing, Marketing Skills, Permission Marketing, Social Media | | Comments Off on #Communications: Tips On Engaging & Retaining Your Social Media Constituents

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#Social Media: Are We Engaged or Distracted? Both?

Woman Encouraging Focus

Sorry to interrupt, but...

Social media can take a great deal of our time and attention. But is that time and attention being taken away from being productive at work or being engaged with our surroundings? A recent survey from, as reported at, demonstrates how digital interactions often are digital distractions. And the distractions add up to over $10,000 in productivity losses per employee over the year.

How do the numbers break out and how have people responded to the not-so-surprising news? Can we have some cake and eat it too?


| Category Communications, E-Mail, Marketing, News and Current Affairs, Report, Research, Resource, Social Media, Technology | | Comments Off on #Social Media: Are We Engaged or Distracted? Both?

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Study: UMBC Seeking African American Women Age 65+ for Research Project

UMBC logo

Image via Wikipedia

The Retirement Living Sourcebook reports that researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County are conducting a study on older women and want to be sure the study is representative of our diverse population. You are invited to help by participating in the study (if you are eligible) and by sharing this invitation widely with your friends, family and networks.

“African American Women, Age 65 and older who do not have children and are willing to share their experiences and views on later life are asked to take part in a research project to discuss the lifestyles of older women and the joys and challenges of later life.”

This study is funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Participation will involve three (3) private interviews in your home (or at another place, if you prefer) and each interview will last approximately 90 minutes. All information will be kept confidential.

All participants will be paid $100 for their time.

If you are interested in participating, please contact:

Amanda Mosby
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Office:  (410) 455-5935

| Category Measurement, Research, Resource, Study | | Comments Off on Study: UMBC Seeking African American Women Age 65+ for Research Project

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#SocialNetworks: Twitter vs Facebook To Get Words Out

Twitter Icon versus Facebook Icon

Different Tools or Different Strokes...?

A craftsman might have over a dozen screwdrivers. A tinkerer like myself needs a couple of slots and a couple of Philips/plus and we’re good-to-go for most anything we’d encounter around the home.

As our use of social-networking tools matures, we might find ourselves wanting to invest in more refined devices to deal with specific issues, messages, and/or constituents.

Allyson Kapin at (Care2‘s nonprofit marketing blog) recently offered her take on this particular battle. Though not as bloody as the Facebook vs. Google melee we discussed last week, this particular battle might actually have practical and meaningful application to how charities and nonprofits get the word out.


| Category Communications, Community, Facebook, Fundraising, Marketing, Measurement, Media Review, Nonprofit, Report, Site Administration, Social Media, Twitter, Web and Print | | Comments Off on #SocialNetworks: Twitter vs Facebook To Get Words Out

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