Social media

Over the past few weeks I’ve been working with the comms and fundraising teams at work to develop our plan for the next 12 months. Obviously I can’t go into the details too much (nor would you probably be interested), but one of the things that I’ve been focussed on is how social media (aka “participant media”, “social networking”, “web two point oh”) might play a role. Or, to flip that around, how WWF can become part of that community.

I’ve presented twice now on the various types of social media out there, and by and large the response has been positive. When we’ve explored how we might be able to engage with sites, and their attendant communities, like flickr, YouTube, myspace and del.icio.us the response has been on the whole positive and enthusiastic.

However, when the topic of weblogs comes up, the response has been missed. Although most of the people I’ve had dialogue with have seen the tremendous opportunity, many can also see the “dark side” of blogs – specifically how a seemingly innocent post could cause a storm (political or otherwise), how trolls might become a time sink etc…

The process, and the pushback, has been invaluable in learning how to present weblogs to an audience that is risk-aware, and more specifically how reputation can be so easily tarred.

However, I think, in the end, the opportunities outweigh the risk, and the more I work with the team at work, the more I’m learning about how to manage the risks, and cover off the valid concerns that are raised.

And hopefully this means good things in the year to come :)

Update: I was actually just thinking how cool it is that the ideas that have been brewing since as far back as 2003 (and probably before) are starting to come to fruition. Very exciting!

Moore’s law for clean energy

In What would it take to be 100% green? Less than you think., Worldchanging contributer Jeremy Faludi points out some interesting math around what it would take to get clean energy off the ground.

… currently, 6% of Europe’s electricity generation is from renewable sources. If they wanted it to be 100% by 2025, they should expand renewable energy generation by about 15% per year, every year, compared to other power sources. (This does not mean 6% now, 21% next year, 36% the year after, etc. It only means 6% now, 6.9% next year, 8% the year after, etc.) This sounds small, and in fact is less ambitious than their current plan to grow renewables from 6% to 12% by 2010.

This sounds like a good plan. I find the next statement most interesting though:

Governments and think-tanks worldwide speculate about what’s needed to become sustainable, and what can be set as realistic policy goals. Too often, these goals are stated like “reduce CO2 emissions 5.2% below 1990 levels by 2010″, or “by 2003, 10% of all cars sold in California shall be electric”. The most common outcome in situations like this is the school kid’s cram-and-burn scenario: nothing happens until the deadline looms, at which point a frantic flurry of activity erupts, usually resulting in the deadline being missed. …

So let’s take the same goals and rewrite them to be incremental deadlines: you need to be a little better by the end of this year, and then next year improve by the same amount, ad infinitum.

I like this idea. It gets around the inertia created by the feeling that “it’s all too big”. Certainly something to keep in mind when we’re communicating targets to both the public and decision-makers.

Al Gore’s presentation

It seems that Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, is everywhere on the net at the moment. I’ll certainly be checking it out when it arrives in Australia (debuting at the Sydney Film Festival this month I think).

From what I’ve read, this movie ultimately boils down to a move about a presentation. So I was very interested to read Garr Reynold’s post on Duarte Design’s involvement in the making of that acclaimed presentation.

As an aside, Garr’s blog is an excellent resource in how to make your presentations shine. I’ve used some of his tips, along with inspiration from the presenters at last years Web Essentials conference, in a recent presentation that has been well received by the folks at work.

The “Hive Mind”

Jaron Lanier: Digital Maoism – The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism:

The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we’re devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots.

It’s a long essay, but worth the effort if you’re interested in social media/networking and “collective mind” type issues…

Online advertising stats

I’m sure I’m not the first to notice, but I realised today that it is very difficult to find stats on the actual effectiveness of online advertising.

There’s lots of stats and announcements about ad spend, but very little on cost-per-click.

I’m not a fan of online advertising as it is (even though we’ve been testing it for campaigns and will probably do some more testing for specific fundraising appeals), and this lack of information just makes me all the more dubious about its effectiveness.

Update: seems I’m not alone.

Moved to WordPress

If you can read this, I’ve finally made the transition to WordPress. One bug too many in MovableType (the inability to save posts even after doing a fresh install) and I’d reached my limit.

All the archives are still there (one good thing about MovableType is the ability to create static files), but any new posts will come through WordPress instead.

I’m using the Squible theme for the moment – it has just the right features built-in – but I’ll probably be tweaking for weeks (if not months) to come.

I’ve actually switched to K2 – having some issues with the Squible theme displaying long-form posts on the home page.