Social media for public engagement
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Social Media for Public Engagement. Luke Walker Consider your situation…. Purpose: What are you trying to achieve? Audience: Who are you targeting and what are they using? Access: What are the limitations in terms of hardware, software, and bandwidth?

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Social Media for Public Engagement

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Social media for public engagement

Social Media for Public Engagement

Luke Walker

Consider your situation

Consider your situation…

  • Purpose: What are you trying to achieve?

  • Audience: Who are you targeting and what are they using?

  • Access: What are the limitations in terms of hardware, software, and bandwidth?

  • Norms & best practices: Who has tried this before and what can you learn?

  • Ownership: How much deeply can you/do you want to rely on external platforms (for audience or functionality) vs. your own (for sustainability)

Synchronous tools

Synchronous Tools

  • IM

    • Text-based (mostly) chat between known contacts, video

  • Skype/telephony

    • Cheap calling, conference calls, video

  • Webconferencing

    • Training, showcasing, presenting

Synchronous tools links

Synchronous Tools (links)

  • IM - the big two:

    • Americans use AIM (AOL):

    • The big one elsewhere: MSN/Windows Messenger (Microsoft):

    • Growing fast - Google Talk:

  • Skype:

  • Web Conferencing:



    • Open source option (?)



  • Folksonomies: User-defined, social categorization of web content

  • Tags can help organize and agglomerate content about YOU

  • Links:


    • Search for nptech (



  • Reverse chronological

  • Often informal

  • Online diaries/journals or op-ed columns

  • “Blogosphere”

Blog links

Blog (links)





  • / .org




  • Internal communications

    • Reporting

    • Knowledge transfer/archive

  • External communications

    • Audience participation

    • Rapid deployment

Wikis links

Wikis (links)





Media sharing

Media Sharing

  • Organized by tags

  • Social networking element

  • User rating/favouriting/”interestingness” common

  • Different sites have different acceptable use/IP policies - read them! They affect who controls yours content

Media sharing links

Media Sharing (links)




Social networking

Social Networking

  • Focus on creation/maintenance of identity & relationships

  • Most allow for the creation of groups, identification of causes, give special status to NGOs and political orgs

Social networking links

Social Networking (links)





    • Event planning


    • Social network for social good

    • - platform for schools

Virtual worlds

Virtual Worlds


  • 3D environments

  • May be games (but not necessarily)

  • Users have avatars/in-world identities


    • Second Life

    - Non-Profits in Second Life

  • Second Life:

    • Teen SL:

Virtual worlds links

Virtual Worlds (links)

  • Non-Profit Commons:



  • Global Kids


Issues to consider

Issues to consider

  • Platform: You don’t own it

  • Community: You need to know the norms

  • Viral spread: You don’t control it

  • Longevity: You can’t predict fads

Platform ours not yours

Platform: Ours, not Yours

  • Commercial sites are commercial

  • Your information IS being used for their purposes (read the terms of service)

  • As featured/functionality are added or changed, functions you depend on may disappear

  • Support may be difficult or impossible, particularly with free/ad-supported services

On online communities

On Online Communities…

  • Understanding how to use a tool isn’t enough; you need to know how other people use it

  • Violating norms, language standards, etc can deligitimize your presence very quickly—experienced users can sniff out “newbies” very quickly

Viral spread seed it watch it

Viral Spread: Seed It; Watch It

  • Most social media/Web2.0 sites promote content based on popularity

  • Popular content spreads

  • You can drive up your contents’ popularity using your networks/contacts/friends (get the ball rolling)

  • Controlling your brand/content/image becomes increasingly difficult the further it spreads

Longevity have a backup plan

Longevity: Have a backup plan

  • Online services appear and disappear everyday, because of:

    • Ownership changes

    • Shifts in trends/popularity/user demand

    • Advertising dollars disappearing/$$ losses

  • Facebook/MySpace are not the first socal networks, and won’t be the last

  • Use these tools to support your presence online, not as your sole presence (when possible)

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