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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

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)