Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why Join the Social Web?

Britt Bravo, author of Have Fun, Do Good! and blogger for NetSquared invited me to participate in the October NetSquared Think Tank . The topic is, "what is the ROI (return on investment) of the social web for nonprofits?" I'm late in responding and sure that someone has beat me to the punch but here are my thoughts.

I DON'T THINK anyone knows what the monetary ROI for social media is yet, i.e. how much money can be raised through Facebook, MySpace or blogging. While there are some specific groups (Kiva is one) and campaigns that are experiencing success, social media are still too new for a scientific analysis or prediction of results.

I DO THINK that there are internal benefits to engaging in these new marketing and communications technologies. Specifically, I think blogging can be a great professional and organizational development tool.

I agree with what Rebecca Blood has to say in The Weblog Handbook see the chapter on Finding Your Voice. (BTW, this is considered the seminal text on blogging and is a must read.)

1) Writing for a blog everyday or several days a week makes you a better writer. It's the practice that's important. The more you write the more skillful you become.

2) Writing for a blog forces you to be concise. Summarizing text and writing short prose is hard. It forces you to clarify your thoughts and beliefs. No more LONG, BORING text. Blogging can help you to refine your message and get to the point.

3) Writing for a blog equals writing for a perceived or real audience and the public nature of the medium makes you want to write often and write better. No one wants to look stupid in public.

In short, blogging can help you and your organization get better at telling your story so that you can persuade more people to join, donate and advocate for your cause. This is a good enough ROI for me.