In 2005 I traveled to Thailand to make a documentary with kids and women affected and infected with HIV & AIDS. In three weeks I visited social service centers, a camp for kids and families and a residential living center that makes its own clothing, bread, art and goods to sell that supports a village of 40 residents. There are many inspiring stories out there of what it means to love oneself and others through positive action – this is just a glimpse at a few of the people who have inspired me along the way.
A big thank you to Lars Hasselblad Torres and the Global PeaceTiles Project for making this journey possible, along with all of my extraordinary colleagues featured in this short. This was very early in my video production career and was all self-produced and edited – thankfully I can hire editors now to help me. It’s good to know our strengths – and hire others in our community to create more beautiful things together.
Please leave a comment and tell me what’s inspiring you to action – and let me know how we can create beauty together.
There’s a new dance I’ve been mastering this year, one that many entrepreneurial moms and community leaders can relate to. Now sitting on the board, advising, teaching, consulting or partnering with hundreds of people and organizations the precious resource of time is stretched on a daily basis.
Mastery – and mystery – require a different dance with time, agreements, collaboration and clarity in all communications that I take on. This year on my creative plate I have two startups, two nonprofits, a handful of clients and a fair amount of inquiry, two writing projects, coursework and design of a new home. Tomorrow I produce a one hour talk show on Collaboration for the fifth month of Nonprofits Live, an interactive talk show series answering your questions on how to work together better.
Everything is moving very quickly for Be Embodied, now taking half of my work time to design through this birthing process. We have a big event coming up for solstice (more details to come) and a booth this weekend with TheHUBLA Partner Lounge where we will be hosting conversations on open source ecology, agile transformation and embodied presence in collaboration at noon each day. Join us at the LA Convention Center!
Creatively I am excited and a little exhausted. Sleep is a precious commodity along with time with my handsome husband of Toyshoppe Systems fame. He’s being battered by a bat every day while wizarding on the Dark Knight Rises, and it sounds like he’s living up to his wizard title this year and earning those white hairs of wisdom at Chris Nolan’s side. Amazing work all around us and astonishing colleagues cheering us on to do our very best work all around.
Learning to juggle this dance of being advisor, business leader, founder, creative designer, producer, friend and love is a beautiful challenge that is stretching me to become more than I imagined possible. The collective feels to be dreaming bigger now, looking ahead to a world where anything is possible, where visions come true quite quickly and the flow between us is getting much easier to surf. Communication is clear and exactly as it can be.
At the end of the day the dance is as graceful as I am available to be present, loving, on my most beautiful path in every moment. Giving and sharing what I can while giving the sweet care of a curate to myself in the process. Grateful for the role many of you have played in this growth. Thank you for your love in this process.
Today’s talk at the California Endowment for Social Media Week Los Angeles was designed to help nonprofits create their own secret sauce for social media planning, strategy and implementation. I am having a great time blogging, sharing and answering questions at this event!
Below are my worksheet and slides for this one hour training. Special thanks to Reena De Asis from CauseCast for recommending us for this event and to Belinda, Julie and Carmelita from the Center for Nonprofit Management in Southern California (@CNMsocal). Feel free to leave your questions and comments here!
As a child I remember watching PBS with my dad, particularly the live auctions of art and local items to support the station. My dad would call in and bid on something fun for us and we would get all excited watching others bid him up for a good cause.
Later as I started my career in media the PBS station in Providence, RI needed a writer who could deliver hundreds of scripts in a week for auction items while curating and hanging rotations of art every 15 minutes for the live show. A lifetime of creative pursuits brought me back at age 24 to try my hand at live production – and I loved it. The only job I wanted more than curating and writing was behind the camera, directing and producing the entire experience.
A few years later I got the chance to try my hand at directing and over the last two decades have put hundreds of hours of lens time in to capture the essence of stories, interviews and live events. While I never considered myself a journalist – more of a documentarian at heart – there is a sense that my work is to be the eyes of the world, capturing fascinating moments with shared meaning.
Of all of the media careers I have tried – radio, print, writing books, producing events, videos and virtual worlds – there’s something about creating LIVE in collaboration with others that excites me tremendously. The pace of live production is fierce. You must be ready for anything to happen at any time, then keep your cool while everything around you melts.
Over the last few years I have learned to master various streaming paths and production tools for broadcast, collaboration, events and mixed media experiences. My new show Nonprofits Live is hosted monthly at TechSoup with a new episode this Friday on giving Great Presentations. NPlive is a live interactive talk show using a cloud suite called Watchitoo that allows for robust social sharing, Q&A, shared whiteboards and integration with video and slides along with 25 video feeds from around the world – a great and easy way to host virtual meetings across borders.
Some of my colleagues have produced tremendous livestreaming experiences and one in particular, Sarah Austin, is a smart woman who understands the technical challenges of various streaming platforms for live event production. We have a talk proposed for SXSW this year – Streamweaver, I believe you can take me…..Live. Last year I produced a game show with Josephine Dorado on Causebuilding Games at SXSW and this streamweaving session is going to be a stellar mix of social actions & streaming throwdown as we see who has the chops to make it and take it live.
I love livestreaming and have used many platforms – Ustream, Livestream, Qik, Adobe Connect & other video conferencing tools, Watchitoo, TinyChat, Skype, Google+ – what do you love to use, and why?
This can be as simple as showing up with little stickers to put on name badges or baking cookies in the shape of cookie monster the night before. Think of doing one little thing that relates to your favorite interests and helps your unique identity stick in the minds of the new people you meet. Remember the difference between funny and creepy: carrying a beaver puppet and only speaking thru your puppet will probably not win you new clients but giving them something simple & unique will help them remember you when you call back later.
2. Do something different
People will remember the one unique thing you did at that conference that no one else dared to do. Did you sing a tribute song to the conference organizer or maraud through the convention center dressed as a unicorn? I still find that people remember Erin @queenofspain from last year’s Gov 2.0 event because she was handing out bumper stickers that say #SUCKIT.
3. Prepare an unconference conversation topic that bridges your work with others (AKA DON’T BE A SHILL!)
Unconferences and open space gatherings can be fun for the wide open opportunities to offer a unique conversation or topic that rarely gets discussed. Don’t waste this opportunity by boring us with the details of your company and chasing everyone out of the room. Host a CONVERSATION, a real dialogue about topics that engages people in the process instead of telling them why you have the solution to all of their problems. People walk out of the shill room almost immediately but will stick around if you’re hosting a meaningful time to talk.
4. Come prepared to rock their socks off
Sleep well the night before, try to avoid the cocktail party hangover and wear something comfortable so you’re ready to run around the room and take on the whole event! People notice when you’re one of the most energetic people in the room and that charisma will carry you far after the event.
5. Bring an example!
Maybe your new DIY cold fusion machine can’t travel — then bring a video of it in action. Anything you can share via smartphone is a start, but remember that people love to get their hands on things and try them out whenever possible. Take time to demonstrate your awesomeness.
Upcoming Events I’m Looking Forward to in California:
I hope to see you around and out there sharing your best at these events! I’ll be sharing a talk at SXSW as well on Causebuilding Games and encourage all of you interested in gaming, social action, education and the more serious aspects of why we create games to join us on 3/12 in Austin, TX at SXSWi.
Five years ago we would muse with catalysts at the Omidyar Network about relationship networks, reputation and trust and the essentials of building strong communities of change for both local and global impact. Today some of those ideas have come to fruition with platforms like Change.org, Wiser Earth, Ushahidi, Quora, LinkedIn and Twitter campaigns. As many of us have worked together and cross paths frequently in the ethers there’s been a desire to track those engagements and understand true reputation through our work over time, mapping the most prolific leaders with great questions & endeavors like we do on the TechSoup Forums.
Jumo released to the public in the last 24 hours and has the potential to fill the gap between great people and great endeavors in a different way than Change.org, LinkedIn or Wiser Earth manages to do. Unfortunately it seems Jumo may have more interest in the transactional economy of giving than the relationship economy it has the potential to grow, becoming a philanthropic passthrough that takes a cut higher than most fiscal sponsors, but lower than the United Way. So far it functions very closely to the Causes function on Facebook, more like Razoo. It’s a start, but personally I want a real economy of contribution that goes deeper than dollars.
Tracking followers simply in the Quora fashion is a nice and elegant way to see who influences who but it lacks any sort of qualification or indication of endorsement. Recommendations in LinkedIn are more helpful but a star/point system would allow for users to vote up their favorite leaders and catalysts in various fields.
I think the creators of Path are on to something by creating limited networks and I’d like to refine it more deeply in the #TrustTable project – creating true indicators of trust and reputation by demonstrating who are the most reliable people indicated on a short list of must-contacts in case of emergency. #TrustTable is an ad hoc project designed to solve at least two problems: the need for quick emergency contact data in a semi-public online space and mapping reputation & relationship trends to show who are the most trusted people in our communities.
The concept for TrustTable is simple: You have a round dining table with only 10 seats for guests. Choose the people you would want at your last meal on earth, the person who should be first to pick up your kids if something happens to you. Ten seats only: make sure you include the people who should be contacted if something happens to you – this is your command center and this is your league of personal superheroes. Colorcode their chairs with contact protocols and link it to their FB or Twitter page so someone can push your big red emergency button if they need to – you choose who will be contacted for your customized needs. Choose to share your private link with your school, hospital and family or make certain data public and decorate your table for a feast to benefit your favorite cause.
I value social action networks with indicators to vote up submissions to the creative economy. If you imagine each post, video or photo as an asset in the marketplace of Facebook or Twitter I want the ability to be able to give extra stars, points or fiery dragons to the people who are submitting the best possible solutions. The LIKE button is ok but I’d rather have 30 stars a day and have the ability to blow 5 stars on the best link or photo. I believe that this mix of a creative economy and reputation-associated relationship building will allow us to find collaborators and get things done more effectively in less time.
So far the social action networks that have sprung up to get things done quickly include Ushahidi, the Crisis Camps/Crisis Commons movements and Twitter social campaigns. Most of these have required the frequent use of googledocs and wikis to manage collaborative information across wide virtual teams and lack the ability to track the backend of engagement well as we look to reward those who are getting the most done.
Credit and attribution is tricky in the nonprofit creative commons world of open sharing; we walk a dicey line between collaboration and needing to toot our own horns enough to win grants. We want to empower great ideas and resources always seem scarce compared to the giant needs we’re facing. Any tool that helps us leverage more for less is helpful….for now the tools that are helping me the most to create social change ripples include Twitter, Quora, YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook. For now the social action networks like Change.org and Jumo offer enough for me to chime in once or twice, but I’m not seeing enough sticky reasons to keep coming back to share new endeavors. Some networks like #TrustTable would only be updated twice a year….but is there a future for a philanthropic discovery site like Jumo that does not push regular emails or curated updates? Would you keep going back, or are you having better experiences with other social action networks?
My friend Stacey Monk decided to use Twitter as a tool to help Mama Lucy & a community she cared about half a world away because it was something effective & simple she could do from her home. She had no idea it would evolve into building projects in multiple countries and now a Global Gratitude Parade at http://epicthanks.org/. Check it out!
Social Media is a fantastic evolution of human communication. It allows us access from afar and participation, even when sick.
On Monday I was lucky to host the SocialGOV panel in the beautiful Bradley room atop City Hall here in Los Angeles. We had a great panel of special guests: Alan Silberberg moderated with Christina Gagnier, Jim Gilliam, Heidi Nel and special guest Eric Garcetti joined the conversation.
Eric Garcetti, Alan Silberberg, Christina Gagnier, Jim Gilliam and Heidi Nel discussing government engagement & social media, hosted by Evonne Heyning
We learned a handful of useful skillsets when juggling multiple accounts, constituencies and engagement needs across diverse communities. Eric Garcetti talked about his dream dashboard for municipal engagement about 7 minutes in to this 90 minute event, along with talk on listening tools, finding the right mix of skills and voice for social media interaction, being willing to step in on difficult situations with openness, transparency, care for people in a very human way. All of our speakers spoke to both the technologies they use and the human skills they rely on to make online communication efficient for everyone.
What did I learn from these leaders? The *8 Tweets A Day* engagement standard seems to keep people going with enough information without overloading your social media channels. Jim Gilliam has a new tool launching next month that will allow for much more robust campaign management for activists and organizers. CitySourced has proven useful in Los Angeles along with Google Moderator, but Eric Garcetti still prefers Twitter for conversational engagement. OpenGov is growing as local agencies and departments embrace the localized news potential of tools like Twitter, Facebook, video tools and policy engagement Q&A spaces including the free Google tools used by LA government.
I rarely get to share much of my work with clients around the world but this one is a rare gift….a few weeks ago I attended the National Conference on Volunteerism and Service with my colleagues @TechSoup where we shared social media secrets, tips and tools along with upcoming platforms to explore for large and small organizational leaders. See the photos and lessons here:
Not sure why I felt compelled to make a Frog-Oil Spill game but now you can help our favorite little friend rescue his fellow animals before getting too close to the oil slicks, dispersants and other dangers in the gulf. Some of the research on this is coming from http://www.tedxoilspill.com – an amazing amalgam of activists, scientists and leaders exploring oil spill solutions.
This game is in early beta testing and all comments, ideas and solutions are welcome as we add to it. Thanks!