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Bryan is no longer blogging here; check his last blog post to find him at his new home
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Now blogging at BryanPerson.com

Effective immediately, I’ll be blogging over at BryanPerson.com. The content of that blog won’t be all that different from this one that I’m putting to rest — at least not right away.

This Bryper.com site will remain intact and serve as an archive of my last two years’ worth of blog posts.

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Hope to hear from you over at my new online digs. I think you’ll like what you see.

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Two excellent podcast episodes on social media and nonprofits made their way to my ears in the past week:

Big Ideas, Small Budget. In this audio roundtable discussion hosted by Donna Papacosta as part of episode 72 of her Trafcom News Podcast, a group of business communicators talks about the challenges, costs, and rewards of creating social-media content for their nonprofit organizations (Disclosure: I work with Christie Goodman, one of the guests on the show, on a podcast series for the nonprofit company IDRA).

Frozen Pea Fund logo

FIR Interview: Connie Reece, Frozen Pea Fund. Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson, co-hosts of the For Immediate Release podcast, speak with Connie Reece about her efforts to raise money for breast cancer research through a program called the Frozen Pea Fund. If you spend much time on Twitter, you may already be aware of the Frozen Pea Fund, which was founded by Connie late last year as a measure of support for Susan Reynolds, who’s fighting breast cancer.

In addition to sharing Susan’s story, Connie also talks about the Frozen Pea Fund’s partnership with the American Cancer Society, as well as the opportunities for nonprofits to use social media in carrying out their missions.

When I organized an impromptu Social Media Breakfast in Boston last August, I had little expectation that it would ever become as popular as it has (all 90 for tickets for Social Media Breakfast 5, held last month, were scooped up online within 72 hours), or that it would spread to other cities around the country.

Dave Barger and Emily Joyner might have been thinking the very same thing when they threw LunaWeb’s hat into the wring to host the inaugural SMB Memphis at the University of Memphis Holiday Inn last Wednesday. But I have a hunch that much like our breakfast series in Boston, SMB Memphis is going to catch fire in a big way.

I particularly liked Dave and Emily’s adaptation of the personal social-networking toolkit, originally conceived by Jeff Pulver, another guy who likes bringing people together for breakfast.

Have a look and listen to toolkit that Dave and Emily gave to all of the SMB Memphis participants:

Pretty cool, huh?

And if you want to start a Social Media Breakfast series in your city or town, please drop me a line.

Just about a year ago, around the time that Twitter was busting out at the South by Southwest conference, Jack Hodgson and I gave a presentation about Twitter at BarCamp Boston 2.

And as much as we were singing Twitter’s praises, we had a hard time explaining, simply, what Twitter actually was. Was it a microblogging tool? A chat room? A site for wasting a lot of time talking about what you’re eating for breakfast?

Well, I have a new video to work into my presentations that should make Twitter dead easy: “Twitter in Plain English,” by Lee LeFever from Common Craft.

Like all of Lee’s videos, “Twitter in Plain English” manages to successfully take the sometimes-scary technological geekiness out of a social networking/social media tool. It’s brilliantly simple.

The only critique I have — and it’s one that’s mentioned in some of the comments to Lee’s post — is that there’s no real mention of using Twitter beyond answering the site’s basic “What are you doing?” question. As anyone who has spent any amount of time on Twitter will tell you, there are many other interesting ways to fill 140 characters. Among them:

  • Asking and answering questions
  • Sharing links
  • Offering social, political, and sports commentary
  • Promoting events and causes

But generally, high marks to Lee for another masterpiece. I hope it helps convince some Twitter skeptics — and yes, there are some of you out there — to come aboard!

Mzinga logo

My circle of Twitter pals was abuzz today over the news that two online community/social-media providers — Mzinga and Prospero Technologies — had joined forces as part of a $30 million acquisition (press release).

(In the spirit of full disclosure, I do podcast production and consulting for Mzinga, which also sponsored my last Social Media Breakfast; meanwhile, my day-job employer, Monster.com, is a Prospero client.)

And in what may have been something of a first — though I can’t be certain — Mzinga took full advantage of Twitter’s conversational nature by holding a virtual press conference there, encouraging and fielding questions not only on the acquisition but also on the possible trend toward consolidation in the online community business.

As it turns out, this clever use of Twitter came to Colin Browning, former self-proclaimed “mad scientist” at Prospero and now director of business development at Mzinga, in the place where many of us are inspired each morning — the shower.

Hear the full story in my audio interview with Colin and Aaron Strout, vice president of new media at Mzinga and host of the We Are Smarter podcast series, below.

And to get a flavor of the conversation that’s been raging on Twitter throughout the day, check out these search query results:

 
icon for podpress  Bryan Person interviews Mzinga's Aaron Strout and Colin Browning [17:20m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Jim Storer

Jim Storer had the line of the morning at Social Media Breakfast 5, held this past Wednesday, February 13, at the S & S Restaurant in Cambridge, when he referred to microblogging as the “gateway drug to social media.”

And he’s right.

Think of the people you’ve spoken with or trained for whom traditional blogging seemed daunting: Three posts or more a week? How will I keep coming up with new material? Do *I* have to write every post, or can I get some help?

But now, what if you told those same people that they could take some baby steps to blogging by trying microblogging first? Instead of 300 words, how about 140 characters? Instead of several paragraphs, how about a couple of sentences? Well, now, that sounds much easier. And it is.

As we heard at the breakfast, a microblogging tool like Twitter also has the potential to open new users’ eyes to the power of online social networks, keep them informed, and bring in business. Heck, it might just “change their lives.”

Sounds like the perfect way to hook your clients onto social media.

Microblogging for small groups and the enterprise
Jim hinted that his company, Mzinga (full disclosure: I do some podcast production and consulting for Mzinga), would soon be offering microblogging as one its enterprise products for clients, and whispers have also been heard that Twitter itself might be testing out white-label solutions for businesses.

Imagine a Twitter-like application for internal applications behind a company’s firewall. In 140-character bursts, co-workers can share links, post quick updates on their projects, and even show off a bit of their personality.

In my day job at Monster, for example, I’m testing out the WordPress’s new Prologue theme, which layers a Twitter-like application over a basic blog. The theme allows for easy tagging and date archiving, so we can quickly begin to build a digital repository of our collective work. I’m hope it catches on.

To see two public examples of Prologue in action, check out the pages from a group of law.librarians and a Youth Twitter class.

(Photo from Flickr stream of davefishernc)

Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd

I’ll let Paull Young give this post a proper intro:

Today every proud Australian will stand a little taller as the Australian Parliament formally apologises to our indigenous aboriginal people for wrongs committed since our nation was colonised 200 odd years ago.

From the viewpoint of this American, who lived, worked, studied, and married in Australia over a two-year period earlier this decade, this was an apology whose time had long since come. Good on Kevin Rudd, the new Australian prime minister, for doing the right thing and at least starting the healing process with the indigenous Australians who have suffered so mightily.

Rudd’s action are an about-face from former prime minister John Howard’s outright refusal to apologize for the country’s appalling treatment of its native people from the “Stolen Generations,” when Aboriginal children (often of mixed race) were snatched from their blood relatives and resettled with white,”civilized” families.

Saying ’sorry,’ social-media style

Paull has another cool nugget in his post about Australia’s apology. Paul is one of several Australians who is adding a personal apology of sorts by way of Facebook. Here’s what Paull’s status update is displaying as I write this post.

Paull Young is sorry

Again, in Paull’s words:

[It's a] small gesture of support for reconciliation. It’s so simple, yet so powerful — reconciliation has been a hot issue in Australia for years, but here, hundreds of regular Australians are expressing to their most important constituency (their friends and family) their support for reconciliation, and lending their own voice as a nation says sorry.

I may no longer live in Australia — though I do hope to return for another stint someday — but I’m especially proud today to say that I once did. Well done, Australia.

Photo from trimba’s Flickr photostream.

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Here are the number from messages to the @Ivoted Twitter account that I set up on Super Tuesday:

  • 83 reply messages and 4 direct messages to @Ivoted (I stopped tabulating after Wednesday morning)
  • Of those 87 total messages, 77 declared they had voted and 1 announced he was going to be voting later in the day.
  • 45 users identified which presidential candidate they had voted for. Here’s that vote breakdown:

Analysis

Well, this is easy! My Twitter followers, and/or my followers’ followers, are largely Obama supporters. He took 78% of the vote among users who identified their choice. Amazingly, not a single known vote for John McCain in all the messages to @Ivoted. McCain, oh by the way, has emerged as Republicans’ presidential candidate in this November’s general election.

Review the messages yourself

* All of the reply messages have been saved to a public Google Doc spreadsheet. Messages are organized in reverse chronological order in the first tab and in alphabetical order in the second tab.

* Here’s Tweet Scan’s display of all messages that included “Ivoted”

What’s next?

The @Ivoted account will remain open, and Twitters users are welcome to reply to it after voting in the primaries and caucuses that remain. However, I don’t intend to actively monitor those messages.

But as for the general election on Tuesday, November 4? Now that’s a different story. I’ll certainly do something, though I’m not sure what just yet. Stay subscribed to this blog, and I’ll keep you informed of my plans.

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Inspired by Jeremiah Owyang’s efforts to gather and track messages from Twitter users’ chatter around Super Bowl ads on Sunday night, I’ve started a little experiment of my own and created an Ivoted account on Twitter.

The idea is simple: Once you’ve voted on this Super Tuesday, send a Twitter message to @Ivoted. If you’d like, you can also reveal your vote.

As Jeremiah did, I’ll compile all the responses and publish them in a blog post or to a public Google Doc. In the meantime, you can follow real-time mentions of “Ivoted” through this Tweet Scan search query.

If you’re in one of the 20-plus states holding a primary or caucus today, please exercise your right to vote!

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Antarctica

Until I caught wind of Colin Browning’s vacation plans 10 days ago, it never actually occurred to me that someone could take a vacation in Antarctica.

I mean … Antarctica? The coldest place on earth (even if it summer there right now)?  The continent that’s not even a country? Other than scientists, who actually goes there?

Well, Colin and his mother, apparently.

But wait … it gets even better.  Not only is Colin traveling around Antarctica, he’s also blogging — and Twittering — his adventures. Check out Antarctica: Colin & His Mom Travel to the Frozen Continent.

Twittering from Antarctica? Who knew?

Seriously, though, this is one heck of a story. I know that I’ll be following Colin’s vacation entries and Twitter messages with great interest, and you can be sure I’ll catch up with Colin to hear more about his trip when he returns home to the Boston area next month.

What a unique journey, Colin. Bravo!

(Disclosure: Colin works for Prospero, which powers the message board community for my employer, Monster.)

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