New Media The Wizard Behind the Curtain by Beth Kanter | Notes & Takeaways


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Google Beth. Look for Beth’s blog. Got it? Right now it’s the number one result for Beth – out of 65,300,000 results.

Beth AKA Beth Kanter, was in some of the same sessions I was at BlogHer last summer. At the time, I remember her as a stand out for her passion and the way she asked questions about how to better serve her audience. Although I got her name as Beth, I didn’t know she was THE Beth of Beth’s Blog until a few months later. Today I got the chance to reconnect – thanks for the photo, Beth! – at a conference. I’m sharing my notes here. Were you there? What did you think of the conference?

This post is one in a series of four; browse the Making Media Connections 2008 category.

Here’s Beth’s bio from Community Media Workshop’s 2008 Making Media Connections conference:

Beth Kanter is a trainer, blogger, and consultant to nonprofits and individuals in effective use of social media. Her expertise is how to use new web tools (blogging, tagging, wikis, photo sharing, video blogging, screencasting, social networking sites, and virtual worlds, etc) to support nonprofit. She has worked on projects that include: training, curriculum development, research, and evaluation. She has worked on projects that include: training, curriculum development, research, and evaluation. She is an experienced coach to “digital immigrants” in the personal mastery of these tools. She is a professional blogger and writes about the use of social media tools in the nonprofit sector for social change.

Notes from Beth’s session: New Media: The Wizard Behind the Curtain
Slideshare Slideshow
Beth raised enough money – all online – to go to Cambodia.

Beth’s Blog is about how non-profits can change the world with social media.

Beth showed an image and asked: Why is the cute cat the wizard behind the curtain?

Then, she introduced the cute cat theory: Web 1.0 was created to share research papers. Web 2.0 was created to share pictures of cute cats. In the process, Web 2.0 ignited twin revolutions: ease of content creation and ease of influencing global audiences

The Story: Wizard of Web 2.0

Web 1.0= Kansas: lonely and solitaire experience

Web 2.0 = creating, connecting, conversations, collaborations

Web 1.0 no one knows you’re a dog

Web 2.0 now your dog can have a Facebook profile -even if they’re dead!

Emergence and Rise of Mass Social Media: YOU can be the media!

We’re going to have our first age of a networked presidency.

Why is is important?

Young people, digital natives, are joining social networks. This has major implications in the way we communicate. We have all these tools to choose from, but we run into challenges. Tools come and go, but a strategy based on experimentation sustains.

A story about putting theory into practice: the Wired wizard.

Beth raised over $200,000 in the past two years to help Cambodian orphans. And, she raised over $93,000 in America’s Giving Challenge. She raised the money on behalf of The Sharing Foundation by entering a six week contest and published a post one minute after the contest opened.

Along the way, she gave all her secrets away. Beth advises you “open the kimono” as she did for two reasons: her readers gave her great advice and helped her find people that would help.

Strategy: make it personal

Theory: read the Psychology of Influence by Robert Cialdini

Will is scale? How you scale using the ladder of engagement: happy bystanders, spreaders, donors, evangelists, instigators. Someone who is the personal fundraiser must do the network weaving.

Stories: blog about a kid that was being helped, write stories about people who go through the ladders of engagement and embed the learning in how to use tools in real time.

Three Rs of network: relationship building-you’re meeting people as people; you’re giving rewards-write story personal personal email; reciprocity – people treat you like you’ve treated them.

300 t-shirts: wrote a story about the creative commons t-shirt,

Strategy: fun, humor, easy, urgency, competitive spirit, passion

She celebrated her 51st birthday by asking for $10. Virtual gifts are not silly. Then, she made a video of her kids that went to YouTube. She tested 6 styles – humor between them both won out. Sent out a message on twitter, posted a blog post and went on Facebook to tag friends on Facebook to go out to their friends on their behalf. Blogging colleagues used 50 of her most ridiculous pictures. What make people click? 125 people donated 142 send birthday wishes 180 views of see Beth naked photo [baby picture]

Last 20 days of the conference, Beth began cross-posting, but not broadcasting. She found out how to ask for donations on twitter. If you have geeky donors, make sure you have PayPal because they don’t like to get up out of their chair.

Offline, online people did presentations about her fund-raising campaign at social networking conferences.

She’s the youngest board member at 51. She encouraged older members with offline networks to support the cause. Don’t make people do things that will make them uncomfortable.

24 hours before: she went from first place to fifth place. Then the network came out in force. A doctor in India sent a message out to 6,000 doctors, Dave McClure of 500 hats Silicon Valley, founder of PayPal, blogged about it. In all, 800 donations came in during the last 6 hours. And, yes, Beth won!

Questions moderated by Thom Clark

Thom Clark, Community Media Workshop’s president and co-founder, asked Beth a few follow up questions. Thom observed that Beth covered three important areas: story, message, action.

Question: How do you find time to do this?

What you’re seeing here is the product of five plus years of exploration and testing. She has to learn first thing. The first thing she does every day is she learns something new and then takes 15-20 minutes to test each technique.

You can take all the training that you want, but the teaching part is when you find time to get the clay in your hands and mold it the way you want to.

Beth scans, selects and reports with one tiny toe with the social innovator crowd. She follows a few leaders. Her other foot is in non-profits and listening to where people are and where there adoption is. She’s a translator.

She learned twitter, by twittering during Lost. [Follow Beth Kanter on twitter @kanter.] She tries to find somebody else who know more about it than her, she learns what they taught her and then shares her experience.

Question: Facebook is a small group IM. Are social networks a time saver?

Yes/No When Beth has to find sources, it’s much faster and easier to find them on social networking sites.

Question: Anyone can take a picture – how did you learn? How important that we can learn to get better at that?

Beth’s background is art and music. She found people who could teach her about the rule of thirds and how to watch out for background lighting. She uses flickr as a thinking tool.

Question: What’s the next tool that the rest of us don’t know about yet?

Twitter is a social presence tools. Earlier she alluded to utterz, a micro-blogging tool. Micro-blogging tools are Mollie and streamlined. She’s playing around with something called FriendFeed. Let’s do this experiment and sharing resources. Here’s my post about how FriendFeed works as a social dashboard, PR platform and news tracker. Slides from Beth’s Kanter’s Social Media Game Workshop.

Question: Out of all of the websites [and books] in the world, which one would Beth recommend?

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations by Clay Shirky tells what it is like to live in a networked world. Great place to keep looking ahead.

Websites – Chris Brogan and tell Chris Beth sent you and read my notes from Chris Brogan’s SOBCon08 presentation on new media communities.

Question: What one action will you take as a result of reading this post?

I’ll go first – I’m ordering the book.

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About Barbara Rozgonyi

Barbara Rozgonyi publishes WiredPRWorks.com and directs CoryWest Media, an integrated social media marketing and PR firm. As Social Media Club (SMC) Chicago’s founder, Barbara is a recognized spokesperson for brands, bloggers and the social media marketing PR industry. Barbara invites you to join the Wired PR Works community on Facebook or to contact her regarding interviews, partner promotions or speaking engagements at 630.207.7530.


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