**This guest post by Kaitlyn Cole originally appeared on the Online Universities blog.
Occupy Wall Street has been going on for months now, and although reactions to the movement are mixed, there are protest locations numbering somewhere near 1,000. Within that number are several college campuses that boast major Occupy movements, whether there’s a presence on campus, or simply very active students involved in their local Occupy chapter. There’s even an Occupy Colleges movement, formed to protest college tuition hikes amid staggering student loan debt. Like Occupy Wall Street, Occupy movements on college campuses have been met with mixed reactions, some finding great support in university administration, and others fighting an uphill battle. Read on, and we’ll take a look at the beliefs, incidents, and status of 11 college Occupy movements going on today.
Right this very second, Occupy Wall Street protesters are braving the first snow in New York because of a belief that banks have become too big for the people's good. While it's true that big banks across the major world markets have severely and negatively altered the global economy because of risky practices, there is such a thing as too little bank intervention. Most people in the US are tired of the way that big banks manifest themselves into our everyday lives, but for those that have no other option, banks provide a necessary utility that, in their absence, people feel helpless and tied - the same as those feel in Zuccotti Park. Vinolia's story below illustrates the need for banking and financial options in order for people living without to be granted the same opportunity for success and improvement as those living with a multitude of financial options.
**Part I of this post can be found here.
We all know that big corporations with a lot of money often end up skimping in the customer service department: automated answering machines, unlisted phone numbers, long wait times, and archaic ways of getting in touch. However, since the rise of social media, more and more companies are finding that these new tools, especially Twitter, allow consumers unlimited methods to share reactions, opinions, and recommendations on certain products or services, either positive or negative. Therefore, companies are finding that listening to certain hashtags and personal handles are cheap and easy ways to appease angry customers fast - before the noise starts to spread.
By strategically using these tools, you'll be able to raise your voice above the clutter and get your way in record time, even from the biggest of customer-eating corporations. Hence, I give you Exhibits A & B: Bank of America and Mailchimp as examples for your own customer service needs.
Logging onto Facebook has turned into such a surreal experience. As the Occupy Wall Street movement grows across America, my news feed has been overcome by links, videos, articles, and photos from friends all across the nation expressing their satisfaction and voicing their guesses as to what will happen next in Liberty Square. Even from Africa, the movement can't be ignored.
I haven't had much reason to talk about breakfast since I've been in Ghana, preferring instead to focus on arguably more significant topics like microfinance and internet in Africa, but this weekend's spread deserved its own post. We stopped by Big Milly's Backyard in Kokrobite for a relaxing two days of sunning on the beach, playing in the waves, reading in hammocks, exploring the town, and of course, munching on Ghana's finest breakfast.
Even as Facebook reports its 600 millionth user, growth rates in the US and parts of Europe are slowing and growing stagnant, leading many to believe that Facebook growth in these developed countries has reached its saturation point. As the top ten countries with number of Facebook accounts quickly reaches into developing countries, it's an interesting question to ask: who, in fact, is Facebook's intended audience?
To be honest, I never really knew what a librarian actually did. When I was a child and a voracious reader, my mother took me to the library every chance she had just to satisfy my bottomless appetite for books - the gas to and from our house must have been cheaper than constantly stocking our own shelves with shiny new covers. I loved the library: the smell of used books, the crinkly covers, the unstoppable power I felt by owning my own library card, the dark corners where I could hide all day, surrounded by a pile of books. When catalog systems were first introduced in my library, I scorned the idea of using the library as a quick-stop; I was one who enjoyed spending hours at the library, always wanting to give each book it's rightful time and thought to guess at the plot, admire the binding, and read the first couple of pages to see if it was a keeper.
**This post originally appeared on the Lumana blog.
Every Sunday, Lumana staff go to Dzita to do repayment meetings. Because of the destroyed road, it’s a huge chunk out of the client’s busy work day to hike down to the Lumana office in Atorkor - about an hour's journey. Since Lumana is all about customer service, the staff go directly to them. Long drive aside, it’s an enjoyable way to spend the day; the staff camp out in the local school right on the beach, read books or sip Orange Fantas while they wait for clients to stop in. For a second, our microfinance lives seemed almost like a Corona commercial… until Aloryida dropped by.
It's easy for nonprofits to get caught up in the storytelling craze and reach over for the nearest multimedia tool - the Flip cam. Great for family vacations, but not so great for promoting your latest achievement to showcase to potential donors.
Video can be a wonderful asset for an organization, but if the money and resources aren't there, it's best to wait until they are - until it's possible to create something aesthetically pleasing and truly powerful that can be shown again and again. Besides, there's plenty of other media alternatives to turn to when a story needs to be told; like photofilms, a glamorized slideshow of still photography combined with music, text, or voiceover. In this post, I'll detail the tools needed to create this simple, and yet compelling, form of storytelling.
Don't be afraid to use the @Reply tag - in fact, use it as much as you can when promoting new content to targeted influencers. Just make sure you know how to use the @Reply tag first! This screencast will teach you everything you need to know about promoting your content correctly and effectively.
**This is a three-part series on the importance of impact investing in today's markets, and why you should care about it. Part I can be found here.
It sounds like a cliché, but it's true - when you're on the ground, you are better able to see the big picture.
I've been thinking and writing a lot about impact investing lately, not because it's the latest buzzword or even because it's an emerging asset class, but because mixing money and impact is the only way that poverty will ever cease to exist.
The world is crawling with young people who want to make a difference. As more and more schools and universities incorporate social enterprise and philanthropy into their curriculum, it's obvious that the trend towards work on purpose isn't slowing down any time soon. For those young people that do not find the right job in the social sector, they may try to turn their passion into a startup, with the term social entrepreneurship burned into their brain from their corresponding degree or school activity.
**Part II of this post can be found here.
While I'm sure there's still folks out there who believe that the collective voice instructing businesses to create a social media presence is an elaborate scheme dreamed up by social media consultants everywhere... I'm here to tell you that no, it's really not.
If businesses aren't listening and responding to their customers, they lose them - it's as simple as that. For customers, this realization can be a wonderful revelation into the world of good customer service experiences, if you know the channels to shout to. As most businesses have at least a Facebook or Twitter account, brandish these tools like a sword: use your calm and clever insinuations to their bad customer service to get what you really want.
So far, I've had the best experience with a good-humored tweet (so your tweets are not taken as the enraged ravings of a lunatic) and a strategically placed #fail hashtag. To prove this point, I would like to point to my own experiences - two recent customer service headaches turned triumphs, thanks to social media.
**This is a three-part series on the importance of impact investing in today's markets, and why you should care about it. Part 1.5 can be found here.
This weekend, I took a trip up to Cape Coast and Elmina in the Central Region of Ghana.
**This post originally appeared on the Lumana blog.
A loud SQUAK almost makes me jump backwards as I open the gate to Margaret Kpodo’s compound – I look down and realize I’ve just bulldozed a chicken with the fence, and as I snicker, it angrily picks itself up and preens its feathers, throwing angry glances as it stalks away.
Storytelling sounds easy enough. After all, it’s part of our genetic makeup to tell stories, and human beings are fairly adept at it – we have been telling stories since the beginning of our existence.
In Eweland, storytelling is a part of daily conversation. So far, I’ve heard the story of the Goat Farmer and the Thief, telling of the value of learning a trade or profession, the Children and the Hyena, the tale of the wisdom of parents, the Father and the Three Sons, about showing equal respect and affection to all children whom are the future of the village, and many, many more.
**This post originally appeared on Social Venture Partners Seattle's blog.
...about nonprofits? Or corporations? In a recent presentation at Microsoft, SVP's Grants and Program Manager, Mike Quinn posed this question to a group of employees interested in joining a nonprofit board. Their answers may (or may not) surprise you.
My process for writing a blog post usually goes something like this:
Wake up, yoga, a hot cup of tea as I settle down to my favorite spot at the kitchen table where I'm able to bask in the morning sun for an hour or so. Write, write, write... distraction, distraction, distraction... research, research, research... 'I should probably check my favorite blogs to see what's new in the world'... edit, edit, edit... add the finishing touches, like pictures, links or credits. One last read-through, and publish!
No matter the time it takes to write a blog post - sometimes as little as two hours or as much as two days - by the time I hit the publish button, I'm always ready to give myself a self-congratulatory pat on the back and take the rest of the day off. A tangible piece of work up on the website! I'm definitely done for the day.
I hate to say it, but the finished blog post should only be the beginning of a blogger's job. Even if you're the best writer in the world, your content will never promote itself. But, never fear! With this list in hand, you can start easily promoting your blog today.
**This post originally appeared on the Lumana blog.
Marconi Midodzi greets us and waves from across the room, not even glancing at the fabric as he precisely guides the bright orange blouse through the antique sewing machine. A slender man, Marconi has grown up in Atorkor surround by family, and has been sewing garments for his small community for the past eight years. When he stands up to shake our hands, with a measuring tape draped over his shoulder and wearing expertly fitting clothes, he certainly looks the part of a professional tailor.
I like Google. I like how they make my life easier by linking my personal Gmail account to every other Google product I use, so I only have to log-in once to gain access to my entire Google universe. I like how Google has seamlessly integrated itself into my life, so much so that I use more Google products that I do any other piece of software. I also like how Google is always innovating, to the point where their customers actively boo new products (remember Google Buzz?) or new updates to old products (the direct-to-consumer sales with the Nexus 1 phone). The more public the failure, the more Google is motivated to innovate and make the idea better.
Social media takes a lot of abuse. From publications the likes of the New Yorker and the New York Times printing Malcolm Gladwell and MP Mueller badmouthing social media sites, it’s no wonder why the entire trend can be seen as just that: a passing craze.
While I understand these arguments – and hold many of my own – against the assault of information leading to the ultimate destruction of humanity, my business is with nonprofits and social enterprises, where the lack of cash to spend on communications is sometimes shocking.
Along that line, tools like Facebook and Twitter are powerful weapons to keep in the communications arsenal. I've listed out four specific reasons why below: Money, Information Overload, Marketing, and Relationships.
Photo by Garance Dore.
About a month ago, I signed up for Twitter.
My last week was frustrating.
A Seattle news station is doing a short piece on Lumana’s impact in rural Ghana, where they will be recounting client success stories as well as interviewing Founder Sammie and Director Cole. Last Monday, a Seattle-based Lumana volunteer taking her spring break in Ghana came armed to the Volta Region with a camera in hand and explicit instructions from the station in her pocket: collect footage to make as many Seattlelites bawl into their hankies during the allotted half-hour segment as she possibly could.
Hi, I'm Lindsey Engh. This blog is a peek into some of things running through my brain: all things social media, nonprofits, social enterprises, storytelling, travel, and ethical money. I'm working on tuning the focus, but, not for a while.