About Social Media and All That Stuff

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Simone P. Joyaux, ACFRE is recognized internationally as an expert in fund development, board and organizational development, strategic planning, and management. She is the founder and director of Joyaux Associates. Visit her website here.

Have you noticed that I don’t write about that — social media?

You’re right. I don’t. Why? Because I don’t write about stuff I don’t know enough about. Also, I don’t write about stuff that doesn’t interest me a whole lot.

On the other hand, my head isn’t in the sand. I know that social media matters. I know that e-philanthropy is important.

But I also know that neither social networking nor e-philanthropy is the answer to your fundraising dreams.

Get a grip! Be realistic! And read the right stuff.

So here are a few of the people to read and attend their workshops and pay attention to their advice.

1.     Subscribe to The Agitator blog. Tom Belford and Roger Craver report on research and provide lots of useful insights and advice about social media and e-philanthropy.

2.     Subscribe to Ted Hart’s blog and read his books and attend his workshops. Ted is probably the first user of the term e-philanthropy. He’s a fundraiser first and foremost. And he’s an expert in e-philanthropy. Ted will remind you that social media are tools, sometimes good and not always marvelous.

3.     Subscribe to Jeff Brooks’ blog. Jeff blogs and writes articles about direct marketing and social media and more.

4.     Check out Beth Kanter’s blog. Beth’s another social media expert.

5.     Read the research from the Pew Center. Pew reports on American life and the Internet.

6.     Always check out the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University for research.

7.     Read Erik Qualman’s book Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg for social media and all that stuff. But practitioners read experts. Even experts read other experts.

And just keep this in mind: Social media and e-philanthropy will not solve all your problems. Social media and e-philanthropy won’t even solve most of your problems. And right now, social media and e-philanthropy will not raise more money than direct mail or face-to-face solicitation.

Here’s a book I bought myself for the new year: You Are Not A Gadget, a manifesto by Jaron Lanier. Now let me tell you who Lanier is: Silicon Valley visionary since the 1980s; father of virtual reality. How are those for bona fides? The book jacket says Lanier was one of the first “to predict the revolutionary changes the World Wide Web would bring to commerce and culture.”

And you know what, Lanier offers you and me a “provocative and cautionary look at the way the web is transforming our lives for better and worse.” This Internet guru actually warns us about things . . . things like Facebook and Twitter and Wikipedia that elevate the “wisdom of mobs and computer algorithms over the intelligence and judgment of individuals.”

I’m reading this book. I think you should, too. “Controversial and fascinating, You Are Not a Gadgetis a deeply felt defense of the individual by an author uniquely qualified to comment on how technology interacts with our culture.”

Finally, don’t anticipate many (maybe any!) future columns on social media from me.