examples

Ask social media experts to share their secrets at SXSW

Ask social media experts to share their secrets at SXSW

Our decision to open source Social Signal’s intellectual property has made me rethink my proposed panel for SXSW. This week, I’ve heard from folks who (like us) are eager to share their social media “secrets”. So why not use that to see whether social media experts to live up to their own hype?<

Social media and the health sector: an introduction with case studies

Social media and the health sector: an introduction with case studies

Social capital, understood as the density of relationships and trust within a community, is a key determinant of health. Individuals are happier and healthier in communities with high levels of social capital, and high social capital communities have stronger economies and more stable political systems. This post provides an introduction to the role of social media in building social capital, illustrated with examples of how health care organizations are using social media for storytelling, connecting and knowledge management.

Google docs: now in Safari

Google docs: now in Safari

I just discovered that Google Docs finally work in the Safari web browser. (Up until now, Mac users had to access their Google Docs via Safari.) I think we may have the iPhone to thank for this; all those iPhone users wanted mobile access to their documents! I wonder what else the iPhone will finally bring to the Mac platform.

If you’re not using Google Docs, this is a great time to start! Google Docs let you create, edit, store and share documents and spreadsheets; the word processor feels very much like Microsoft Word, and the spreadsheet editor like Excel, so you’ll be right at home. But unlike the desktop versions of those apps, Google Docs let you collaborate with your colleagues. Here are some of the ways we’ve used Google docs and spreadsheets in our work:

  • as part of a strategic planning process: brainstorming results in rows, participants in columns, with each participant marking their favorite ideas
  • manage our docket of clients and projects (one client per row, one week per column; each week we insert a new column and add notes, current status, and upcoming actions and status
  • capacity planning: clients and projects in rows, weeks/months in columns, to track upcoming hours required
  • document creation: one person drafts in word and uploads, others fill in their details/examples
Social Signal is hiring a Business and Project Manager

Social Signal is hiring a Business and Project Manager

Social Signal is offering an unusual opportunity to come in on the ground floor of a business with the experience, reputation and credentials to go sky-high. If your enthusiasm for technology is matched only by your passion for social change, you'll find that the joy of working with kindred spirits can be matched by the thrill of helping communities use the Internet in ways they never imagined.

WHO WE ARE: Social Signal puts the web to work for social change, helping organizations turn online communities into a powerful force for progress. We have extensive experience in the non-profit, public and private sectors, and a large network of local, national and international colleagues and clients that you'll be working with on a regular basis. While you expand your professional network and skills, we also hope you'll enjoy being part of our personal network of technology leaders and community advocates in Vancouver and abroad.

WHO WE NEED: We're looking for a organized, progressive, tech-friendly person whose project management skills can make our work even more effective.  This fourth member of our team isn't just there to justify taking a four-person table during our meetings in the local Internet cafe. We need a boss: someone who can manage our business affairs, major projects and our team itself so that we make the most of our resources. The right person will enjoy our company's informal, friendly vibe but will help us balance friendliness with professionalism and efficiency.

WHAT YOU'LL DO: You'll business manage our business, project manage our projects, and prioritize our priorities. Your primary responsibility will be to manage our work priorities — everything from client work to business development to financial and legal affairs — to ensure that everything is getting done. You'll also help structure our client engagements by consulting on project scope, breaking down tasks, and assigning responsibilities. You'll know you're doing your job if everyone else on the team is clear about theirs.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • managing business operations including h.r., finance and legal affairs
  • project managing web development projects
  • writing or editing project proposals
  • identifying work priorities and assigning tasks
  • maintaining friendly, productive relations with our clients (including non-profit organizations, governments and socially-minded businesses) and suppliers (including designers, web developers and hosting companies)

WHO YOU ARE: You're the person who gets things done: organized and detail-oriented while keeping your eye on the big picture. You're confident, diplomatic and a born problem-solver, with a gift for getting along with people even when deadlines are looming or computers are crashing. You like knowing that the work you've done each day has made a real difference – to your colleagues, your clients, and the world.

You're passionate about social change, and your community or activist history shows it. And while you're not a programmer, you're as psyched as we are about the web's ability to make that change happen: your idea of excitement is mastering a great new online task management tool, discovering a smart progressive web site or writing a particularly sharp blog post.

Your real-world and computer desktops are as simple and uncluttered as a Zen rock garden. You're able to point to projects you've guided to completion, chaos you've turned into order, and cats you've herded into neat little rows and columns.

This is a full-time mid-level position. You've already demonstrated your capacity to plan, organize and manage complex projects; now you want to put that capacity to work in a role that will engage and challenge you.

HOW TO APPLY: Please e-mail a résumé, cover letter and salary expectations to hiring@socialsignal.com by September 15th, 2006. Tell us why you’d like to work for Social Signal, and please describe your relevant skills and professional or volunteer experiences. We want to hear about your community, advocacy or public service experiences as much as about your project management and organizational skills and experience. We're particularly interested in hearing about your:

Skills:

  • project planning and management
  • personal organization and time management
  • solid writing and communication skills
  • attention to detail
  • tech skills (Mac/Windows/Linux, software programs you know, web tools you use)

Experience:

  • projects where you've been responsible for planning and coordinating (examples might include event planning, office management or web site development)
  • writing for work or fun, on a regular basis; proposal/grant-writing
  • situations where you've worked independently with minimal supervision
  • work that has involved client relations or working with the public
  • jobs that have required you to organize not only your own work but also to keep track of other people's responsibilities and deadlines
  • volunteer work for community organizations or causes
  • situations where you've gone the extra mile to get the job done

Interests:

  • commmunity groups, projects or issues you're involved in
  • web sites you like or web tools you're excited about

Bonus points for:

  • having your own blog
  • telling us your favourite tech tool for managing time or organizing tasks
  • a strong opinion (pro or con) about Getting Things Done

Compensation will be commensurate with skills and experience. Please note that this is a mid-level position.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Business tunes into grassroots community

Business tunes into grassroots community

I’m just back from SXSW, where I was reminded that there are still a few people out there who are thinking about the Internet as a potential business opportunity rather than as a chance to reinvent democracy.

At the panel I was on — Remixing Business for a Convergent World — it seemed that what is really converging is how both business folks and political hacks are looking at the Net. Let’s take, for example, the question of how to make strategic use of blogs — a question that my fellow-panelist, Robert Scoble, addresses in his recent book Naked Conversations.

Thanks to blogs, businesses can no longer afford to ignore even their smallest customers. Traditional blue-chips are starting to recognize that their next p.r. crisis could be precipitated by a cranky shareholder or dissatisfied customer who blogs about the company. As for the latest generation of web start-ups — sites like Squidoo, Frappr, or LinkedIn — they’re not only sensitive to customer perceptions: their entire business models are based on user (i.e. customer) contributed value.

Once you start to see customers are value creators, rather than value consumers, a lot of business truths get turned upside-down. Take, for example, the idea that businesses are primarily accountable to their boards or shareholders. Does anyone out there think that the success of del.icio.us or Flickr depends more on Yahoo shareholders than on the users who are contributing bookmarks, photos, and software plug-ins?

If businesses find themselves suddenly accountable to their users, that kind of accountability is old news to both government and civil society organizations. Governments have always been primarily (if imperfectly) accountable to citizen-voters, and civil society organizations (whether community service groups or political advocacy organizations) have always been primarily accountable to their members and donors.

The net result is that it’s business that now needs to learn from civic and public organizations about how to enage at the grassroots level. It’s not like public and nonprofit organizations have all the answers — great examples of effective two-way member/voter engagement online are still rarer than the many examples of organizations that are still in “broadcast” mode — but at least there’s a decade of effort to look at.

For those of us who’ve been thinking about online democracy and grassroots engagement for something like that long, the rise in business interest should come as (mostly) good news. Sure, there’s more competition for public attention: efforts at getting voters to participate in policy discussion now have to compete with businesses offering free ipods in return for customer feedback.

But there’s also a rapidly expanding toolkit for grassroots community-building. Tools like Squidoo, Flickr, and del.icio.us offer entirely new ways of involving members and encouraging members to interact with one another. Just as important, the private sector’s growing embrace of customer “community” may help to build a broader culture of pervasive engagement.