Alexandra Samuel's blog

Share |

Falling for Facebook

How social networks (especially Facebook) bring value to your online outreach

I'm besotted with Facebook. I can see it becoming the primary way that I -- and many other people -- interact online. So if you aren't on Facebook already, join now. Now.

Still here? Don't tell me, you need actual reasons to join. Fine, here goes:

Share |

Dreamhost goes green

I've just discovered that Dreamhost, which we use to host all of our personal sites, is carbon neutral. They're buying carbon credits so that their users can proudly note that they have carbon neutral sites. Bravo, Dreamhost.
Share |

Looking for Oberlin alumni in social media/nonprofit technology

I've just started a facebook group for Oberlin Alumni in Social Technology" -- either nonprofit technology specifically, or social media more generally. I have this theory that the nptech scene must include a fair number of Obies, and I'd love to connect with them. So I'm starting the hunt, and hoping I might even surface some fellow alums who will be at the upcoming NTEN conference in DC. If you're an Obie and you're reading this, please join the Facebook group or post a comment here.
Share |

John Hagel on expanding markets through virtual communities

I'm writing this from the Community 2.0 conference, which promises to be two great days of inspiration on online community building and management. It got off to a great start with a presentation by John Hagel on "What's Possible? Expanding Markets through Virtual Communities".

Here are some of the highlights of John's talk:

How do we create effective online community?

  1. What do we mean by community?
  2. What skill sets are needed?
  3. What mind shifts are needed?
  4. What organizational structure is needed?

1. What is community?

There's a tendency to regard anything that's interaction as community.
The emphasis of real community establish connections among people so they can participate in shared discussions over time, leading to a complex web of relationships, and to an increased identification with the overall community.

Share |

Twittering to myself

Twitter seems to be the new addictive social networking app on the block. (For those new to the phenom, it's a site that lets you tell your friends what you are doing RIGHT NOW, and to see what they're doing, too.) But I haven't been able to get into the addiction cycle, because I don't have any friends. :(

Why? Because unlike other social networks -- Facebook, LinkedIn and Friendster spring to mind -- Twitter doesn't provide a way to mine your address book for fellow Twitter-ers. As far as I can tell, if I upload my address book to Twitter, EVERYONE gets an invitation to be my Twitter buddy, whether they're Twittering or not. I can see how this helps to spread Twitter, but since I don't want to annoy my entire contact list with invitations to all the social networks I check out, it makes it very hard to get up and running on Twitter.

So consider this a triple request:

  1. If you're using Twitter, ping me or add me to your friends list.
  2. If there IS a way to make Twitter scan my contact list for fellow Twitterers, please let me know.
  3. Twitter, if there ISN'T a way to scan my contact list for fellow Twitterers, could you add it? Or could you at least allow me to scan my buddies on other social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook -- not just LiveJournal, which is the only one you currently connect to?
Share |

Live from the LaFontaine-Baldwin lecture

Adrienne Clarkson gave the 8th annual LaFontaine-Baldwin lecture tonight on "the society of difference". She argued that we are ultimately able to transcend difference because we are all one manifestation, connected by a collective consciousness. I'm not sure it ultimately allows us to transcend all our differences, but you can see the web as a manifestation of unconscious human interconnection - and an ever-deepening picture of that interconnection. My favorite way to visualize how that process of connection is facilitated is on YouTube:
Share |

Out of my demographic on Facebook

I finally (!) joined Facebook, but here's as key sign it's not exactly my demographic: there's no way to define your relationship to someone as "married". When Rob added me as a friend, I had the option of describing our relationship as "lived together", "family" (if I wanted to describe him as a sibling or cousin -- but no, it's not that kind of marriage!) or "dated". I chose "dated", and had the opportunity to further clarify that we were "practically married" and are "still together". Now all I have to worry about are all the ladies cruising Facebook to find the kind of guy who is commitment-ready, but not legally committed....
Share |

Your Mac needs this software

I'm always looking for new bits of software that will make me more productive, more effective, and of course, taller. So I LOVED Tod Maffin's session at MooseCamp today where he ran us through a bunch of his favourite little apps -- and other folks shared theirs. Mac users, check out the list!
Share |

Vancouver workshop: Web 2.0 and your organization

We're often approached by business and nonprofit organizations who are interested in tapping the power of the social web but don't know where to start, or how to get a feel for the possibilities. I'm delighted to be co-teaching a Hollyhock-in-Vancouver workshop next month that will be a great opportunity for Vancouver-based organizations to get smart about Web 2.0:

Web 2.0 and your organization

Are you interested in how online communities like Flickr, MySpace, and YouTube can empower your members and customers to carry your message out into the world? Could your organization benefit from deeper collaboration among your team members, clients, partners or the public? Could better knowledge-sharing, stronger relationships and closer communications inside your organization and with your core supporters foster more efficiency, insight and effectiveness?

The latest generation of "Web 2.0" or social web strategies and tools offer powerful opportunities for organizations to improve the way they work, communicate their messages, empower others, and serve the public. In this workshop you will learn how the latest tools for online collaboration and community building can make your organization smarter and more effective.

This workshop is designed for communications strategists, marketing managers, and webmasters who are interested in how this evolution of the web can help evolve your organization's online strategy. We will give you the tools, knowledge, and most crucially, the vision for how your organization can use the web as a stronger agent of change. We’ll also cover the nuts-and-bolts, introducing the latest tools so that you know which options are most promising for your needs.

About the presenters: Jason Mogus is the CEO of Communicopia, which has helped progressive companies and non-profits communicate and collaborate via the web for 13 years. Jason is also the founder of Web of Change at Hollyhock. Alexandra Samuel, PhD (Harvard), is CEO of Social Signal, and is helping some of the web's most ambitious community ecosystems use the social web to support dialogue and collaboration.

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Hollyhock Leadership Institute, Web of Change, Social Signal, Communicopia, Social Tech Brewing, and Impacs.

To register:

Visit the Hollyhock site, call 800-933-6339 x232, or e-mail registration[at]


Share |

OPML for your enjoyment

I'm teaching a webinar tomorrow for NTEN on how RSS is changing how we send and receive electronic communications. As part of the webinar I want to offer participants a set of RSS feeds to get them started, and what better form to offer it in than an OPML file?

An OPML file is basically a file of RSS feed addresses that tells an RSS reader which RSS feeds to track and display. My OPML file (download by clicking the filename below) includes feeds on Blogging/Web 2.0, e-consultation, e-democracy, e-politics, e-pr, friends, general news, Internet research, nonprofit technology, political blogs, RSS, social software, and tech news.

Social Signal on...

RSS feedTwitterFacebookGoogle+

Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

Available on Amazon, iTunes and HBR.

Join Newsletter