The facts are grim and disturbing. It’s mid-December 2012, and a twenty-something year old physiotherapy student and a guy friend, both originally from the Indian state Uttar Pradesh but now living in Delhi, catch an evening movie at an urban cineplex in South Delhi. They then board a 9pm-ish bus home. The bus veers from its route, and the driver bolts the doors. What transpires over the course of the next hour has catalyzed over 10,000 protestors, broad public outcry, and a crowdsourced demand for change.

Crimes Against Women in Delhi

According to Reuters, New Delhi has the highest number of sex crimes of all major cities in India. A rape is reported to Delhi police every 18 hours. Many women’s rights groups claim that due to underreporting, the true number of sex crimes in the city is far higher. And, according the New York Times, even when rape cases are reported, the perpetrators are often not found or arrested.

Six individuals were taken into custody for gang rape and assault charges. The female student remains in critical condition. Though she has been under intense hospital care, she has worked with police to report what happened.

Mass Protests

Protests have cropped up at New Delhi’s historic India Gate and across the country, reaching a fever-pitch with tens of thousands of individuals seeking more serious, expeditious treatment of the over 100K crimes against women reported in the nation’s capital and across the country. Mass protests in Delhi have been met with governmental resistance—the Delhi government passed a late anti-protest ordinance (which has been largely ignored), city officials closed various transportation routes leading to India Gate where the protestors gathered.
The protests began peacefully but have also seen rowdy behavior including the overturning of a Parliament member’s car and provoking police. The police have responded with their own intensity–including tear gas, water cannons, and arrests.

The Call to Social Innovators

For social innovators, the news in Delhi is especially tough. India is one of the hotbeds for meaningful and innovative social impact initiatives. From new education measures to experiments in local farming, creative and driven thinkers in India forge new paths ahead.
The history for social entrepreneurship in India has been sometimes-inspired by the likes of prominent humanitarians within the country such as Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa, and great entrepreneurs such as Tata and Birla.
The victims’ calls for help weren’t answered in time. But the protests, responses, and online coverage is an active call that seeks response. It may be time for social innovators to support legislative changes that can help address issues of women’s safety, but also to think beyond the government to architect new ways that all people can be made more safe to study, work, and play in any city they find themselves in.

3 Things You Can Do, Now

1. Sign Online Petitions
2. Read 

The Great Inequality: What it’ll take for a Brighter Future for Women Worldwide (SocialEarth)

3. WatchIndian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh:
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit:

Jaya Bachchan, Actress/Politician:

Did you know that 92% of Americans have took some kind of social change action in the course of a year?This infographic on, based on Walden University’s Social Change Impact Report (3/2011) and published by Mashable, gives a bird’s eye view on how Americans engage in social impact—with attention to participation based on generation—Matures, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y (i.e. Milennials).Milennials are more likely to get involved in social change through traditional (versus digital media) methods….what do you think?


92% of Americans Take Action for Social Good
Browse more data visualization.


Yesterday there was a meeting of the minds to discuss the future of social entrepreneurship. One tweet at a time.Ashoka Changemakers hosted a live tweet chat, #SocEntChat, which brought together thinkers from organizations such as Kiva, Ashoka, Agora Ventures, Echoing Green, Centre for Social Innovation NY, and a number of others, as well as bloggers, thinkers, company representatives, and practitioners in the area.Here are the questions posed and a few memorable tweets from the chat.  The snapshot below is by no means comprehensive, but gives a peek into the global conversation and dialogue about social innovation happening today.


Q1. What resources are available to help people create long-term careers in social entrepreneurship? What else is needed?
Q1. People in the sector are best resources, and seem to like coffee :) Buy them one and pick their brain. 
A1 also has an extensive resource list of competitions &  
A1. But  itself isn’t really a long-term career. Really, we’re talking about thousands of diff careers connected to it 
A1. Clear definitions of concepts are needed to develop a field of research. Less important but useful in practice. 
A1  It is a struggle making that transition from idea to career. Less than 1% get into programs like 
A1 I decided to start giving away free  training at to help people build sustainable programs
In blogging on  issues, resources re:  and programs are sought-after.  
50+ Fellowship Programs for Social Innovators …. Accelerator Programs  
Corporates can be investors in , supporters w resources & talent. Our corp partners have provided incredible brain power!


A1. Follow a calling. Even if you happen to stumble upon it. Each of us has the capacity to make big change & be changemakers
Q2. What role does the corporate sector play in offering opportunities for social innovation? Should it be doing more?
Corporates can be investors in , supporters w resources & talent. Our corp partners have provided incredible brain power!
A2 the corp sector has an opportunity to move beyond CSR and integrate meaning making deeply into their culture. 
A2: Corporate sector can be major attention amplifiers – and (harder) can invite socially oriented innovation into their domain 
A2: Being able to quantify value of  to corporations would help to further the reach & work of –make must v. should
A2. Demand for  shift from employees & consumers is powerful.  401K options, green consumer optns offer choice 
A2: Corporations have INCREDIBLE resources to invest in innovation. Key finding corporate rebels to change the systems 
A2:  combines social impact w/ biz pragmatism at Accenture. Corporate rebels exist!  
A2. Within a corp one can create a structure for Team of Teams that create and collaborate. A space for idea-buidling cc 
A2: All employees can be changemakers – no need for a trade-off between PURPOSE and PROFIT  
A2. True success can be achieved when you have “win-win” situations for the corporations and social entrepreneurs


Q3. How can we evaluate the impact of social entrepreneurs to ensure that social value is still the foundation of their work?
Q3: Knowing what to measure and how to measure it is still one of the biggest  challenges. Is it a number, or a smile?


. A3: Kiva looks at how much borrowers’ incomes have increased after loans & how they compare region wide


. A3: Kiva has 20+ Fellows in the field gathering stories and interviewing borrowers all the time 


A3. the introduction of social value act in UK is going to make have to get much better at demonstrating social value


 A3: Patient capital is key. Be prepared to accept repeated small losses; a single payoff often more than makes up.


A3: Martin Seligman’s PERMA equation might be part of the answer. 


Often see impact metrics fall to wayside as  chase funding (due to diff funder priorities) – need to educate funders 2.


A3. One thing we’ll have to let go of is the idea of common standards. We seek consistency but the world is dynamic & relative


Think we also need to demystify what  is – move away from warm&fuzzy & towards viable impact-driven biz 


 SocEnt is not Charity or NGO. The moment you decide to use “Ent” you decided on one metric: sustainability i.e. profits.


A3. We are entering into a big data phase of tech evolution. Organizing/analyzing data can help validate  initiatives.


A3. Being vision/mission driven sets the intention. Creating measuring tools, goals, deadlines puts in motion.  etc. help
 can totally use the lean startup. both to measure & support projects & ventures. small experiments, rapid prototype. 
Q3: Impact should not be oversimplified (ie # of people taken out of poverty), it should involve complex things like process 
A3 make IRIS metrics mean something tangible to funders. 


Q4. : White women, on average, earn 77 cents to a man’s dollar; black women earn 69 cents and Latinas earn 57 cents. 1/2
Q4. Given these stats, how can  be a powerful path with unique opportunities, access points and benefits for ? 2/2




Q4. Women are able to empower other women, take on leadership roles and prioritize issues they consider important as 


Q4. UK stats show 86% of socent leadership teams boast at least one female director vs. 59% in private sector 


A4 great essay last year on economic empowerment leading to social empowerment from grameenphone founder 


A4. It starts at the neighborhood level. We solve problems by first getting to know our neighbors and communities. 


A4: Young people should know they can be changemakers ANYWHERE – working at big consulting firms or running their own ventures 


Q4. Women statistically reinvest in their communities more than men allows them to contribute in new ways eg microcredit


. A4: When you help women make their own money you promote gender equality, later marriage, education + more


A4: Mentoring, support networks & building community for women have worked in some ways to stronger apps for our Fellowship.


A4 great essay last year on economic empowerment leading to social empowerment from grameenphone founder 


 A4: Be Bold. Collaborate. Innovate. See Solutions where other see problems.


Q5. Should governments and political leaders be responsible for helping to facilitate the growth of social entrepreneurship?


  A5. Not exclusively,but enabling a supportive ecosystem is a necessity. They play a key role in removing barriers.


A5: Governments & politicians need to realize that crowd funding for social enterprise is powerful & here to stay 


A5 Absolutely.  will not thrive with advocates from any one sector, region or class. Everyone has a role to play 


Q5: the  space is very new and needs to be nimble. Government/political intrusion could hurt the space. 

A5: Public sector innovation can mirror private/social sector innovation. Again, connecting all stakeholders… 


A5. Governments in developing countries would help  best by developing a favourable environment for all enterprises.


Q5: Entrepreneurship usually thrives during economic hard times. So screwing up the economy could be government’s contribution?


A5: Gov’t should demand accountability and ensure cost reimbursed by enterprises that create the poverty & pollution 


A5: Govt represents huge platform for $$$, resources & rules of the game. Having govt alligned is huge factor.  


A5. We are all responsible of making positive change in our communities 


Q6. What will the world look like 25 years from now, when social innovation is business as usual? Is that a realistic future?


A6: World I’d like to see in 25 years is… 1. Sustainable 2. Empathetic and 3. A global changemaking community 


A6   25 yrs=75% of world will know of socent. 100 yrs=socent will be obsolete. All biz will be social.


A6.The best way to predict the future is to create it, so let’s stop rearranging the chairs and get busy making new furniture!!


A6: We want a world where EVERY women is a Changemaker – it’s feasible if girls are given the resources to innovate 


A6: In 25 years, global governance will be much more citizen-led, diplomats will need new jobs 


 A6 our hope and one of our fave quote business will be about “sharing the market not market share”


A6. 3BottomLine accounting would be the norm in a  future. Normalised impact accounting practices doable in 25 years?


A6 We already have intrapreneurs taking us , in 25 years time I hope creating profit with purpose will be common place


A6: We want a world where EVERY women is a Changemaker – it’s feasible if girls are given the resources to innovate 
A6: In 25 yrs, there will be solar everywhere, gender equality will be the norm & credit will be accessible to 1B more 

Screen Shot 2012-12-19 at 4.59.09 PM


There’s nothing quite like being in a room of 1000+ individuals interested, curious, and passionate about of exploring ways of connecting social media with social innovation. Unless, you can do it in the comfort of your own computer, from anywhere in the world.Stanford Social Innovation Review has been producing and hosting compelling content in the social innovation and social entrepreneurship realm for years. But earlier today they tried something new. Partnering with Living Cities, SSIR hosted a free webinar and invited Q&A via online, live submission.


The Webinar 411: Leadership & Innovation with Digital Media (#hyperconnect)

Leading in a Hyperconnected World: Driving Innovation & Impact with Digital Media
Wednesday, May 30th 2012. 11AM PST.
Ben Hecht, President & CEO of Living Cities (Moderator, SSIR blogger)
Stephen J. Downs, CTO & Information Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Claire Diaz Ortiz, Head of Social Innovation at Twitter
Watch the recording here. Official Twitter hashtag #hyperconnect

Below are some key takeaways from the panelists.

Ben Hecht (@benhecht) Shares His Top 3 Lists

Ben Hecht of Living Cities handily kicked off the webinar with some helpful, organized insight. Namely in the form of three easy-to-digest top 3 lists.

3 Reasons to use Social Media:

  1. To share intelligence and ideas
  2. To get realtime feedback
  3. To broadcast knowledge with a broader network

3 Principles that Living Cities Follows:

  1. Mine. This including mining at all stages of development (i.e. early ideation, emerging idea development, and for refining ideas).
  2. Engage. Ben underscored the goal of his organization to engage continuously, rather than transacting. He said that information flow should be two-way.
  3. Let go. Once the information is out there, he suggested stepping away, letting go, and decentralizing the information so it can move on its own.

3 Things that Living Cities Has Learned:

  1. Ideas really can go viral. Ben highlighted one instance when a single blog post was read by over 170K individuals, through simple sharing and re-posting through various social media platforms.
  2. Social media can make the adjacent possible. Innovation comes when innovations from different sectors collide and intersect. Social media, positioned Ben, enables those collisions and intersections, thus furthering and enabling new innovation.
  3. Social media networks can strengthen problem-solving resources. Perhaps couched on the idea of losing what you don’t share, Ben mentioned that his organization has benefited in trouble-shooting and strategizing longer-term solutions through tapping their social media networks for tips and best practices.


Steve Downs (@stephenjdowns) Connects Leadership with Social Media

Steve Downs of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explained his organization’s mission and overall usage of social media and refocused the discussion on social media to one about how to utilize digital platforms to further leadership, especially in the mission-driven world.

He outlined his organization’s multi-faceted approach to social media as involving openness, participation, and decentralization. Steve underscored the importance of participating in the social media stream rather than using it only to push content.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz (@ClaireD) Shows Us How It Works

Claire Diaz-Ortiz of Twitter illustrated the power of social media through the story of photojournalist James Bock, his initial reluctance in using Twitter, and how it literally saved him from jail time while covering protests in Egypt in 2008. Read the story on CNN here.

She also provided an evolved look at the slacktivism, highlighting the statistic that 40% of those using social media platforms are consuming content rather than producing it. Taking the edge off of passive use of social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other—she emphasized the importance of an engaged audience, and how those individual touch points could lead to further involvement and leadership in the future.

Questions to Ponder

There were a number of great user-generated questions. Ones that were not only useful to hear the panelists discuss, but would also be equally useful for social entrepreneurs and innovators to ask of themselves and their own efforts.

  • Is it important to adapt to the paradigm shift?
  • How can you take online dialogues offline?
  • How will you measure ROI with social media? was founded by Nick Aster in 2006 as a new media platform for the conversation on sustainability in business.  Intended to feature news and editorial blog posts, the focus has been on serving as a catalyst for conversation about social entrepreneurship for a business audience. The site gained momentum in 2011 and merged with Sustainable Industries in October 2011.

The name triple pundit alludes to the triple bottom line concept of assessing a company’s success by a triple bottom line of impact on people, planet, and profits…rather than the traditional bottom line of profits only.

TriplePundit regularly posts on topics related to clean tech, social entrepreneurship, eco-friendly products, micro finance, poverty solutions, impact investing, and issues surrounding water.

QuarterWater’s interview with TriplePundit founder [VIDEO]

Founder of, Dwight Peters interviewed Nick Aster in December 2011 in “Triple Pundit: How to go from 0 to 200,000 viewers a month – with Nick Aster.” In the open discussion, Aster outlined the history of the site, various revenue streams, and how TriplePundit grew from being a side project to being his full-time venture generating six-figure revenue annually, and gaining momentum.


In 2007 a YouTube video created and narrated by social activist Annie Leonard was released, and quickly proceeded to go viral. The documentary–“The Story of Stuff”— walked viewers through the life cycle of production, use, and disposal of goods and the impact on planet, people, and profits. It has been viewed over 10 million times.

As a special post today, we have an interview with the Director of Online Strategy of the Story of Stuff Project, Christina M. Samala. She is part of the team that has gone on to release a total of 7 movies. The most recent documentary addresses an issue on the minds of many these days, U.S. spending, jobs, and investment. The film, “The Story of Broke”, released on November 8, 2011.

Watch “The Story of Broke”
Q & A with Christina M. Samala, Director of Online Strategy & Media at The Story of Stuff Project
Q | Innov8Social: Thanks Christina for joining us and answering a few questions about the film and project. It’s an eye-opening watch & timely considering Occupy Wall Street has been going on for over two months, with protests in over 60 cities worldwide. Did the Occupy movement inspire your team to make “the Story of Broke” or was it already in the works?
A | Christina: The idea to make The Story of Broke got brought to the table almost a year and a half ago. The role that subsidies play in society in the US was on the forefront of all of our minds, but in Annie’s, in particular. Whenever ideas of innovation or problem solving spurred, she frequently heard, “that’s a nice idea, but there’s no money for that” as a response. She heard it so much that she started mentioning it in her talks and found that people really sympathized with that.

So, while this movie has been in the works for a while, I think the sentiments and situations fueling the Occupy Movement are the very same ones that inspired us make The Story of Broke. If anyone’s interested, Annie wrote a great blog about The Story of Broke, Occupy and how while some have gotten bailed out, we the people keep getting sold out.


Q | Innov8Social: What were the primary sources of research used in making the film? Can you provide any links so we can continue our research?

A | Christina: We partnered with a lot great and knowledgeable organizations, an effort spearheaded by Allison Cook, one of my five amazing colleagues at the Project. A lot of these NGOs already have extensive and thorough research on subsidies in the US. For some, like the National Priorities Project, delivering data is core function of their mission.


The best way to dig deeper and learn more:

Q | Innov8Social: What was the most challenging thing about making the film? The most surprising?

A | Christina: Perhaps not the most challenging thing, but definitely one of the first things to come to mind: picking the title. A year and a half ago, when we first started talking about making this movie, we referred to it internally as “The Story of Subsidies”. That stayed the working title for the movie until about June of this year, when we decided that “The Story of Subsidies” didn’t make for a particularly awe inspiring title. I’m pretty sure we were right!

The biggest, and much welcomed, surprise is that our online community is more powerful than Stephen Colbert! At least according to Google Analytics it is. On launch day, November 8, 2011, we registered 71,814 visits to Annie’s appearance on the Colbert Report on March 10, 2010 brought 64,504 visits to We feel pretty darn lucky to have such a diverse and engaged network and are so grateful to every individual and organization sharing our stuff!

Q | Innov8Social: How long does it take to make a film like “The Story of Broke” or “The Story of Stuff”? Do you have any suggestions or tips for budding social entrepreneur filmmakers out there?
A | Christina: The Story of Broke took over a year, from concept to launch. The Story of Stuff took decades if you include all the research and organizing Annie did in the field before bringing the movie to Free Range to start production. As far as suggestions go, if you’re heart’s in it, if your passion can sustain you through all types of hurdles, you just have to go for it. More practically, surround yourself with awesome, insanely intelligent and trusted colleagues!

Q | Innov8Social: If there was one single takeaway you would want viewers to carry with them after watching “The Story of Broke”, what would it be?

A | Christina: We’re not broke and there’s no time like the present to drop the consumer hat and put on the citizen one! Civic participation in these times is a must.

Q | Innov8Social: While the film overviews the current spending issues, much of it focuses on what we can do, on our ability to re-frame the story and make our money work for us, our environment, our economy, and our communities….so, what can we do? :)

A | Christina: We’re encouraging folks to sign up for our Community of Action so we can all flex our citizen muscles together. That’s one way to engage with the issues we raise in The Story of Broke. Another thing that we can each do all day, every day, is just talk about these things. Make a point to have a conversation about it; start re-framing the story. Dialog with family, friends and colleagues about the parts of our spending priorities that you feel strongly about, the parts that affect your life and the lives of your loved ones. When it comes to getting involved, it doesn’t really matter how you start. What matters is that you do start.

One of the things that’s been so uplifting about the response to the movie so far and the Occupy movement is that now, more than ever, I’m witnessing people being vocal about political and social concerns in public forums. Folks, en masse, are finally participating in the conversation of which systems just aren’t working. Along with all that good talking though, we all need to remind one another, and our government, of the power of an engaged, active and united citizenry.

A very special thank you to Christina! You can find out what everyone’s talking about. Watch “The Story of Broke” above!
In law, sometimes you find the most important reasoning in the footnotes. And at conferences, sometimes you find the best advice in the asides.For example at the popular event, Social Media for Nonprofits SF in the course of explaining their key takeaways on social media, many of the speakers, panelists, and attendees also mentioned social tools they use regularly.This was a great complement to high-level thinking on goals and strategies for social media to promote social cause, because it provided practical “how-to” or “how do I do that” tips to enact the big picture.

8 Social Media Tools, Overheard at Social Media for Nonprofits

1. lets you poll an audience instantly through mobile phone voting (i.e. text and twitter). It’s like American Idol polling capability for social innovators. It is free for small audiences and has pricing plans for larger groups as well as plans for K-12 and higher education. Other interesting features include a downloadable slide with results that updates as people vote.


2. is a search engine for tweets and Google+. It lets you track influence and influencers according to Twitter and Google+ usage. At Social Media for Nonprofits, Topsy was mentioned as an effective way to find influencers in your field or related to your cause. Connect with influencers, and your message, mission, and social innovation may find a broader reach.



3. is a way to share presentations online. The site is the largest community for sharing presentations and is used by the White House, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Social Media for Nonprofits. Users can upload and download presentations, share on social networks, embed video and links, and can sign up for a free account or can opt for pro.



4. is a simple way to listen in to tweets about a particular topic. Just enter the desired hashtag and you will see live twitter chatter about that topic. At Social Media for Nonprofits large screens were set up on either side of the podium featuring live tweets containing the #sm4np hashtag, powered by Tweetchat.



5. Tweet-in is not a website but an innovative concept employed by Darian Heyman (@dheyman), Social Media for Nonprofits conference convener, emcee, and author. He essentially posed questions related to social media challenges and goals to the room of participants and called on everyone to respond with the #sm4np hashtag. The result? everyone in the room could view the large screens and virtually network with everyone else. It was a unique way to simultaneously connect with potential partners, resources, and mentees. Creative!

6. is a tool that lets you mine tweets for trending topics, news, and influencers. It gives provides an interesting statistic called “TPH” (tweets per hour) for a particular topic. For example, I searched #socinn and came up with real-time results including highlights (left column), news (no news stories came up) and live twitter feed (right column). The TPH rate for #socinn was 3.


7. is a tool that helps you pinpoint the lesser-known influencers on twitter. It lets you do some interesting searches, such as searching 3 twitter handles and finding out common friends and mutual influencers. You can make maps and tables that tell you how various tweeters and tweeps are connected. TMI? Maybe you meant TMZ, because TMI doesn’t seem to apply to web 2.0 :)

8. is a fascinating tool to enable social media storytelling. You can search social media outlets such at twitter, facebook, rss feed, flickr, and google for content based on search terms. Then comes the fun part, you can actually assemble a storyboard with the social media finds you want to be included. The result is a more-cohesive presentation of social media. Considering the importance placed on storytelling in social innovation, it could be extremely useful.



Social Media for Nonprofits, San FranciscoSocial Media for Nonprofits delivered its 8th conference in its popular series to a packed room of hundreds at the Marine’s Memorial Club in San Francisco last week.The conference kicked off with an engaging video–complete with vivid statistics and action-inspiring music—and filled the day with sessions on social media from noted thought leaders in the industry.

Social Media Learnings Apply Across Sectors
And though the conference focused on providing social media tools to progress the non-profit space—there was ample for social entrepreneurs to learn it from too.
Here are a few takeaways that social entrepreneurs can implement today to make their social media campaigns more effective, farther reaching, and more impactful.
6 Key Takeaways for Social Entrepreneurs from Social Media for Nonprofits Conference (#sm4np)

1. There are no social media experts. Conference convener and emcee Darian Rodriguez Heyman and various other speakers including Victor d’Allant of SocialEdge emphasized the point that in the fast-paced world of social media–there are no bonafide experts. We learn so that we can ask better questions.

They may agree that it is valuable to strive for inexpertise—so that you can come closer to knowing what you don’t know about social media. And so you can focus on asking better questions, testing out bolder hypotheses, and tracking more far-fetched metrics so you can develop a better understanding of this space.

2. Learn to ask. Something I picked up was the need to be able to ask your friends, followers, fans, and readers to take action. The recommendation to avoid “press-release” verbiage and instead opt for open, frank communication with a humble request was helpful. Especially since it came from non-profits, foundations, and websites with massive followings and ambitious goals to create change. It makes sense that a personal appeal with individuals who you already have a personal connection with is often far more impactful in broadening reach, raising funds, and spreading a message.

3. Create the best content. I loved the talk by Evan Baylin, author of Outsmarting Google and his upcoming release, Outsmarting Social Media. Maybe it was because it tied so directly to the daily efforts related to Innov8Social—creating compelling content, connecting with what Google bots register as good content, and focusing on “long-tail” keywords rather than popular keywords was telling. Evan’s view of excellent content? Puppies, babies, love; fascinating images; and clever commentary.

4. Measure, set goals, evaluate…even if its like root canal. One of the speakers made her presence felt in many of the sessions preceding her. Beth Kanter is a known and beloved thought leader in the non-profit social media space and is the author of  The Networked Nonprofit. She polled the audience on whether using social media measurement tools felt more like root canal or like being in a candy shop.

Kanter outlined four stages of sophistication with regards to measurement analytics, and offered tips on defining results and establishing SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) results. It reminded me that no matter what stage our social media efforts are in, there is great value in measuring, projecting, trying, and then evaluating our efforts. Something I plan to put into effect…now!

5. Reward and recognize your fans. If Netflix has reminded us of anything, it is to value our fans and followers. This theme was reinforced by speakers such as David Boyce of He drove home the point that we all want to be winners (especially those who support us) and that we should take every opportunity to recognize, reward, and celebrate our collective achievements.

The reason that Innov8Social is still here (after nearly 6 months) is not due to my interest in the subject alone. It is because you have shown up and shown me that there is interest and value in this content. It has given my work a unique sense of purpose and given me the next challenge of how think bigger and grow these efforts into something useful and sustainable.

6. It’s all about the story. We have heard it so often, tell a story. Perfect your pitch. Describe your journey. These all make complete sense—and the conference provided a unique perspective about this advice. As I saw tens of speakers share their social media learnings, I realized that I remembered best the ones who presented a compelling story about the issues their organization is trying to address, why they individually are involved, and how their social media efforts have progressed. One such speaker was Christina Samala of the Story of Stuff. She told the story of the stories that her site produces. I am intrigued and look forward to their release of “The Story of Broke” on November 8th.

bird on the wireWhatever stage of your social innovation journey you are on, there is another kind of social you cannot ignore.Social media—it has become a kind of currency for determining success, reach, and engagement. And just as you invest time into building your idea and social venture, you may be advised to develop and diversify your social media portfolio.

Tipping Icebergs
A website, blog, Facebook fan page, Twitter account, Linkedin presence are just the tip of the iceberg in determining how to make a digital footprint that your future fans can find and follow. There are numerous ways to creatively engage audiences online and an equal number of ways to analytically gauge your social media reach and effectiveness.
Don’t Get Overwhelmed
Managing, creating, and curating content could easily consume most of your time—forget that you have a cause to address and business to develop. Instead of trying to master all of the big and small aspects of social media for social innovation, focus on a few ways to start.
What you may find, as I have found, is that much of the depth of understanding comes gradually and organically. It is by using multiple social media platforms that you may find yourself asking…”I wonder if there’s an app that can help with this” or “has anyone else faced this situation?”—questions that will not just lead you to a temporary fix but to longer-term solutions.
Frustration Moments are Learning Opportunities
Inserting new html might break a page. You may find your comment sections being power-spammed, or you might find yourself in a Twitter rut.
There’s a level of engagement and use that is required to reach a moment of frustration. And just as you did when you couldn’t get past a tricky level of Super Mario Bros., you’ll have to keep trying and assess your pain points before you can hope to rescue the princess.
10 Social Media Tools for Social Innovation
Here are a few tangible resources you can turn to—as a starting point, or a go-to resource when you hit a digital wall.
Feel free to add your own ‘best picks’ or explain how any of the listed resources helped your social venture in the comment section below.

1. Social Media Examiner Blog. I recently came across this site from a link to a post on ways non-profits can benefit from social media. The site delivers its tagline “Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle” through posts useful information and vivid images on tools and industry findings about ways to improve your social media reach.

2. Social Media for Nonprofits Seminar. If you learn best in a live setting, you may choose to kick off your social media knowledge (or develop it further) through the popular day-long seminar which brings together non-profit leaders with social media experts. I will be attending the event in SF area this week and look forward to reporting back on the experience.

3. Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals. The emcee of the Social Media for Nonprofits Seminar served as executive director of the Craigslist Foundation and edited this book on managing non-profit resources, including social media.

4. Meetup Groups. After a point of experimenting with new techniques, reading articles, blogs, and books—you may find yourself just wanting to be in a room with other people who are facing the same questions and issues with their social media. Meetup groups may be your answer. For example, I am looking into migrating from Blogger to WordPress, and just from a quick search on Meetup I not only found a number of WordPress groups but also learned about a great seminar on the ins and outs of that platform.

5. LinkedIn Groups. If you want the digital version of a Meetup group, join a few LinkedIn groups related to your social innovation interest or social media needs. Group members share articles, upcoming events, and new research—and with the active comment sections you may even find it to be a useful networking opportunity. My tip: start out with a few groups, otherwise you may feel inundated with useful information.

6. Social Media Job Descriptions. Here’s an odd one, that makes sense. How can you learn about what social media tools industries are using? A great start is to look at social media job descriptions for social ventures you appreciate or respect—they often list the tools, platforms, and analytics that they expect candidates to be familiar with. It’s a great way to ‘check your notes’ to see if you are using those tools (or are familiar with them) too.

7. Conferences and UnConferences. I love live events—the idea of listening to information, laughing at jokes, and talking to people before and after and ‘in the hallways’ fascinates me. And I have met some great, inspiring people at various events. My suggestion is to take every opportunity to take your social network live.

8. Book Talks. Another great way to get in the know is to check with your local bookstore about upcoming book talks. There are bound to be a few related to social media, marketing, or management. Being able to hear an author talk about his/her experience in writing a book and the questions that the book answers is not only informative and engaging, but you may find yourself in great company.

9. If you are looking to complete a specific social media task, you may want to tap a fiverr member. The site lists tasks that a person will complete for $5. While you probably won’t be able to get your entire website re-designed, you may be able to have someone do an SEO review of your site or send you a list of the most valuable keywords. If you are a budding operation, outsourcing a few tasks may make your time more effective.

10. Informal Intros. I have found social innovators to be a remarkably open and helpful group of folks. If you were ever wondering “how did they do that” with regards to a website, social media strategy, cause marketing, or audience engagement—you may want to just ask. By email, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook comment—you may find that an informal intro to be a great way to connect and share useful information.

Roll is a nifty web tool that lets you curate and publish content in a newspaper-like publication that can be sent out weekly, daily, or twice-daily. The application is free to use and takes just a few minutes to set up.

And the interesting thing is that you don’t even have to manually choose the news stories to feature. Using a variety of different curation calls, will draw relevant stories and format them….automatically.
It is up to you to design focused, relevant content streams from which will draw. Fail to do this, and you are just creating more digital content “noise”…but get it right and you may be able to connect readers to a relevant cause and amplify social innovation solutions.
Here are a few ways to help you publish the most relevant content.
5 Tips on Configuring Content Streams on

1. Find a specific niche. Considering the wealth of information bombarding online readers at any moment, look to make the scope of your publication focused and specific. Whether you are a social innovator focused on impact investing, clean water, poverty, green technology, or social innovation law–it is a good idea to ask what a person would gain from reading your online newspaper.

Here are a few examples of social innovation publications:

2. Look to relevant lists. Twitter lists can make for great content wells from which can draw. Take a look at any lists you are on and any you follow. There is an option on to include specific lists.

3. Feature power users. In your specific social innovation topic you may notice that you retweet a certain power user frequently or that certain users consistently include links to timely, relevant, content-rich articles squarely addressing a cause or social innovation solution. You can list single Twitter users as a content stream.

4. Follow the hash tags. Another way to capture relevant content is to list specific Twitter #tags for to survey. You can list multiple tags—but take a tour through Twitter and opt for ones that are more specific over general. For example, will likely glean more relevant content on social entrepreneurship law from #socentlaw than from #law.

5. Decide on Your Covered Topics (Hint: Think KIS). Also in the content realm you can choose from covered topics. These will turn into tabs of your online publication. There are over 15 to choose from. In times of massive choice, it’s often good advice to Keep it Simple (KIS).  KIS can also apply to the distribution frequency–if you notice that publishing too frequently is just creating noise rather than useful, relevant curation—then cut back. Likewise, if your topic requires timely, frequent updates–then look to keep it updated accordingly.

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