David B. Crowley's blog

SCI Highlighted in "Five Strategies to Revive Civic Communication"

With the help of a big cup of coffee, I'm starting my day in Chicago, looking forward to an Aspen Institute Roundtable discussion of the just-released paper "Five Strategies for Reviving Civic Communication".  Read more

Social Capitalist Values & Competencies

I realized we didn't have our Social Capitalist Values and Competencies together in one spot on our website, so am remedying that by posting here, starting with our Social Capitalist Values.
  1. Relationships are central—to strengthening communities, to individual well-being. 
  2. We can do more by working together.
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6 Small Biz Social Media Articles & Great Examples

Preparing for my "Putting Social Media to Work for Your Small Business" presentation last night (described and available for viewing here), I came across some great articles and examples on the subject--with help from social media friends of course!  Here are the articles I referenced, with links; I'd welcome suggestions for others to add:

Small Businesses Benefit from Social Media, Study Reveals From Social Media Examiner

5 Quick Ways to Liven Up Your Twitter Stream Mashable.com (with good small biz examples)

30 Social Media Case Studies Penn-Olson.com

How Social Media Grew Foiled Cupcakes Sales by 90% BizSugar.com Read more

Putting Social Media to Work for Your Business Presentation

Last night I spoke with members of the Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Boston on "Putting Social Media to Work for Your Business.  As promised, I am posting the presentation slides here as a Google document for convenient, paper-free reference. 

The presentation will probably be of most use to people who attended last night, as some of the slides are simply screen shots that I talked through.  However, I think the much of the presentation would also be useful to others interested in the subject.  The slides includes some general tips for social media, specific steps to use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for business purposes, and quite a few examples and references to good articles.  It is primarily geared for people fairly new to using social media for business, but again, some of the info might be of interest to the more experienced. Read more

No Bag Please! Earth Day & Every Day

In a flash, the cashier had placed the collander into a large plastic bag. "I don't need a bag, I can carry that," I said.

"Oh, I've already used it, it's easier to just leave it in the bag," came the response. I started wondering, how many bags get wasted needlessly based on this kind of response?  Since then, I've been waging a little individual campaign, trying to cut down on the number of bags used on my behalf and occasionally encouraging stores to cut down on the bags they use. Read more

Upcoming Event: Putting Social Media to Work for Your Business

Next Tuesday, April 26, I will be doing a presentation on "Putting Social Media to Work for Your Business" at the Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce (HACC) Business After Hours event at Fisher College.  Registration is at 5:30 p.m. with the presentation starting at 6 p.m.  The free event is open to non-members but requires an RSVP. Today (Wednesday 4/20) is the RSVP deadline, if you are reading this after that date, check with the HACC office to see if there is still room.  Call 617.353.1114 or email events AT hacc.com to save a spot for yourself.

The presentation will be geared to those fairly new to using social media for their business. I'll be reviewing some benefits to using social media, how to develop an appropriate strategy, and some basic tips for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and FourSquare.  I'll post the slides following the event. More details can be found in the attached flyer.

 

Creating a National Civic Communication Corps

David co-authored this post with Peter Levine, Director of Research and Director of CIRCLE (Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement) at Tufts University.

Go for a hike in a state or national park, and you are likely to run into some legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps.  Formed in the depths of the Great Depression to give young men work that met public needs, the CCC constructed bridges, trails and lodges that we still enjoy today.
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Creating Local Online Hubs: Lessons from SCI

Every community needs a portal, said the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy.  The Knight Commission recently released a paper by Adam Thierer, Creating Local Online Hubs, which lays out a framework for moving on this recommendation.  SCI has developed a local community portal tool that we're now operating in eight Massachusetts communities, so I'd like to share some perspectives on Mr. Thierer's paper based on our experience. Read more

Social Capital Still on Their Minds

Two years ago, the SCI Board completed a strategic planning process that placed "Developing Social Capitalists" at the heart of our work.  A key underlying premise is that by providing emerging leaders skills and tools they need to engage others, they will have significant community impact over time, long after they have completed their participation with SCI.  

I would love to increase our capacity to track the long-term impact of our Social Capitalists; but meanwhile, hearing from SCI alumni about how their participation continues to influence them provides some qualitative feedback that suggests we're on the right track.  This thought was prompted by hearing from Ivan Hauck, who was our first AmeriCorps member serving in Dorchester six years ago, where he helped start the SCI Dorchester Youth Council. When reconnecting over LinkedIn recently, Ivan said, "I still keep a picture of our Dorchester Youth Council on my desk and talk about 'Bowling Alone' and the idea of social capital on a regular basis."  Read more

Freedom

Quick--one word to describe what the prostesters in Egypt are seeking?  

Good chance that you might choose the word "freedom", a concept for which so many have struggled and in some cases given their lives.  But it is also an idea that has many meanings (it can even be an adjective modifying a fried potato!), which makes Jonathan Franzen's novel Freedom an interesting read at this time.  This isn't the place nor I the writer to discuss the book's literary merits; rather, I'd like to share some of the concepts of freedom I thought about reading the book and how it relates to current events.  Before launching into that theme, I would say that Freedom has a tight story line that keeps you moving through the 500+ pages; Franzen seems to be primarily concerned with telling a story and developing his characters as opposed to making a political statement (though he sprinkles them in!).  It was simply a good launching point for me to reflect upon the idea of freedom, and is a worthwhile read for both entertainment and reflection.Read more

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