David B. Crowley's blog

Leveraging Social Media to Promote Public Health

Participants ready to go in Let's Get Social workshop

Yesterday I presented a workshop, "Let's Get Social: Leveraging Social Media to Promote Public Health" at the Southeastern Massachusetts Inter-CHNA (health communities network) conference. As I suspected, we didn't have a chance to cover all 71 slides in the 45 minute workshop, so I'm sharing it here as a follow-up--click this link to view as a Google presentation. The presentation could be handy to folks beyond the public health sphere, as the slides include a lot of basic pointers and how-tos on social media, including an intro to Twitter.Read more

Why I Tweet--10,000 Times

Ready to cast my vote and Tweet number 10,000! #10000Tweets

In the beginning, it was peer pressure that nudged me onto Twitter. I'd heard buzz about it, and my curiosity was piqued when I heard mention that many Members of Congress and commentators were Tweeting around that year's State of the Union. But what really got me to focus on it was when Lindsay Hyde, founder of Strong Women Strong Girls, asked at an event if we were Tweeting yet at SCI. When I answered no, she said she could really see how it could apply to our mission of promoting local civic engagement. Not wanting to be too much of a Luddite, I didn't ask too many questions about how exactly she saw Twitter's relevance to our mission. I did sign up for my Twitter account a few days later, determined to figure out what it was about.Read more

10 Ways to Boost Your Community Clout

Confession: I was disappointed when the changes in the Klout scoring system last week resulted in mine dropping from 66 to 52.  In case you haven't been sucked into monitoring your score yet, Klout is a company that provides users with ratings intended to measure their online influence. They made a significant change in their algorithm last week that resulted in scores changing, much to the chagrin of many.

The Klout score attempts to get at one's influence, which begs the question, "Influence for what?". At Social Capital Inc., we're using social media to help achieve our mission of getting people to be more civically active in local communities. So our aim is to leverage online social media to influence people to get out into place-based communities and join with their neighbors around common interests and goals. Drawing on experience in my community, here are ten ways to leverage social media to build your community clout (and they might not hurt your Klout score either):Read more

SCI Highlighted as National Model

SCI's outreach and technology team was highlighted in “Civic Engagement and Community Information: Five Strategies to Revive Civic Communication”, written by Peter Levine and published by the Aspen Institute and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. I find myself referencing it frequently, but it is in the middle of the report, so I am posting the excerpt on SCI for handy reference. Read the full paper here.

Social Capital Inc. is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that seeks to increase local civic engagement and social capital through a variety of initiatives that connect diverse individuals and organizations in the community. Since its founding in 2002, SCI has incorporated information and communications technologies as essential components of its programs to connect people, foster civic engagement and build healthier communities. SCI currently serves ten communities in the state.Read more

Six Things Social Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs
Picture credit: Ben Stanfield

Though I wrote most of my college papers on a Mac, I haven't been an avid consumer of Apple products. Yet last night I found myself riveted to the computer, reading the passion pour forth from so many that have been touched by Steve Jobs.Read more

The Week in Social Capital

Our week started by organizing a vigil on 9/11, followed by three days of training for our new AmeriCorps team. But it was a big week in the broader world of social capital and civic engagement too, with several important new studies released. Unfortunately, the timing didn't allow us to get to the National Conference on Citizenship, but we followed virtually the new information coming out. Here's a recap of some of the important recent social capital news:

Guardian of Democracy: This follow-up report to the Civic Mission of Schools underscores the importance of effective civic learning for our democracy and young people's development. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of work to be done here. This report is a good starting point.Read more

Media Coverage of Woburn Unites Vigil

No surprise that the news media was out in full force in Woburn this past Tuesday when gunfire was exchanged between jewelry  store robbers and the police, wounding one officer. I was pleased to see that they were back in Woburn yesterday to provide coverage of the way our community came together through the Woburn Unites vigil. Hundreds turned out for this event organized in just a few short days. As I said last night, "When faced with adversity, Woburn unites!".

Here are some links to the coverage of the event we've come across so far:

"Candlelight Vigil Held for Woburn Policeman", WCVB Boston TV News

"Woburn Unites over Tragedies", NECN TV News

"Woburn Unites for Moving Ceremony" Woburn Patch article and photo galleryRead more

Joining Neighbors Once Again to Observe 9/11

Despite it being a particularly hectic week, I couldn't let the 10th anniversary of 9/11 go by without sharing some brief thoughts on its connection to our work at Social Capital Inc. I was beginning to formulate the idea for SCI in the summer of 2011, and the 9/11 attacks provided impetus to move forward in two important ways. First, 9/11 served as a stark remimder of life's fragility. My takeaway from that was to appreciate each moment but also reinforced the notion that one must act upon one's passions and dreams in the limited time we have. I had an idea that seemed important, and it was time to go for it!Read more

Is it time for a new CCC?

It's all about jobs these days. As President Obama prepares to release a new jobs proposal shortly after Labor Day, plenty of people have been weighing in on what it should look like. A New York Times editorial this week suggested a job proposal should include expansion of AmeriCorps, so I thought I should weigh in on the topic.

For a few weeks, CNN analyst and former Presidential advisor David Gergen has been Tweeting about the need for bold action on jobs, and suggesting that "Obama must take lessons from FDR -- pull in best minds in US, rally us as people, and experiment urgently on jobs."Read more

Community Assets and Perception

Yesterday Sandy Maxey and I were exchanging Tweets about the merits of taking an asset-based approach to community and economic development. As I said to Sandy, when facilitating community planning, we usually start by asking people to talk about assets they see in the community. Even when it's a simple icebreaker at the beginning of a meeting, I'll often ask people to share something they like about their community along with their basic name/where I'm from info.

One reason for this approach is the simple premise that building on strengths is a good strategy. In addition, getting people to share their passions and interests facilitates relationship building. I may never have met Russ, but if we both enjoy walking at Horn Pond, that gives us a bit of common ground to start from. Read more

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