Bread and Butter 2.0
|As I've been reading the explosion of postings all over the net dedicated to "Web2.0" I'm struck by a disconnect between the advantages of the new web technologies and the business goals our users are striving to meet on the network.|
Here's what I mean: John Hagel in a post last week offered a tentative definition of web 2.0 as
“an emerging network-centric platform to support distributed, collaborative and cumulative creation by its users.”I think this really sums up the user-centric view of a lot of the discussion. But what do my non-profit users want from the internet? Now jump in and pummel me if you disagree, but I'd say you'd tell me your major concerns are
Meanwhile, somewhere in their organizations people are researching issues, writing brochures, commenting on legislations, issuing press releases - all "distributed, collaborative" tasks. But that's the problem with distributed: the work is being done with other people in other organizations or offices who are probably not going to take the time to learn the great new tool you've been experimenting with. The Senator's aide does not want to sign up for a Writely account just so you can mark up her draft in a cutting-edge way.
And probably your executive director doesn't want to either. "Why can't you just send her a doc like you did last week?" I know. I've tried. We're talking innovation here, and adopting anything new comes at a cost. Sad to say, winning buy-in from your own staff is not enough to allow the use of these new tools.
So is web2.0 simply irrelevant for most non-profits? If not, how can web2.0 be tied directly into the bread and butter issues? I think one way is to focus on these collaborative tools as a path to on-line community building for the organization's members and supporters. By making a site available to your members where people can post ideas for comment, propsect for colleagues to work on specific projects, and just plain schmooze, you can increase the sense of involvement your constituents have. There are a variety of tools you can employ to do this. You get the early adopters excited and engaged right away, and the others will be lured in at their own pace. Meanwhile, you still can still send the Senator's aide an email.
tags: nptech, web2.0