Rob Cottingham's blog

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Click. Conserve. Compete.

New BC Hydro app lets users harness conservation efforts to greening 2010 Winter Games

Power the Games banner

When BC Hydro asked us to help them develop a new social media project - building on the success of the Green Gifts Facebook app - our thoughts naturally turned to the 2010 Winter Games. BC Hydro is an Official Supporter; organizers are aiming to have their greenest Olympic Winter Games yet; BC Hydro's ad campaign is built around the slogan "Save power. See the games."... hmm...

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Help write the agenda for the 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference

SXSW isn't the only fabulous event whose agenda is partly shaped by audience input. NTEN, the Nonprofit Technology Network, will hold its annual conference next April in Atlanta, Georgia... and they'd like you to help them figure out what sessions to offer.

Head on over here for a list of candidates, and start a-clickin'. And if you'd like to leave comments – suggestions, questions, thinly-veiled requests to be included on the panel – just click on the session title.

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Turning mild-mannered supporters into super-powered fundraisers

Super Community badge

The BC Children's Hospital is on the lookout for a Super Community - a group of people doing something extraordinary to raise funds, raise awareness and support the hospital's work caring for British Columbia's children.

And to do that, they've created an online space where communities can organize at You'll find tools for collecting donations, emailing contacts, and sharing stories, videos and photos.

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Hi, PC World readers - here's your Noise to Signal primer

A little history... and some of the cartoon's greatest hits

@awsamuel Could you pass the salt?

If you're visiting from PC World - or just happened to stumble onto us - we're glad you could come by. Pull up a chair. Lemonade?

Your timing's terrific: I was just about to start the slide show. Oh, no, don't get up - the holiday pictures aren't until later. No, this is all about Noise to Signal, my cartoon about the intersection of technology, communications and life. Sit back and make yourself comfortable.

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PC World features Noise to Signal

PC World logo

When I was a young 'un still trying to wrap my mind around personal computers, modems, desktop publishing and stuff, I had only a few trusted sources to turn to: my very few friends who shared my interest... whatever I could glean at 300 baud from Ottawa's various computer bulletin boards... and magazines.

Two magazines in particular gave me the education I was looking for: PC Magazine and PC World. For me, neither übergeek or total n00b, they were the holders of the keys to the tech kingdom of the mid-to-late 1980s and early 90s.

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OneWebDay refocuses on the digital divide

Cartoon: digital divide (better version)

Over the past few years, as broadband reaches more and more communities and mobile Internet access extends its reach, the digital divide has receded into the background. Issues like net neutrality and intellectual property have taken centre stage and taken on new urgency.

But equal access to digital technologies is as important as ever. And this year, the folks behind OneWebDay want to remind us:

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Metrics: handy tool, or Satan's yardstick?

Can individuals use marketing tools without sacrificing authenticity?

Tangled measuring tape

Alex's Harvard post about metrics and the obsessive condition she calls analytophilia has triggered a lot of conversation this morning about the role analytics ought to play in organizational communications.

Which has me thinking about the role tools like analytics play in our personal communications online, too - for better and for worse.

The past few years have seen some fascinating changes as organizations - some tentative, some confident, a few very bold - adopt the tools of the social web. We've seen windows and occasionally great big doors opening in the walls that separate businesses, non-profits and governments from the public.

But something else is happening too. Just as the tools of social media are turning marketing into personal conversation, they're also turning personal conversation into marketing.

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Spare a moment to vote for Social Signal's panels?

SXSW panel voting closes Monday; your support can make the difference

SXSW Panelpicker icon

South by Southwest Interactive is coming next March, and Social Signal has three panels in the mix. We'd love to see at least one of them happen - and that's where you come in.

Your vote on the SXSW PanelPicker (in a world of obscure application names, that one comes as something of a relief) will make a big difference in how the conference organizers shape the agenda. Now, with voting closing tomorrow Monday, we're down to the wire.

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It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your reputation is?

Know the people doing your social media marketing - and their methods and ethics

Cartoon: Can I deceive people passionately, transparently and openly?

It can happen so quickly: a few misplaced tweets, an ill-considered blog post, and suddenly an organization is at the center of an online firestorm. They're called spammers and liars, and tagged with the Hashtag o' Doom, #FAIL. And the worst thing of all is they had no idea what was happening.

Where, oh where, did it all go so wrong?

Probably somewhere around the moment they decided to outsource their social media marketing.

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It's a video... it's a widget... it's..!

Personalized video, Facebook widget raising funds for BC Children's Hospital

BCCHF logo

As causes go, you can't get much closer to our hearts than with a children's hospital. The thought of having to take one of our kids there is wrenching, and I'm sobered by the fact that thousands upon thousands of children - and their parents - go through that every day.

We want those kids to get the care they need swiftly and effectively. We want our best medical knowledge brought to bear, and we want clean, quality facilities that promote good health as well as healing sickness.

So we jumped at the chance to work with the BC Children's Hospital Foundation, helping them chart a social media strategy for engaging their audiences and raising money.

Social Signal on...

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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.

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