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The Rule of 84: Social media for your limited budget or small audience

Part 2 of a series. Originally appeared on

"How can our organization create a social media presence?"

The latest person to ask me that question was a dear friend who is on the board of a 2,000-member non-profit. Their next board meeting was coming up, and social media was on the agenda. What kind of approach would I recommend?

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Social media for small organizations

Creating a social media presence in 2010

Part 1 of a series. Originally appeared on

By now, virtually any organization that is committed to the web has asked: how can social media and online community strengthen our relationship to our members or customers, and help us fulfill our mission?

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To the barricades!

Defend your email inbox from a Facebook Groups barrage

Facebook's announcement yesterday of a new Groups feature caught a lot of people by surprise.

Even more surprising, though, was the discovery that you could be signed up for a Group without knowing about it - and that your inbox would promptly start filling up with notifications every time someone posted, well, pretty much anything.

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Use or Gravatars? You'll want to fill out your profile - now

If you're a user, you've come across Gravatars before. They're the avatar, or user image, associated with your account, and they show up next to your comments - not just on your own blog, but on any blog... and on any other blog or forum that has Gravatars enabled. (The word is short for "globally recognized avatar", and there are plugins available for Drupal, Moveable Type and even the venerable GeekLog.)

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On our blog's fifth birthday, a look back (and forward)

A brief history of social media, seen through five years of conversation

Five birthday candles

On October 6, 2005, Alex pushed "publish" on the first official blog post of this blog.

In most other disciplines, five years would make us the scrappy up-and-comer, struggling to earn our street cred. But in social media, it gives us perhaps the closest thing there is to historical perspective. In fact, we're quite possibly the world's oldest 100-per-cent social media (or, at the time, "Web 2.0") agency.

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Ep. 23: the don't-try-to-build-Facebook episode

Podcast: Strategy for a small organization

We're coming up to the fifth anniversary of the Social Signal blog. So it's fitting that this Bedtime with Rob and Alex podcast looks at the heart of what we do: developing strategies for participation.

And this time out, we're looking at strategies for smaller organizations (both in budget and membership). We cover:


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You have 160 characters. Make them count.

What you don't need in your Twitter biography

Nothing concentrates the mind, the saying goes, like the prospect of being executed in the morning. When you only have a few hours left, you want to make them count.

But substitute space for time, and give people a 160-character limit on summing up their life's story (or even just the past 525,600 minutes), and they start adding the oddest things.

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Ask not for whom the bell pings...

Apple could be the company that takes down Ticketmaster

Apple's new Ping social network lets you follow artists, find out what your friends are listening to, and even find out when your favorites will be playing near you. With one click, you can buy tickets.

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Turn a one-hit wonder into a rock star

How a popular (but off-topic) blog post can boost the rest of your content

Off-topic blog post 45


Stories abound of rock bands who produce hours and hours of music that deepens the soul, challenges the psyche and redefines human existence in a new, profoundly meaningful way.

And then they write one frigging novelty song, and that's the one that chews its way to the top of the charts. You spend years writing songs about social justice and the human condition, but I Just Choked on a Tic Tac is the song that defines your life's work.

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Another feature, another setting

How to update your privacy settings for Facebook's new Places feature

If you're using Facebook from your mobile device, and you're in the U.S., you may have noticed a new feature called Places. It allows you to report your presence at locations such as coffee shops, airports or bars (particularly popular among those who've tried to manage Facebook engagement projects)... much the same way that apps like Gowalla and Foursquare do.

So now's the time to adjust your privacy settings. It's pretty fast and easy to do:

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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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