Thanks from the Chief Nerd

Hey, everyone, my team and I’ve been reading everything you’ve kindly posted in response to my updates and posts.craig

My natural, nerdly, inclination is to respond to all, but that doesn’t work, and my focus must be to get good work done.

That work is mostly craigslist customer service, public service, and philanthropy. In my gut, they’re all party of the same thing, the same mission. We articulate that on

(Reminder: I haven’t been a company spokesman or in management since 2000.)

Seriously, my team, people smarter than me, and I, we’re listening, and what you say affects the trajectory of our work.

If you feel we miss something, please tell us via, or if you really want, I’m personally at

The team I mention?

the team

Otherwise known as:

  • Jonathan Bernstein, principal advisor and consigliere, and Army vet
  • Bruce Bonafede, media relations
  • Susan Nesbitt, nonprofit org expert
  • Allyson Kapin and Justyn Hintze, Rad Campaign, social media
  • Nora Rubinoff, admin guru
  • Mrs Newmark

Thanks for everything, I really value that!


Tips to Drown out the Twitter Noise

Folks, this has become a big issue on Twitter –  how do you get to the real good stuff on your Twitter feed? Where are the tweets from your community? And how do you make an effort to use Twitter most effectively for you and your organization? My team and I compiled a list of tips to drown out the Twitter noise so you can easily access the most useful content and conversations.bird

  • Use hashtags – Hashtags are still really useful. People and orgs will tag their content based on the topic, and this lets you find the latest trends or the niche content that interests you. For example, nonprofit tech related tweets tend to use the hashtag, #nptech, progressive groups use #p2 and #activism, feminists tend to use #fem2, and other good hashtags include #gov20, #vets, #milfams, #philanthropy, and #socent (social entrepreneurship).
  • Keep an eye on #FF When tweeters that’re the real deal post a Follow Friday (#FF), they’re carefully selecting people who are the real deal. This is an effective way to find “friends of friends” in the Twittersphere.
  • Don’t be afraid to unfollow tweeters – If you follow someone and realize that their tweets just don’t interest you, don’t hesitate to unfollow them. It’s not rude, it’s efficient.
  • The mute button – Twitter just rolled out a new mute button yesterday, and everyone will have it soon. The point of the button is to silence people you don’t want to unfollow, but are tired of seeing their tweets in your feed like if they are live tweeting a conference for several hours. According to Twitter:
      • To mute a user from a Tweet, tap more and then mute @username. To mute someone from their profile page, tap the gear icon on the page and choose mute @username.
      • The muted user will not know you’ve muted them, and of course you can unmute at any time.
      • The muted user will still be able to favorite, reply to, and retweet your Tweets; you just won’t see any of that activity in your timeline.
  • Build lists on Twitter – You can organize your Twitter followers into different lists. If you’re into tech, for example, you can have a tech list where you group all the techie folks, if you are following people who tweet about journalism ethics, you can make a list for them. Once you have a list, you can click on it and just see a stream of users’ tweets who you’ve assigned to that list. To manage your lists, go to your Twitter dashboard, click “More” then “Lists” and you’ll be taken to a page that lets you do everything Twitter List related. (See image below for more…)
  • Subscribe to lists on Twitter – Other people have already done a lot of the work for you by creating their own lists. You can seek out lists that interest you, and subscribe to them. This will help you to further involve yourself in the Twitter community, and is a good way of finding others who tweet about your interests without much effort.

Craig Twitter Dash

What tricks do you use to manage your Twitter account and drown out all the extra noise?

Help Seva Foundation fight blindness

Seva Hey, for decades, Seva has served people around the world who are struggling for health, cultural survival and sustainable communities. They call it "compassion in action" and just had a big announcement:

For the first time in history, the number of blind people in the world has decreased.  This is important because there are still 39 million blind people around the globe.  90% live in the developing world, and a staggering 8 out of 10 could see again if they simply had access to an eye doctor.  Check out Seva and learn about how for only $50 you can restore sight to a blind person in places like Tibet, Cambodia or Bangladesh! 

The Thank You Economy (a book recommendation) Sometimes we forget that we really do live in civil society, where people generally get along, and that's to everyone's benefit. In particular, people use the Net and social media for mutual benefit in a big way, something I've observed every day for sixteen years doing customer service online. (Sometimes we need a reminder after dealing with the sensationalism of people who profit by trying to scare us.)

The Thank You Economy is about how the reality of our online lives reflects everyday values, like treating people like you want to be treated. It discusses how this applies to online business, how social media facilitates people geting along, and how that's really good for business. It provides real life success stories where people use social media for business, where the usual result is that everyone wins.

The Thank You Economy shows us the evidence that "business as usual" is changing in lots of ways, like showing that throwing money into advertising isn't as effective as just engaging people genuinely.

Millenials reimagine America’s future

6a00d834fd816853ef0148c82defd0970c-320wi Okay, it's time for young Americans, millenials, to figure out what their version of the American Dream is, and to figure out how to get there.

The folks at the Roosevelt Campus Network are getting maybe 8000 young citizens to get involved with to reimagine America’s future and take action to realize that vision in their local communities:

Already, Roosevelt Campus Network has engaged over 2,000 young people in these conversations online and in person.

This interactive web space allows young people to match their values and priorities to ongoing
student-led local projects that are moving America toward a grand vision.

Additionally, Millennials are encouraged to consider how to translate their visions for America
into a concrete Federal budget, through the Budget Hero game. Online grassroots engagement of this type is unprecedented on this scale.

Donorschoose: HP Netbook to Connect and Create With Aussie E-Pals

112_1970 (1) Okay, the deal with is that you can give a hand to kids and teachers that they sometimes really need. (This is part of an ongoing thing: 186 projects supported 9,287 students reached.)

It let me help Mrs. Coats’ second-grade class at Clay Lamberton Elementary in Berlin, Wisconsin set up a netbook center.  Now they’re writing to schoolkids in Australia, reading stories and learning math
online. Here's what she says…

My second graders in Wisconsin have been corresponding with a class in South Australia since last fall.  They wrote letters and I would usually type them because they did not have enough time during their computer lab time to type a letter.  In January I decided to try and get some computers for our classroom through, so my students would be able to use them throughout the day.  If I could get enough small computers, I would be able to create a center for my students.  We are the luckiest class ever!  HP came through with a match offer on Donorschoose in January for teachers who ordered HP products, and Craig Newmark answered my Twitter request for help funding a netbook center.  We now have six netbooks and I have set up the netbook center in the front of our classroom.  The students are using the netbooks for many subjects.  They have typed letters to their e-pals, parents and even to some very famous people. Bookflix and Tumblebooks are two of their favorite sites to listen and read storybooks. is their favorite math site.  I have tiny notebooks next to each computer with the URLs of their favorite websites.  They are all quickly becoming computer gurus! 

  Our netbooks have media slots, so my next project involves the camera that Craig helped fund for my students.  I plan on teaching them how to use it and then they will take all kinds of photos to share with their friends in Australia.  Hopefully, I will be able to show them how to do some basic editing and then create slideshows to share with others.  None of this would have been possible without Craig's help.  My class and I are so grateful and we cannot thank him enough for his generosity!  Hopefully, the photo conveys just how happy my students are with their new netbook center.

112_1907 (1)

Funding for public service media in trouble

It turns out that large and small stations alike along with NPR and PBS are in danger of losing the public support that they've received since 1967.

There are already three bills before Congress to eliminate federal funding for public broadcasting entities.

If you feel that's wrong, check out 170Million Americans for Public Broadcasting

I feel that public service media is a big deal, and that NPR will be a dominant force in news media, but the end of this decade, making this important.

Smoke-Free Super Bowl help

Logo-reLearnLife Hey, the folks at American Legacy Foundation are the real deal, set up by lots of states as part of a settlement deal with the tobacco companies.

They run the Truth campaign, trying to prevent addiction among the young.

Here's a SuperBowl udpate:

Hey, with Super Bowl XLV right around the corner, fans from coast to coast are gearing up for game day, with parties packed with friends, food and fun. While the game may be relaxing for some, for others, it could throw a monkey wrench in their New Year’s Resolutions to quit smoking. According to a 2009 survey conducted by Legacy, 63 percent of sports fans surveyed are current or former smokers. Of them, 76 percent have smoked while watching or attending sporting events. The stress of football bets, endless snacks and beer, and being around friends who smoke, all trigger fans to light up a cigarette. Having a game plan in place to overcome these triggers is a great way to handle the pressure. I've talked about this group before, they can help by giving you a free quit plan online at

Smoke-Free Super Bowl tips:

 *  Ask your friends not to smoke around you while watching the game.
 *  If you are drinking alcohol, try something new and switch flavors or brands. Breaking your
    usual routine also helps break your smoking connection.
 *  Stash gum around the house. If you feel the urge to have a smoke, grab a piece of gum
 *  Overtime is intense, but lighting up won’t coax your team to victory. Just think: if you
    can abstain from smoking through overtime, you can handle any situation without a

(FYI, my dad died when I was thirteen, heavy smoker.)

The Heart & Soul grant program

Heart_and_Soul_2011_Logo_medium It's easy for your organization to forget what it's about, particularly under the stress of raising funds sometimes even to just survive. Sometimes, you need to remind your staff, your constituents, your supporters, and yourself.

The folks at Community TechKnowledge just announced this year's Heart & Soul grant program, put on by the CTK Foundation Fund, which is designed to do just that. Here's what they have to say:

To win, you have to channel your creativity to write an original four- to eight-line poem or stanza that reflects the work or mission of your nonprofit. No poets on staff? Ask your supporters to write a poem for you.

The 1st place winner will receive $10,000 and will have their submission turned into a song to be used in public education or awareness. The song will be written and recorded by songwriter Bill Dillon — who was recently exonerated after 27 years in prison thanks to the Innocence Project of Florida. The contest is open to all nonprofits in the United States, Canada and the UK.

There is a quick turnaround on these grants. You must submit an application by midnight on March 28, 2011, and you'll be notified if you've won on April 10.

Visit to apply.

Follow the effort on Twitter using tag "#ctkgrant.

Organic Health Response/Inveneo: using the Net to fight AIDS in Kenya

OHR Links graphic

The folks at Organic Health Response are doing really good stuff, using IT and environmental sustainability on Mfangano Island in Western Kenya to work against HIV/AIDS across Lake Victoria.


Chwera Chwera Microclinc

They're working with Inveneo, their deal is to get IT, such as computers, telephony, and Internet access to those who need it most — people and organizations in rural and highly underserved communities of the developing world.

We're working with OHR and also Inveneo efforts in Haiti and the West Bank to learn how to better connect people across the world. They provide sustainable tech, including good bandwidth, to people  who really need it. They're handling the practical problems of getting network towers up, negotiating with local government.

  This was a big year for OHR:

  • Established a streamlined referral and follow-up system for HIV/AIDS care and treatment, in partnership with UCSF Family AIDS Care and Education Services
  • Celebrated our 3rdAnnual World AIDS Day
  • Installed a 300Watt solar system, 3 Inveneo low-power workstations, with a Safaricom Internet Router to successfully provide free internet access to all EK Members
  • Became the leading VCT center in enrollment for all of Suba District within the first 3 months of operation

"We have worked for 6 months since we've opened the EK's doors and I feel we have achieved a lot. Getting 740 members within 6 months is an achievement to me. This is an achievement towards our mission. We are on the road to turning the tide against HIV/AIDS through ICT."
-Richard Magerenge, EK's Executive Director

and lots more.




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