Google 2009 Developers’ Conference

3 04 2010

Here’s a video in which Google team members evaluate web site performance from a money-making stand point.  I’ve got to say it, if I have consulted you on anything web design related I told you so!  But here’s another source to validate my counsel.  Enjoy and Thanks Matt for sharing!


Looking For a Blogging Butler?

9 03 2010


I can’t count the times that Exec Directors, CEOs and PR personell come to me and ask me to be their Blogging Butler

It’s like asking me to attend a party for you, dress impeccably and say all of the right things to the people that matter, serving them delectable morsels of your sugary wisdom, and then, do it over and over again, making sure not say the wrong thing, but being extra careful to come up with on-topic conversational fodder about your business or cause… I’m so sorry, but, I can’t do that for you.  I can’t be a surrogate blogger for your org because it’s unethical and potentially problematic for both of us.

I will help you set the scene at your website to entertain your Social Media guests, I will even tell you how to get the word out about your message (party), dress for the event and invite all of the right people;  however, I will not attend in your stead.  You need to start your Social Media Marketing Campaign, but not through a surrogate.  Whether you are fund raising for a non-profit cause or developing a small business… I WILL NOT be YOU for YOU

If you are not prepared to spend just an hour a week writing in your “digital diary,” what sort of commitment can you expect me to make on your behalf?!?!  I can teach you how to overcome your time management issues, but, the BEST representative of your business endeavor–your story– is YOU.

Dig deep my friendlies… Tell the truth… Exalt passionately about your cause… and then, realize that surrogate Social Media content is not really social at all; it’s a phantom of your true digital identity ~ a ghost of the substance that made your business resonate with you constituency, your clientele.  Although I am flattered that you would pay me for writing such easy things, I am equally averse to being your Blogging Butler!

North Valley Community Council Meeting 1/6/2009

7 01 2010

Today’s speaker was Bob McMullin and he was excellent.  After the event he told me that “Fund raising is like prostitution; when you get a good prostitute, s/he makes you feel like they really like you!”  All kidding aside, it was a very insightful discussion and I would love to hear more of what Bob has to say.

One point I meant to get across better to the audience about digital collaboration.  I have been coming to the Council meetings now since Summer 2007.  I was a little late getting settled in there that first meeting and to my surprise a microphone got shoved in my face… I had no idea what the heck I was supposed to say!  So I just spoke from the heart; why I was really there:

“I have a dream,” I said awkwardly.  “…to link all of us together as a community through technology.   Whether your organization prefers email or newsletters, newspapers, websites or whatever, I believe the community is stronger when we collaborate to tell our stories.  When it costs $800 for a quarter page ad in the Sunday newspaper, something has got to change.  My dream is to share our emails and newsletters and websites and all of the printed materials we make and calendared events, in one place where we can talk to a truly engaged constituency, to save money and improve results.”

I passed the microphone and I think the group was mildly stunned if not completely confused.  But the intent of that statement rings truer today than it did that late summer day in 2007.

The economy is in the toilet, cash is hard to come by and an already taxed community is facing increasing cost of living expenses.  So why aren’t more orgs collaborating, if not merging?  Why is Sunshine Kids Club competing for resources with Rainbow of Kids Club?  Why aren’t more orgs teaming up and swapping links to each other’s sites, and swapping newsletter announcements for trade in-kind?  Why can’t we share instead of spend?  Why do we re-invent the wheel instead of hopping on the band wagon?

I didn’t say it pointedly, but in my heart of hearts, why haven’t I been able to compell the local community to collaborate digitally?

Hopefully y’all have some thoughts on the matter.  I look forward to hearing them.  Please leave a comment.  Happy New Year!

Answering the “What?” Question; What Do I Blog About?

30 12 2009

OK so you are experimenting with Social Media as a marketing tool, you’ve spent oodles of time (and therefore money) trying to catch up to this trendy, flavor-of-the-month approach to telling your story, but you are wondering:  now what??!?!?!!

First off, let me congratulate you on your foray into these untested waters.  It can be overwhelming getting started and yet you persevere.  Fear not my compadres.  The best is yet to come.  For you may not realize it, but you have the chance to be present in THE conversation ~ It all depends on the conversation in which you intend to participate.

Which brings us to the subject of the subject; the “What” to blog about question.  Its easily answered if you step back and think for a minute.  No matter what your interest, you have a very simple task at hand:  conjure-up content that captivates your constituency.  But HOW?!?!?

The plain truth is, there’s relevance all around you.  I am going to list some key items here that will help you or anyone seeking to market their business in Social Media platforms.  Namely, Blogging, as it is popularly known, is really a throw back to the age-old discipline of Journalism.  And there-in lies your key to unlocking the mystery of solving the “What?” question.

You remember from 6th grade the “W’s,” right?  Who, What , When, Where, (How) and Why?  For this post we are focusing on the “What?”

The “What?” is the issue(s) that surround your business development.  Of course, your main objective is to improve sales or increase revenue but there is another layer to the element of Development that strikes at the heart of every business endeavor:  That is, “What are your customers, clients, contributors looking for?”

The answer is Credibility.

That’s right.  Credibility.  Its a function of Trust but it also goes to the heart of the question:  Do I trust this business to solve my problem?  There are many ways of creating that sense of credibility in a potential client.  In this instance, let’s consider how reaching out to the public in general, through a blog-post, might bridge that credibility gap.   More importantly, let’s list What to blog about to attract those potential customers to your business, so they are interested in you, talking about you and referring you to their friends and family.

  1. Current Events.  These are happening Locally, State-wide, Nationally, and Globally.  Anytime these current events impact your business to the extent that it enters the public discourse, blog your opinion!  Don’t be shy.  Say what you really feel.  Sometimes being controversial is good for publicity.  SEIZE that opportunity.
  2. Regulatory developments.  If the law is changing, or being bandied about for a potential change, jump in and holler.  Post a blog about your professional thoughts and be sure to visit places where the fevered vent themselves.  Leave a link to your site and encourage discussion whenever possible.
  3. Be technical.  If you have an area of expertise that requires you to answer the same questions over and over again, start archiving them in a blog.  Soon you will have a rich help wiki, that can afford you better customer support.  An added value to this is that you will naturally expand your customer base outside of your local zone as customers seeking help in remote areas are likely to find your source helpful.  Be sure to have your online sales support ready because here they come!
  4. Celebrity.  Leave it to the rich and famous to keep things interesting and, while you are taking note of what they do, comment on what is right or wrong with it all.  Chances are, if you keep your ear to the ground of pop culture, you will have plenty of reasons to pipe-up and proclaim your expert opinion to those that follow.
  5. Rant — It’s OK.  Spout-off about a thing that irks you.  Whatever you do, be passionate about your point of view.  Sometimes a little salt in the air makes for good breathing, for all of us.
  6. Listen to your constituency.  They are just dying to let you know what they really think.  Don’t shy from constructive criticism.  The best ideas win.  Compete with naysayers EVEN IF they say something negative about your product or service.  The old adage “the customer is always right” is malarkey!  Go ahead and educate your public and maybe you can prevent problems from arising unnecessarily.
  7. Listen to others in the blog-o-sphere and cast your opinion.  Don’t have nothin’ nice to say?  SO WHAT?!  Just say.  If you are right, they will love you for it, if you are wrong, you learned a valuable lesson about what your public really thinks.
  8. Invite guest speakers that have clout.
  9. Incorporate media into the fray.  You should always have a good photo in all of your blogs ~ A picture says a thousand words, right?  But don’t hesitate to post video and/or audio too.   Its a mandatory element of any blog these days to at least have video once in a while.
  10. Above ALL else, blog with purpose.  Don’t write crap for the sake of it.   AT ALL TIMES BE GENUINE.  Write from the heart and you can’t fail, just don’t let it all get too stale.

Is WordPress “Too Complicated?”

8 10 2009


I am writing this post because I attended a Social Networking seminar and the speaker claimed WordPress was “too complicated…”!  Its been sticking in my craw ever since as I deliver WP as a Content Mgmt System to my nonprofit clients as my preferred solution for most.

I agree that WP is sophisticated, but too complicated?  C’mon!  My opinion matters little, so I am going to pose the question to the blogosphere:  IS WordPress too complicated?  If so, WHY!?!?  If not, tell me that too!  Please don’t get distracted by version releases because I believe WP is getting better all of the time.  And you will be preaching to the choir if you take the stance that WP is getting more sophisticated and/or complex because thats what I love about it.  But complicated?  Compare the lay person’s user experience to Drupal or Joomla and I think WP stacks up nicely.  Tell me what you think, please!

Consulting with North Valley Catholic Social Services of California

7 12 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008, I had the distinct pleasure to work with North Valley Catholic Social Services of California.  Although, the experience certainly was an overwhelmingly positive one, as I replay it in my mind, I can’t help but focus on the IT specialist that attended and his concerns as the sole web-designer, programmer-developer and “computer” specialist in the organization.  He brought up many critical concerns about dynamic web content updates that would have challenged any good consultant.  Although it may have seemed mutually contentious, it really wasn’t; our dialogue was most certainly instructive as he brought up many great concerns:

  1. How can one be sure that implementing a Content Management System will be secure?
  2. How can an organization maintain a consistent layout and yet still allow for CMS updates by non-programmers?
  3. Who is going to be in-charge of content editing?
  4. Who is going to be granted access to the CMS and how will they know if what they are updating is aligned with organizational objectives?
  5. Can an outsider hack the CMS and spam subscribers, thereby besmirching if not opening up the organization to legal liability?

There were other more minor concerns, but these were the most critical in my view.

All of these concerns are valid, IF your coming from a prospective of web programming where the “Company Computer Guy” (ala Jimmy Falon) who wears many hats in the org is unaware of the tremendous progress that CMSs like WordPress have made in the last few years.

Also, when the Company Computer Guy is so busy putting out little annoying fires with hardware and software, its easy to get cynical about the natural ability of the general public to handle content updates at a website with style and grace, let alone competence and efficacy.

So here is what I learned:

  1. Even the more tech-savvy folks among us need to maintain a level of personal research and professional development in their trade.
  2. Pointed questions ought not to be discounted and rather, embraced to arrive at the full fruit of what the proposed idea’s merit may contain
  3. Good ideas ultimately cannot be discounted because if they are truly good, there is always a positive upsides that outweighs the negative

Web 2.0 Workshop for Nonprofits Monday, November 10th

7 11 2008
Come to my Training November 10, 2008

Don Peterson

8:30AM – 12:30PM

Chico Campus of Butte College

To register call 530.891.1150 ext 23 ($60) or register online

This half-day class provides volunteers, staff, directors and board members at any level of technological savvy to re-invigorate their charitable mission by improving communications, marketing and fundraising efforts with low-cost, easy-to-use Internet software.  Whether its techniques for research or tools for advocacy the modern state of the Internet provides a multitude of resources that improve nonprofit objectives:

  • Learn to integrate your organization’s website with marketing efforts
  • Gain confidence in using Web 2.0 web sites for fun and fundraising
  • Expand your network ~ Using Social Networking sites including:  blogs, Facebook, Youtube and hundreds of other sites that (when used properly) will become a catalyst for collaboration, improved community outreach and expanded charitable service.

For only $60, this 4-hour class, you will learn to bring people together without the expense of massive ad campaigns, expensive events or annoying telemarketing strategies.  Through innovation and exploration, your nonprofit team will experience a renewed invigoration that comes with using these simple and mostly FREE Internet software tools.

Join Donald Ross Peterson on a journey outside the confines of your office where a fantastic landscape of solutions and inspiration awaits in the world of Web 2.0 Internet software technologies.  The course will offer anyone of any experience level a chance to solve the real issues their organizations face; you don’t have to be a tech-geek to enjoy this class.  All are welcome to attend in any area of philanthropic service.  It should be fun and informative ~ Join us!