Monday, May 29, 2006

Conferencing web 2.0

With social computing gaining acceptance, NGOs and grassroots organizations have more tools available. The NetSquared conference starts May 30 in San Jose, California. Conference organizers provide various ways to participate, helping to build relationships. This is critical to organizations seeking funding and increased awareness. How does your organization accommodate those who cannot physically attend a conference? How does it reach out to bloggers and other NGOs?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Crisis communications

Some organizations do not have crisis communications plans. That is OK for small enterprises that are communicating well. For larger ones, especially those that work overseas, this is a mistake. The Washington Post article on the halt of trenofivir testing serves as a reminder of what can happen without proper planning and when outside activist groups help to fuel an event.

Without knowing the specifics that led up to such emotional protests, it is clear that trust had eroded. Given a trial of this nature, special effort should be focused on local opinion leaders and media. There were sound arguments for the basis of the trial, but no one was listening. Effective communication could have prevented this.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Photographs make it real

Photographs help an issue come alive. Images of real people can be particularly important when dealing with stigma that can be associated with HIV/AIDS.

I took this picture of a little girl at St. Camillus in Karungu, Kenya. Her parents died of HIV/AIDS and she is HIV positive. Now she is on ARVs and living at Dala Kiye orphanage run by Father Emilio Balliana. St. Camillus is located on the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya. It lies in an area that has been hard hit by the epidemic. It is in a resource-poor setting where many people live on less than one dollar a day and in a district that has a prevalence rate of approximately 30 percent.

Two good sources of photographs for development is Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs Photoshare and the photo library of Canada’s International Development Research Centre.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

It is already happening

Senior executives in many organizations are wondering, "Why blog?" They may be the same people who failed to embrace communications as a strategic aspect of business. Due to lack of understanding or vision, they may question the value of marketing and PR in general and specifically of blogging. As communicators it is our responsibility to educate our clients in these areas. When it comes to new media, the response is simple: it is already happening. You can't control the message. Our stakeholders are already talking. You may be able to influence what they say and the best way to do that is to join the conversation.

This was readily apparent at Beyond Blogging 2006, sponsored by Fleishman Hillard and DC Communicator on May 19. Hundreds of communicators gathered to reflect on how our world is changing, the impact of social computing, and the power of the new media.

Kudos to Fleishman's interactive team for creating a great logo for the event. It would have been nice to see some skirts, though. As Yvonne Divita pointed out in her remarks, its women who are doing most of the blogging. Lip-Sticking is her blog on marketing online to women.