webclass: November 2007 Archives
If you're using video to promote your enterprise, it never hurts to feature a celebrity model--or a bizarro celebrity!
For more info on Gelila's cause, check out Charity: Water
If you don't get the reference in the "bizarro" link, watch the original version on which the Dr. Pepper parody is based. What's so fascinating for me about artist Tay Zonday's trajectory is the speed with which social consciousness metamorphosed into viral comedy and now ironic marketing. Used to be that sort of thing took thirty years!
Transparency is one of the watchwords of corporate ethics in the charitable community. The assumption is the more we know, the less we allow bad things to thrive--"sunlight is the universal disinfectant" and all that.
Yet as we've seen time and time again, transparency only works if people understand what they see. Enron provides a telling example: their instability was laid out for all to see in their quarterly reports . . . if you had the expertise and patience to parse through the details.
The same is true when it comes to nonprofit tech. Convio, a firm that provides nonprofit donation management services, is getting hit for their handling of a security breach in which someone obtained its clients passwords, email addresses and other personal information. But as Allen Benamer observes in his Nonprofit Tech Blog--which, as the New York Times indicates, has become a hub of information and insight re l' affaire Convio--the potential for exposure to a security breach was in plain sight all along.
The telltale part: the ability to retrieve your password. Key passages below:
What is distressing is a defense of Convio by a marketer on the progressive exchange e-mail list who is claiming â€œthat GA was usingâ€¦ state of the art anti-hacking tactics.â€ We really donâ€™t know that yet and unencrypted passwords are truly NOT state of the art anti-hacking tactics. . . . And those of you who have survived this breach with not having to contact constituents, should immediately rescind the â€œprivilegeâ€ of e-mailing members with their old passwords if they forget them and just create a random new password for them to login with instead.
Basically, in order to make sure that single sign-on was possible, GetActive gave users the ability to dump unencrypted passwords en masse from the system so that a nonprofitâ€™s GetActive users could be synched with a â€œforeignâ€ system. . . .The idea that there are text files out there with my username and unencrypted password on them is really annoying. This practice has to end now for all vendors selling nonprofit solutions.
My fellow nerds, geeks, and accidental techies, please be sure to tell your not-so-technical co-workers that they can no longer expect to be e-mailed their old passwords just because itâ€™s more convenient. It was always bad practice and in a case where sometimes we can pressure vendors to accoomodate us, it was a doubly bad idea.
Crunchgear raises an intriguing question about online charity and privacy:
In discussing several things with my brother this Thanksgiving weekend . . . he brought up something Facebook-releated. See, he doesnâ€™t join groups promoting a cause (â€FreeRice,â€ for example) because he doesnâ€™t want to be seen leaving the group later on, privacy settings@ notwithstanding.
What, you donâ€™t support feeding starving people anymore, you jerk?
@Itâ€™s a social phenomenon. How do you show your support for a cause on Facebook without later being seen retracting your support? @Itâ€™s something I think needs addressing, along with the pocket veto, a term I coined some time ago describing friend/group/whatever rejection without rejection.
Yesterday in my web design class we talked about Swedish torrent site The Pirate Bay as an example of a popular nonprofit venture. The question was raised: is what they are doing illegal?
The language in U.S. is broad enough to include torrent trackers, which point to information about where material can be found. I don't know anything about Swedish law, but it's clear that the recording industry is not going to stop trying to shut The Pirate Bay down. Here's the latest from Sweden:
The Pirate Bay team does not believe that Roswall will be successful in his attempt to take down The Pirate Bay. They keep repeating that they are just running a search engine and did not store any copyrighted material on their servers.
Talk about serendipity. I'd planned to write a post today for my web design class on one of the most successful socially entrepreneurial podcasts out there: The Midwest Teen Sex Show (50,000 subscribers and growing!), et voila, this morning there's a feature on the show in the Wall Street Journal.
As the WSJ notes, frank advice making with teh funny has proven to be a sure-fire recipe for getting a huge online audience:
Episode No. 4 of "The Midwest Teen Sex Show," a new video podcast, opens with a shot of a young woman holding a crying baby. Nearby, two young boys are noisily scuffling and trading noogies. Looking into the camera, the obviously stressed-out mother of three says nothing, but her expression says: How did I get into this mess?
Seconds later, the episode's title, "Birth Control," flashes on the screen.
That sort of wry, pointed presentation has helped the show lure thousands of viewers since its debut this past summer. Some may have been attracted by the provocative title, but this isn't pornography. Instead, it aims to teach teenagers about sex using risquÃ© sketches, explicit language and anecdotes that draw on the teenage experiences of its two 28-year-old creators -- host Nikol Hasler, the aforementioned woman, and Guy Clark, an aspiring filmmaker.
The two felt that existing sexual-education efforts were far too prim -- and boring -- to be useful to teens. Their podcast focuses less on birds-and-bees basics and more on real-life scenarios teens are likely to face.
Unless you're offended by uncensored discussions of human bodily functions, be sure to check out the site. For those of you looking to build a career that blends personal success and public service, note how the producers leverage their educational mission to promote their own talents in filmmaking and comedy. They've also adopted a tres 2.0 strategy, not merely making videos themselves but encouraging others to follow their lead, most notably in this contest for dogooder.tv.
Submerged in class prep today.
Pictured above: railway museum "stock certificate" (i.e., donation receipt)
And in this afternoon's web design class: more on usability & design (including this essential article by Jason Hudnall), an overview of tech resources + an introduction to shopping carts--hopefully without another fire alarm.
Above: "Fire drill!"
Above: the banner for Tokyo design firm Power-Graffixx, aptly summarizing why most organizations who can afford it hire a designer instead of doing it themselves.