New Venture Reports

It has been two full weeks since I set up Vervely. I wrote about this new beginning here. And, what a couple of weeks it has been!

I’m not going to get in to any details, but I thought I’d start writing some notes about this whole process since leaving my old job and starting on this new journey. I don’t know… I think, unlike many of the blogs that I’ve started, I’m really considering making Enkindlers evolve more as a notebook, a sketch pad… Nothing here finished. Just rough drafts of my thoughts and ideas. Perhaps, notes of things I’ve read and experienced. Experimentations, mostly about work, career, entrepreneurship…

So, my style here will be completely different. More haphazard. Probably less polished and less coherent.

And yeah, sometimes, the post will just be short snippets of words or images or videos. Just a collection of resources that I would like to think about and explore.

I’ll start calling some of these posts related to Life Post-CU as my New Adventure Reports. They can be about my experiences setting up a new company, exploring new tools and programs, putting together packages and proposals, misadventures and learning…

This is a blog that I intend on writing mostly for myself as a way to reflect, remember and refer to in the future. Hopefully, someone else will find snippets of wisdom and joy in these posts.

Categories: General Ideas | Tags: | Leave a comment

Changes and New Paths

Just over a week ago, I left my job as part of the exec team and Manager of Content and Community (Communications) at Connecting Up. I’ve written a little more about this at: Time To Be Vervelycious.

I’ve barely returned the keys to the office when calls and messages started coming through. People asking if there’s anything that they can do to help me find my new direction. People wishing me well. And people offering new opportunities.

Thanks to these people, I felt more grateful than sad to leave a job that I loved dearly. My only regret was not getting the chance to reach out to everyone in the community that I helped to build and say goodbye properly.

But, at least there’s this wonderful web where I am able to reach out to let people know that I’d love to stay in touch.

And, this same wonderful web is enabling people to reach out to me to let me know that they’d love to stay in touch too. In fact, some of those people reached out by saying they actually would like the opportunity to work with me.

So, that’s why in less than a week, I managed to set up Vervely. It’s a company that I’m establishing to help Not-for-Profit organisations, charities, associations, foundations, and social enterprises, as well as small and medium sized businesses. Through Vervely, I would be offering programs and services that specifically target ogranisations’ use of digital media and community engagement.

As part of this new move, I’m restructuring how I use Enkindlers as a blog. Originally, my plan was to put all my relevant articles and posts here on digital media, community, content, etc. as they do not fit my personal blog, Studio Notes. But, I believe those types of posts now fit Vervely a lot better.

With that in mind, I had two options: 1) Just completely abandon Enkindlers and move on; or 2) Keep Enkindlers for now as a place to note some of my interests that do not really fit Studio Notes or Vervely. Most likely, thoughts about building a business, career planning, job hunting, management, leadership, start-ups, and the like. Perhaps, even general thoughts and resources on NFPs and social innovation. These are topics that I enjoy reading about and learning from. So, to build my own body of knowledge, I would like the opportunity to write about them here.

As a content strategist, these are the sort of things I think about, you see. 🙂

So yes, I still plan on keeping Enkindlers for now. But, if you’re here to look for ideas on digital media, social networking, web development, especially as they affect NFPs, SocEnts, and SMEs, please head on over to Vervely.

And, if there’s anything I can do to help you there, please let me know.

Categories: General Ideas | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Create, Curate & Connect Online: On Content and Community at CU12

Last week, Connecting Up staged its 8th annual conference for the not-for-profit sector in Australia (#CU12). This year, the conference has officially branched out from being primarily a technology conference, adding the streams social media and web, as well as marketing and communications.

Connecting Up Conference Presentation on Social Media, Content and Community

Content and Community in the Social Web: A CU12 Presentation

Now, other than being one of the three committee members of the conference, I also facilitated a couple of the breakout sessions, helped out during the networking session, and presented during one of the social media power sessions with my colleague, Ben Teoh.

It was a totally new talk that I put together exclusively for the Connecting Up 2012 delegates. Last year, when I did one of the keynotes, I focused on the state of social media as it was being used in Australia and the not-for-profit sector. This year, I wanted to focus more on answering the question that I seem to be getting a lot nowadays: “We know that social media can play a vital role in not-for-profit organisations, so what’s next? How can we take this further?”

Also, as part of the conference committee, I knew that I wanted the following topics to be covered in the social media/web stream:

  • Strategy and Policies
  • Research/Best Practice/Case Studies
  • Content and Community
  • Metrics/Measurement

So, the committee used these topics as a guide on which presenters we would like to have in our conference this year. With most of the submissions covering the other topics, I ended up with the topics I really love: Content and Community.

Continue reading

Categories: Community, Content, Highlights, Social Media | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

International Nonprofits: Challenges and Resources

In 2011, I conducted the International Nonprofit Organisations Affinity Group at the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, DC (Mar 2011). For my first #11NTC, I was genuinely interested in finding out what many NFPs wanted to learn about. That time, the 80+ attendees wanted to talk about managing virtual teams, cultural adaptation, translation issues, developing global partnerships, scalability, and managing issues-based causes (e.g., crisis management in different countries).

This year, when I was invited to do the International Nonprofit Organisations “Birds of a Feather” networking session at the 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco, California (Apr 2012), I wanted to see if the same issues would arise during our group discussions. The 50+ attendees this year discussed the following topics:

  • Culture & Technology / Global Fundraising / Transparency & Open Data
  • Platforms for Communication
  • Impact Measurement
  • Global Advocacy

Even though there were less participants this year, there were actually a few more discussions that led to fruitful sharing between the delegates. The notes from the discussion groups may be found in this #12NTCIntNPO document.

Some of the main takeaways from the International Nonprofit discussions include:

Continue reading

Categories: Community, Highlights | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

The New Dynamics of Career Development [Infographic]

It’s interesting to see the current trends on employment and career development through this recent infographic from Jobvite. Even though the findings here seem to be drawn from a U.S. audience, there is a possibility that some of the data here may still be relevant in other countries. In any case, these are some of the things that I found interesting in the data that was presented here:

20120328-205956.jpg

  • The rate of individuals being open to finding new jobs even though they are still employed. Granted, 61% isn’t extremely high, but this number shows that retention of staff members can be quite tricky in this current environment.
  • Long term career planning is no longer a major goal for both employers and employees. People don’t seem to rely on job security, so it’s increasingly important to develop flexible and adaptable skills that may be moved from job to job.
  • Social media is playing an increasing role in job search. With 22 million Americans claiming to have found their jobs through LinkedIn (42%), Twitter (32%), and Facebook (25%), employees who do not utilise these avenues as part of their career development may be missing out on job opportunities. Also, employers may also need to develop strategies to use social media as a way to attract potential employees.
  • The use of on-site coaching and other professional development as a way to encourage, empower, attract, and retain employees. With people becoming more mobile with employment, continuous skills development has become an important part of the workplace.
  • Self employment is seen to be more stable than a full-time job by more than half of new college graduates. This means that employers now should find different ways to attract and retain fresh graduates in their organisations. Perhaps, looking at offering different aspects of self employment that may seem attractive in a full time job (eg, flexible hours, mobile offices, etc).

It would be interesting to find out if a similar trend is apparent across all sectors and in different countries.

Over to you

Do you find that staff retention is a challenge in your organisation? What’s your management doing to encourage a more monogamous employment relationship?

Categories: Career | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Networking and Building Communities Online [Slide Deck]

Some time last week, I gave a brief talk for Associations Forum members in Adelaide as part of a presentation by my current CEO, Doug Jacquier. The session was all about networking and I talked about how social media can be used to network and build communities online.

In this talk, I focussed on three major tools that I use for networking and community building:

  • Facebook – Which is one of the most popular social networking sites in the world, and definitely top one in Australia. This may be used for both personal and professional networking.
  • Twitter – Another popular networking site, best used to track conversations, popular trends and topics, as well as any interesting people that you may want to meet but haven’t had the opportunity to connect with.
  • LinkedIn – With 2 million users in Australia, this is also a social networking platform that’s worth some attention, especially from a professional perspective. However, most people would only wish to connect with others with whom they’ve already met or heard of. Having said that, the concept of joining Groups was also touched, as a way of meeting others in similar areas of interest/industry.

Some reasons to use social networks:

  • Social networks are great ways to keep in touch with people we meet in conferences, business meetings, social functions and other events.
  • Keeping an active professional profile online enables us to highlight our special abilities and activities. This may be especially useful for finding collaborators, potential employers, and team mates.
  • Having an online presence gives you better control of how you are portrayed online. Regardless of whether you deliberately choose to be online or not, chances are, you will have an online presence. It will just depend on whether or not that presence is available based on what you share, or what other people may share about you.

If you wish to see the slide deck I used with some notes on the tips, you can check it out below or via Slideshare:

Categories: Community | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

TechSoup Global Network Community Spotlight

Over the last 20 months or so, I’ve been working with Connecting Up, Inc, a not-for-profit organisation based here in Adelaide that offers programs and services to other not-for-profits all over Australia, as well as New Zealand. We’re also slowly growing our operations to the rest of the Asia Pacific region.

One of the great things about being part of Connecting Up is its international reach, especially through its partnership with TechSoup Global (TSG), a nonprofit organisation based in San Francisco, USA. Having had the opportunity to meet and work with the folks from TSG had been an overall fantastic experience for me. Of course, there are the usual challenges that go along with timezone differences (Hello, webinars conducted at 10:30pm ADL time!) and cultural adaptations (I say to-mah-to, they say to-may-to?:)). But, I always find it refreshing to work with a global view.

Anyway, the good folks from TSG had been nice enough to feature me in their March 2012 Community Spotlight as such:

TSG Community Spotlight: March 2012

Here’s the text:

Shai Coggins is the Manager of Communications & Web Content at Connecting Up, the TechSoup Global donation partner in Australia and New Zealand. Because of her key role with Connecting Up, Shai is an active participant and key connector between TSG, Techsoup.org and within the partner network.

Her TSGN activities included speaking at Microsoft NGO Connection Days in the Phillippines, engaging with the Techsoup.org content team on global campaigns and spearheading the Australian and New Zealand TSDigs challenge!

Visit her blog to catch up with her (many!) activities.

Thank you for your contribution and keep up the great work Shai!

So, now you see why I really, really like my TechSoup family! 🙂

Thanks, guys.

Categories: Press and News | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

What’s the Ideal Content Ratio?

555+ : The Ideal Content Ratio

This post has now been moved to: What is the Ideal Content Ratio? (at Vervely)

Categories: Content, Social Media | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Content strategy: What is it and why should you care?

Whenever people ask me: “So, how can I make my organisation’s website and social media work well?” I often reply with the query: “What is it that you’re trying to get out of your website and social media? What’s your content strategy all about?”

Sometimes, I get a very enthusiastic list of things that relate to getting more visitors, gaining more fans, and expressing creative ideas on how to engage with their respective communities. Often, I get a shrug and a confused response.

Content strategy is one of the things that a lot of people don’t seem to think about too readily. People often think that just setting up a blog, Facebook page, website, or Twitter account is good enough. Everything will flow once the accounts are up and running. While many accounts do succeed just going with the flow, there are many more that fizzle out when there are no firm plans in place.

So, what is content strategy?

In a nutshell: “Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.” (via Kristina Halvorson). Basically, it defines why you or your organisations wish to develop content in any form, how you plan to develop and maintain the content, and what are the ways that you are going to measure the success of your content.

The Art and Craft of Content

How well do you know your content?

To read the rest of this article, please visit: Content Strategy at Vervely.com.

Categories: Content, Highlights, Tools and Gadgets | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome, New Friends from “I’m Just Sharing”

When my long-time online friend and supporter, Mitch Mitchell asked to interview me on his blog, I’m Just Sharing, I was flattered and pleased. After all, it would be like sitting down with someone who’s still interested in what you have to say even though you’ve known each other for years. In fact, I was surprised to remember that I’ve known Mitch back from the days when Ryze was a new social networking site (when there weren’t so many around yet!).

If you haven’t read the interview yet, please do head on over to Mitch’s Interview Post with Me.

Interview with Mitch Mitchell

A trip down memory lane...

Anyway, I always feel a bit strange reading interviews about me, and I can’t tell you exactly why. But, other than feeling slightly bashful, this interview made me feel like I was going to a trip down memory lane. It’s because Mitch and I ended up talking about my early blogging experiences, my work at About.com (a NY Times company), and my other early projects. It always makes me seem ancient online when I talk about Geocities and hand-coding my blog using FrontPage.

But, it’s great to have these memories. It reminds me just how far I’ve gone and how much I’ve loved this online world that we’re building. It has definitely changed so much over the years. And, I’m still thrilled to be witnessing the whole thing.

In any case, if you found me through Mitch’s blog, I just want to say WELCOME! This is a new space on the web for me, as I move towards separating my “work-related” blog posts here on Enkindlers from my more personal posts via Studio Notes (my personal blog).

If you’re keen to read more about blogging, social media, content, and community, then please stay put and subscribe to Enkindlers.

If, however, you’re just a tad more keen to hear about some of my day-to-day interests, then do head on over to Studio Notes.

Wherever you might find yourself reading about the things I write about, I hope you enjoy it and please say hello.

Categories: Press and News | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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