Originally posted on the NetSquared blog.

February’s Net2 Think Tank sprang from an interview with Clay Shirky, the author of Here Comes Everybody.  The topic asked: What do you think the role of nonprofit organizations is in the changing world of social media? This month, we also have a book giveaway of a free copy of Skiry’s paperback edition of Here Comes Everybody for one of the contributors.

Watch the interview and check out these responses!

You can watch the video interview with Skirky below.  This month, we asked:

What do you think the role of nonprofit organizations is in the changing world of social media?

How do nonprofits participate online differently than individuals?  How do nonprofits convene groups or create content that fits with the changing online environment?  Which organizations are charting the way, navigating the new tools well?  If you don’t know any organizations to point to that are already succeeding, what should organizations do to get there?

I couldn’t resist this great question so posted an answer, too.  My response included the final thought that, “perhaps the changing role of nonprofit organizations in the online space is not one of playing catch-up to the early adopters and hyper-connected individuals, nor is it one of “friending” big names or joining every platform; but is one of strategically convening supporters to create dynamic connections across the community.”  Read more.

Howard Silverman points out that, “One need not work for a nonprofit to be attracted to the idea of utilizing the Net to spur social change.”  He goes on to leverage Ric Young’s metaphor to compare “watching the online flow of ideas and networks to exploring activity under the ocean’s surface with a scuba mask. The Internet allows us to see patterns that were once hidden.” Read more.

Joitske Hulsebosch says, “In a way social media make it easier for each individual to become a non-profit.”  She goes on to focus her thinking around development organizations and adds a great twist to the original question, by asking, “These private initiatives are not using social media. Are not connected and are not sustainable. So what could be the role of the professional non-profit development organisations?”  Read more.

Laura Norvig’s answer focused on the training provided by WeAreMedia (the first training event recently took place in San Francisco). She provides a lot of great links to examples of organizations and inviduals facing these issues and highlights one idea that I think is really interesting for this conversation: many of her favorite examples of success in this topic are those that don’t make a clear distinction between themselves as individuals and themselves as nonprofit staff members.  Read more.

Seth Horwitz makes a great point that social media, “will continue to create new opportunities for helping nonprofits that we can’t anticipate beforehand. And, if that’s true, then maybe it’s in the “self-interest” of nonprofits not just to utilize social media to help their own causes, but also to promote the use of social media in general.”  This idea adds a great twist to the conversation, especially as we consider the issues around adoption of social media in nonprofits.  Read more.

What about the book giveaway?

Since we had only four brave contributors this month, all four will receive a new paperback edition of Clay Shirky’s Here Come Everybody (with a new chapter!). A big thanks and congrats to Howard, Joitske and Laura and Seth for participating in the February Net2 Think Tank!

Stay tuned for March’s Net2 Think Tank topic!

Net2 Think Tank Round-Up: Changing Role of Nonprofits
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