I come across so many great conversations, ideas, and resources all over the web every day. Here are some of the most interesting things I’ve found recently (as of January 5th). You can join the conversations in the comments, or click through to the original posts to find what others are saying.

To follow more of the things I find online, you can follow @amysampleward on Twitter (which is just a blog and resource feed), or find me on Delicious (for all kinds of bookmarks).

  • More Startups. More Jobs. – Here's a great conversation starting piece by Eric Ries: "Advanced countries are competing to attract the world’s best entrepreneurs — the US should too. Entrepreneurship is one of the most significant contributors to a nation’s prosperity. In an increasingly globalized economy, many of the advanced nations in the world are racing to attract the brightest entrepreneurial minds, regardless of their country of origin. The startups created by these highly skilled immigrants will generate most of the jobs and wealth in these countries in the future. This is a race we cannot afford to ignore."
  • 2009 In Social Media: A Cartoon Review – Rob Cottingham, from Social Signal, created a very fun video that recaps all the major contributions of social media to the world in 2009 – think you were on top of it all? Well, check out Rob's video and see what you missed!
  • Highlights from My Conversation with Tori Tuncan, Founder of Lend4Health – Zane Safrit – "Tori Tuncan, founder of Lend4Health, joined the show recently. Lend4Health is a non-profit organization that facilitates community-funded, interest-free micro-loans as a creative funding option for individuals and groups seeking optimal health. Currently, Lend4Health is facilitating loans for the "biomedical" treatment of children and adults with autism spectrum and related disorders. Tori shared the story of her journey to date with Lend4Health, helping children and their families who experience autism spectrum and related disorders." You can listen to the audio recording of the interview or read the transcript.
  • How Digitized Content Democratizes Knowledge – PC World – "If you follow the trend lines for book and magazine availability, pricing and the costs of distribution and digital storage, we'll soon find ourselves living in a world where literally millions of titles are available to just about everyone, just about all the time. How will that change human culture?" This very interesting post from PC World explores implications of the changing digital landscape – it's a great read!
  • Chief Reputation Officer: Whose Job Is It, Anyway? – Forbes.com – "n the 20th century, PR and marketing were separate but unequal career paths, and CMO was the highest-ranking and most-respected title to which one in those jobs could aspire. The standard career paths in these areas were relatively linear: As a lead communicator, you went to j-school, did a turn in journalism or an agency and then apprenticed under a "gray hair" boss until he retired. This is compared with the typical path of a chief marketing officer, who got his or her M.B.A. in marketing, hired agencies that made him or her look good, learned how to manage big budgets and award-winning creative and then got in the running for the corner office. Today that is changing because of the increasing importance of reputation management."
Great reads from around the web on January 5th
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  • Hi, Amy –

    Nice to be included in such a fascinating roundup! In particular, that PC World piece is a healthy antidote to the tendency I sometimes have of fetishizing the printed page. (Yes, books are wonderful – but to the extent they restrict information geographically, they privilege already-information-rich places, and reinforce disparities of data and content.)

    Thanks for this – and here’s hoping I see you soon in 2010!


    • Thanks, Rob!

      I really love sharing my roundups, despite the fact that they don’t necessarily create a coherent opportunity for comments – I just really enjoy sharing what I come across and think other people could always find at least one thing they hadn’t already seen 🙂

      I totally agree about print and am very often living in a dual perspective: I was an English major (we have boxes and boxes of books back in the US in storage), and I was a New Media Journalism major (taught to free all information by the man who took Britannica online!). When I travel, I just take my computer, and read on it.

      Thanks for the great video by the way! And yes, I have no doubt we’ll be seeing each other soon (up-coming presentations/speaking opps I’m doing are here: http://amysampleward.org/presentations/2010-presentations/ )

  • Hello, again, Amy-

    Thanks again for pointing out some good info. I was drawn to the “Chief Reputation Officer” article. Given that many people in 2010 may choose to donate money to nonprofits with strong reputations (based increasingly on proven outcomes), this article seems timely.

    The idea of “Reputation” struck me as a redundant term for the positioning half of “branding and positioning.” My understanding is that branding is the result of an organization pulling together products and services into one concrete form (i.e., the brand). Positioning is the value your market collectively assigns to your brand. In other words, organizations don’t position themselves, the market does. This doesn’t seem far removed from “Reputation,” or a collective, external evaluation of a person or organization.

    Perhaps “Branding and Reputation-ing” might be a clearer term than “Branding and Positioning”?

    Because of the rise of social media, the symbiotic relationship between PR and Marketing has been highlighted with glaring clarity. PR and Marketing (and sales, customer service, or any other division) are NOT mutually exclusive departments when it comes to public reputation. In a world of social media, nonprofits cannot be content to believe that their perspective of what they provide is what their communities believe they provide. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. Instead, they need their finger on the pulse of the community, and social media lets them do that with increasingly more effectiveness. They need to see things as they really are, and not as they wish them to be.

    • Hi Scott-

      Thanks for such a considered comment! I really do agree with you. What I hear when I read your comment is the same argument I’ve made before when it comes to the departments of fundraising, volunteer management and communications. These departments, the work they are doing, the messages they are using, and the way they create opportunities for people to connect with the organization CANNOT be separated, especially online. Social media has made the need to break down silos even more apparent. And part of why it seems so apparent is because of the fact – the reality – that the market, the audience, the community are in control of your message, your reputation, your brand.

      If it were up to me, I’d love to see organizations hire a Chief Integration Officer – someone who’s job it is to be sure everyone in the organization is talking to each other, that projects and partnerships are working collaboratively for the most impact, and so on.

  • How Digitized Content Democratizes Knowledge is a topic that is changing the world at a rapid pace. Starting with communication – email, Facebook, blogs, Twitter – and universal access – via web browser – the final frontier is content, as everything out there becomes available to all, and that levels the playing field.

    • I fear the playing field is too large to ever be level. And even if it weren’t, playing on the field of available information is not the same as playing on the field of available resources.

      Unrestricted availability of content does not equate to unrestricted availability of time, money, or other resources to pursue that content. Alas, knowledge may be power, but so are time, money, who you know, and who knows you. Digitizing content is an important step to equal opportunities, but other social systems and power structures that inhibit progress are still in place.

      • Global Patriot and Scott-

        Thanks for continuing the conversation. I think that Scott raises a valid point that information does not equal resources. I recognize the reality that knowledge is not the only element that decides much of our options, but hope that by leveling the playing field of access and information we can start to change the dynamics and culture of power, especially in developing communities around the world.